Day At The Track

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 9, 2019 -- DW's NY Yank (George Brennan, $4.60), as the harness racing wagering favorite, held off Melady's Monet (Jordan Stratton) Saturday night (Feb. 9th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. Awa third from assigned post position No. 5, DW's NY Yank saw Mostinterestingman (Jason Bartlett) lead though intervals of :27.4, :58 and 1:26.3. Having taken out of third before the three-quarters, 'DW' began to close the gap. With Mostinterestingman leading by a length-and-a-quarter in and out of the final turn, DW's NY Yank did eventually collar him late in the lane. He then found the line in time, whipping a from-seventh Melady's Monet by a nose in 1:56.1. Third went to Mostinterestingman, with Lily's Swan Pond (Joe Bongiorno) and Chestnut Schofield (Dan Dube) settling for the minors. For DW's NY Yank, a 10-year-old Dilbert Hanover gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Weaver Bruscemi, it was his first win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $15.80, the triple returned $36.80 and the superfecta paid $188. The Saturday feature was one of Brennen's four wins during the dozen-race card. Frank Drucker

The long and colourful harness racing career of Lew Driver is coming to a close but he is still enjoying what he does best, bringing young horses up early. His self-confessed passion for “fast cars and slow horses” has been his trademark. The rise and fall of Lew Driver has been well documented but his interest in horses is only a small part of the story. He started off in the butchery business where he built up a family firm that rivalled The Mad Butcher in the day. He then moved into the hospitality industry where he owned and ran a string of hotels and other businesses. But back in 2001 he could see the toll that the long hours and hard work, not to mention the drinking, was taking on him and his family and decided to wind down his business interests. In 2003 he relocated to Canterbury and decided to put his considerable energy into training horses full-time instead of in the part-time and distracted basis that he had previously engaged. In the 2005 and 2006 seasons he amassed $662,786 in stakes with horses that he owned and trained outright. Those were the days of Presido, The Reckoning, Gretamaro, Fleet Magic and On My Way. But it was his association with Gaelic Skipper that has given him the most highs and lows. Gaelic Skipper raced 135 times over 8 seasons for 13 wins and 31 placings. He earnt $375,305 in stakes and finished 2nd in the 1990 Inter Dominions. The friendship that Lew forged with South Australia’s Les Harding while he was billeted there, has remained until this day whilst Gaelic Skipper lived out his days with Lew until his recent death at the staggering age of 36. Driver is currently working his way through his existing horses and raced exciting 2 year old trotter Liaison at Alexandra Park on Friday night where the babies showed their good manners by trotting all the way. Liaison finished a satisfying 2nd but his home bred Strength Of Heart, went equally well when he ran 3rd at the Saturday workouts. The interestingly bred 2 year old son of Bettor’s Delight and Zenardle should pace but is just a natural trotter and looks to have a big future. The three yearlings that Lew has in the upcoming sale at this year's inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Christchurch illustrate his long association with some of New Zealand’s best families. Inspirational Sir, Lot 181 is a Majestic Son filly from Tip Your Hat Loui. This makes her a half-sister to Gentleman Sir who was sold to Australia for a very large sum several seasons ago. His last start efforts at Manawatu where he sensationally won on both days off extremely long handicaps, will long be remembered. But this is also the family of On My Way which Lew raced with success as a 2 year old and was then a perennial favourite for Michelle Wallis. The ill-fated Triffid is also from this family and raced 29 times for Lew for 8 wins and 12 placings. Gentleman Sir (HRNZ Photo) American Dealer, Lot 253 is an American Ideal colt from Maddison’s Delight. This family is hot to trot at the moment and Amazing Art was high priced Ready to Run colt that Lew purchased out of the broodmare gem Pacing Grace. Lew is currently racing another son of American Ideal, Reckon I’m Smart, who is also from Pacing Grace. Maddison’s Delight is a Bettor’s Delight daughter of Pacing Grace and her first foal is already a 2 year old trial winner in WA. American Dealer, Lot 253 Luke John, Lot 345 is a Mach Three colt from Zenardle. Zenardle has left a host of winners with only 2 yet to race. The exciting 2 year old Strength Of Heart and Lew’s Delight who won’t be seen on the track due to a career ending injury. Her first foal Zenable, won $176,148 in Australia taking a time of 1:51.2. Then came Elroy Jetson who is still winning for Kevin Puzzuto and has $171,943 in stakes with a time of 1:50.8. Zenmach won 6 times in NZ, once as a 2 year old, and has won $45,528. Balfast won 3 here before joining Kevin Puzzuto earlier this season and Drum Withers has had 2 wins and is back in work with Driver. Luke John, Lot 345 Lew Driver has been around for a long time and recently announced his retirement after he reached his personal milestone of training 300 winners, all owned by himself or family interests. Although the end is nigh I am sure that there will still be a horse racing in the ownership of L C Driver for a few years to come. Harnesslink Media

Washington, PA - Veteran horse racing executive Mark Loewe has been named Vice President of Racing for the Meadows Casino, Racetrack and Hotel, subject to customary regulatory licensing requirements. Loewe has over forty years of experience in the horse racing industry, working both on the backstretch and in the boardroom at many varied locations. A New York City native and graduate of St. John's University, Loewe rose in the racing ranks from groom to successful trainer in the 1980s and 1990s and then made a seamless transition to the management side at Pompano Park in 1991 where he worked until 2014. Loewe joined Penn National Gaming, Inc. ("PNGI") in February 2008 as General Manager of the Sanford Orlando Kennel Club in Longwood, Florida and since then has assumed racing leadership roles at five other PNGI horse racing facilities (Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Beulah Park, Raceway Park, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course.) Loewe was actively involved in the development of the overall racing facilities at Dayton Raceway and Mahoning Valley Race Course and since late 2014 has served as Vice President of Ohio Racing Operations for PNGI. Loewe will retain his oversight of the Mahoning Valley Race Course racing operations as part of his new assignment. "I'm excited by the opportunity and challenges presented by the Meadows racing operation. I was already familiar with many of the employees and horsemen at the facility and I'm looking forward to positively impacting the racing operations," Loewe said. "I have the utmost confidence in Mark and his abilities and look forward to his active involvement in the Meadows racing program. He has a proven track record at multiple operations and we are excited to add the Meadows to our stable of 13 owned or managed pari-mutuel racetracks," added Chris McErlean, Vice President of Racing for PNGI. From the Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

It wasn’t with the horse most expected, but Shane and Lauren Tritton broke through for a special Newcastle Mile win in dramatic fashion on Friday night. Yayas Hot Spot, the first emergency when fields were released and an $81 Fixed Odds chance, made the most of an inside run with Lachie Manzelmann in the gig to beat Little Rascal by a nose and pacesetter Picard by a half head in 1:54:7. Odds-on favourite, track record-holder and defending champion Majordan galloped at the start and never recovered in the race which was delayed by almost an hour because of a rain-affected track and nearby lightning. The rest of the meeting was abandoned after the group 1 race. The surprise victory gave the Trittons, who were raised in the Hunter and dominated pacing in the region before moving to Menangle Park three years ago, another group 1 but their first Newcastle Mile title. Yayas Hot Spot earned a start in the $1 million Miracle Mile on March 2 at Menangle with the win. Yayas Hot Spot, on the inside, gets the win Yayas Hot Spot, now eight, had finished third in the group 3 Newcastle Mile in 2018 and was eighth in 2016. Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto was expected to win with Majordan or Picard and the Tritton-trained Maximan was next best in betting. But it was the Adam Sofoulis-owned Yayas Hot Spot, which had barrier two and gained a start after Rakarolla was scratched, that flew late from a sit three back on the pegs. It’s most recent start was a ninth in the Inter Dominion consolation.  “It’s definitely a special one, especially for that horse,” Shane Tritton said. “The owners have been big supporters of Newcastle for a long time and this horse has been here two years when no one wanted to come because it was only worth $30,000, and he just deserves it. I’m really proud. “He’s been working super. You can’t go off how old they are and what they’re doing. At the end of the day, he’s feeling good. He’s raced the best horses in the Inter Dominion and he came out of that great. “He’s been to the Miracle Mile before, the Hunter Cup, the Victoria Cup and the Inter Dominion, so you knew he was good enough. Just sometimes people forget. “We got a bit of luck. The track surface might have helped us. It brought a few of them back to us. Instead of going 1:50, they’re going 1:54, and at the end of the day, he’s first past the post and that’s all you can ask.” The group 1 win was a first for Manzelmann. Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission from Newcastle Herald

Star Ruler finally got his maiden win at Gore today (Saturday) and co-trainer Geoff Knight was happy about that. The most consistent non-win horse running round in the south, held on to beat Futura Easton by three quarters of a length for Knight, his wife and co-trainer Jude, and the Corner Shop Syndicate. It was a winning ‘double’ as the syndicate is headed by race sponsor Brian Pitcher; the Gore representative for AON Insurance. “We’ve made him the patron of the syndicate because he’s only ever missed one of his horses’ races,” said Geoff. Today was the Washington VC gelding's twenty third start and before today’s win he’d recorded six seconds and five thirds. “He’s a great syndicate horse because he’s run a lot of places and today in a $10,000 maiden he’s got the job done. I’m rapt for the horse because he’s finally won a race.” Hanging on to beat Futura Easton - Photo Bruce Stewart  Star Ruler was driven by Canterbury driver Tim Williams. “Really grateful to Tim because he’s stuck with him all the way through. He liked him because he always tries.” Co-trainer Geoff Knight watching the mobile dispatch with Star Ruler second on the outside and heading to the front - Photo Bruce Stewart. Over the years the Knights have been great advocates of syndicate racing and the Corner Shop Syndicate is one of their oldest groups. “Central Courage Syndicate is the oldest and the Corner Shop Syndicate is the second oldest. They’ve probably been with us for fourteen years. It was called the Corner Shop Syndicate because in Oturehua near Poolburn there’s a new pub that started up. It used to be the old Poolburn Pub and the boys used to say 'let’s go down to the corner shop for a beer on Friday night.” The syndicate have raced a number of horses including Lionels Meddle which won four races for the group and Valhalla which won two races and was placed numerous times. “We’ll look for a junior driver’s race next. He loves the grass so maybe we’ll go to Oamaru while he’s in the zone because the one win horses get preference up there.” Wayne Huddleston, Geoff Knight, Jude Knight, Tim Williams and Brian Pitcher - Photo Bruce Stewart  After years of racing a big team the Knights are looking to scale down their Roxburgh operation to concentrate on race horses rather than young stock. “We’ve got the RD 1 and RD 2 mail runs now so we’ve scaled down and we're only going to work ten to twelve horses. A lot of the younger horses will go south to Nathan Williamson and Craig Ferguson for their early education and some of them may even stay there. We’re just at a time in our lives where we want to spend time with our grandkids and do a few more trips. Working racehorses is quite easy but young ones are a big commitment. Unless you give them a 100% the horses (young ones) need to be somewhere else.” They have five grandchildren – four in New Zealand and one overseas. “We’re heading to Perth in March for my sixtieth birthday. We’re all going to catch up with my brother over there and my sister’s coming over too.” Geoff has always been a forward thinker when it comes to the harness industry and he says the wider harness family needs to help boost the diminishing horse population. “We’re at the crossroads really. Most of the owners that are still in the industry are still breeding but I reckon if every trainer bred one horse it would make a huge difference.” Today’s stake was $10,000 for non-win horses after Southern Harness announced last week that all maiden races were going to carry that stake level. “It’s unbelievable. Southern Harness should be really commended because they’re putting the industry money back into the industry. There’s a few clubs that aren’t.” As a footnote one of the Corner Dairy Syndicate members was course photographer Wayne Huddleston. For this race he had to get Kirsty Adams to take the winning photo. Meanwhile Lady Zara capped off a consistent formline when she came down the middle of the track to win the Hokonui Honda Trot for Winton trainer/driver Alister Kyle. The Pegasus Spur four year old had recorded two thirds prior to today’s race and the win was her first in eight starts. Ellie Barron did the right thing for the Teal Pants Campaign when she won the Gore Town and Country Club Trot on Nottingham K Two. Nottingham K Two on the inside winning for Ellie Barron - Photo Bruce Stewart  Barron is the local Ambassador for the Teal Pants Campaign. The win means Harness Racing New Zealand ($200), Woodlands Stud ($100), Gore HRC ($100) and Southern Harness ($100) donate money to the Australian New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group for help with research into ovarian cancer. Later in the day other Teal drivers Sarah O’Reilly (Bigandme), Kim Butt (Sheeza Sport) and Sheree Tomlinson (Hurricane Banner), added to the fundraiser. A great day for the cause. Another Teal win - Bigandme winning for Sarah O'Reilly - Photo Bruce Stewart    Bruce Stewart

YONKERS, N.Y. - Trainer Lance Hudson imported five harness racing horses from New Zealand and Australia in late 2018 with the hopes of having a fresh band of competitors for Yonkers Raceway's 2019 season. The new pacers included Betterb Chevron, who won her first three races including the distaff feature in her latest start Feb. 1 and Letschasethedream, who ran his streak to three wins before coming up short January 26. The surprise of the bunch, though, has been Don Domingo. The 7-year-old gelding has won four straight races to begin his Stateside career and will try to extend his streak to five in Saturday night's $35,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at Yonkers Raceway. "I knew he had some ability, I knew he was fast, but he just seems like a horse that gets it done," Hudson said. "I've got a horse that he's training with that I like better, but he hasn't been quite as good. He's been OK, but he hasn't had four wins in a row like Don Domingo. Don Domingo just seems to be an over achiever right now. I've got some talented horses in my barn. I didn't think he was a slouch by any means, but I didn't think at this point that he'd be 4-for-4." Hudson considered buying Don Domingo after being approached by agent Peter Larkin. Despite Don Domingo's form in New Zealand tailing off in late 2018 with two straight eleventh-place finishes at the free for all level, Hudson saw potential for Don Domingo to have a successful career in the United States. Hudson noticed Don Domingo had been racing at distances of 2,600 to 3,000 meters and felt the American Ideal son would benefit from a turnback. In addition, Don Domingo had been keeping company with the likes of Dream About Me and The Fixer, two of the top pacers in the Southern Hemisphere. "An agent called me one day and told me about the horse. Basically, he went and worked him and he thought the horse had good manners and he thought he would be OK at Yonkers, so we purchased him for $63,000 landed and that's how it all began," Hudson said. "He was going distance. He was going basically 2 miles and he was racing the best over there," Hudson continued. "He's a horse that I don't think is super durable. He's a horse that's more fit for a mile race than 2 miles. When you look back in his form, when he wasn't going that distance, he was very competitive when he was going shorter distances." Don Domingo finished final race in New Zealand October 5 and arrived in Hudson's stable later that month. He arrived healthy and without suffering from any ailments from the long trek north, was ready to qualify in mid-December. However, with Yonkers closing for the holidays, Hudson took a conservative approach for Don Domingo's first United States trial. "I knew he had some ability, but there was no other place to qualify at the time. The last week of Yonkers, he was ready, but we started him at Monticello, just a qualifier, and then raced him once just to get him a start and get him acclimated to racing in the States," Hudson explained. Don Domingo finished second to Texas Terror in his qualifier and won his debut in 1:54.4 in the winner's over at Monticello January 2. Hudson then brought Don Domingo to Yonkers where the gelding won three straight; he took two $23,000 overnights in off-the-pace fashion before posting a pocket-sitting victory over I'm Some Graduate for $29,000 in his latest outing February 2. "He's basically done it about any way," Hudson admired. "We haven't really put him on the front even though we've left the car with him a little bit. He's been first-over, he's been third-over, and he's sat the two-hole. He's very versatile, that's for sure. Whatever situation he's in, he always seems to find a way. He just seemed like an average horse, but he always seems to get the job done no matter what he's got to do." Don Domingo will face his toughest test so far in Saturday night's pacing feature. The competition includes last week's Open winner Rockathon, last week's Preferred winner Imarocknrollegend, and Anythingforlove, who will seek his third straight win from post seven off scores in 1:52.4 and 1:51.4. Mighty Mr Sharkey, Stormount Czar, Techtor Hanover, and Bellow's Binge complete the field. "He's definitely in with better horses, but the horse that he beat sitting on his back, I'm Some Graduate, is a pretty decent Open horse," Hudson said. "A lot of times at Yonkers, it's just how the trip goes and how everything goes down, but they'll know he's in there." Although he' unsure how good Don Domingo is, Hudson expects to find out in the coming weeks. Saturday's race will help determine whether Don Domingo is nominated to the George Morton Levy Series, which closes next Friday (February 15). "We have some options whether to put him in the Levy and that type of thing," Hudson said. "I'm not exactly sure. We're OK where we are with him for now. We'll see what happens Saturday and we'll have to make some decisions about what we're going to do with him." Live harness racing is featured at Yonkers Raceway every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. First post time is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the races, click here. By Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

American Ideal gelding Burlington looks to be a horse with plenty of potential judging by his win at Gore today. The Brent White trained three year old was having his first start and won by an impressive four lengths. He was bought by Ross McCutcheon at the 2017 National Yearling Sales in Christchurch for $10,000. McCutcheon originally owned him along with White’s partner Alena Henson. In today’s race, driver Stephen McNally got a nice run through from the second row and was sixth early. With 1000 metres to run Burlington was in front but had to race wide to get there. Coming down the straight having the rein run over his rump was all he needed to beat Mighty George. “We had a trial at Ashburton and came home super and trialled up well at Methven last week so we were quietly confident,” said White. The win was great timing for new owners Kevin and Valerie Schmack who bought 25% shares in Burlington just last week. Burlington winning easily with Stephen McNally                - Photo Bruce Stewart. White has had the gelding since he was a yearling and there’s always been a bit of buyer interest in him. “We got him up and running to sell as a two year old. Terry Chmiel drove him and he trialled awful. We came home and found out that he had a lung infection so we just gave him a spell. He’s a big raw boned bugger so we’ve given him a bit of time. I like all the American Ideals. They’re all laid back. He’s just a lovely natured horse really, that wants to run.” White says Burlington is likely to return for the next Nuggets Final at Invercargill on the 3rd March before looking at the $20,000 Super Nuggets Final at the Northern Southland meeting six days later. “He’ll definitely come down for the Nuggets Final, then we’ll just take it race by race. Three of the owners come from Nelson so they’d dearly love to have him in Nelson in the winter time.” Burlington is out of the Live Or Die mare Last Port Of Call who, as the name suggests, is the last foal of the very good producer Port Medley which received a Broodmare Excellence Award in the 2005-2006 season. She left fifteen foals all of whom raced, and twelve were winners. They included Falcon’s Medley (16 wins) and Lively Medley (20 wins). It’s a family that Southland knows well, with which owner Peter Marshall and former Southland trainer Tony Barron have had lots of success. Meanwhile Whites progressive trotter One Apollo was beaten by a nose by back marker Jen Jaccka in the feature trot of the afternoon. It was Jen Jaccka’s ninth career win.   Bruce Stewart for Southland Harness Racing

Standardbred Canada is calling for entries for the 2019 International Media Awards competition which is a component of the World Trotting Conference to be held in Sweden this May. No cash prizes are associated with the awards and no entry fees are required. Competition will be held in nine categories, and the programs, advertisements, or photos must have been published, originally broadcast or otherwise distributed between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018 on a broadcast station, cable system, website, newspaper or magazine in Canada during that time. A single submission per entrant will be eligible in a category. Entries should be received at Standardbred Canada not later than noon (EST) on Friday, March 8. All entries should include a cover letter with the name, address, phone number, and email address of the producer, author or photographer, and the name of the station, cable system, or publication on or in which it appeared, along with the date of broadcast/publication. Send entries to: Kathy Wade Vlaar Standardbred Canada 2150 Meadowvale Blvd. Mississauga, ON L5N 6R6 Please direct any questions, via email, to kwvlaar@standardbredcanada.ca. The categories are as follows: BEST NEWS ARTICLE For articles written 'on deadline' about 'breaking' events, including reporting about races, racing industry happenings and so forth, and published in daily or weekly newspapers or online publications. Please send an electronic word doc or pdf version of the article. BEST MAGAZINE ARTICLE For 'long-form' articles written as 'features' and published online or in magazines. Please send an electronic word doc or pdf version of the article. BEST PHOTOGRAPHY Photos, not enhanced by any computer-aided special effects, other than those used to clarify the subject matter contained in the photograph; must be submitted as an 8-inch by 10-inch print, and / or a high resolution digital version of the photo (minimum 300 dpi jpeg file). BEST PRINTED OR WEB-BASED ADVERTISEMENT For advertisements promoting races, breeding services and any other product, service or activity related to the sport of harness racing or Standardbred horses. Please send an electronic pdf version of the ad. BEST VIDEO OR FILM (ONLINE VIDEO INCLUDED) ADVERTISEMENT Video or film-based advertisements for racing, breeding or any other product or service related to the standardbred industry. Please send a DVD or provide a link via email to the video/film and provide a short summary of what the submission is about. BEST TELEVISION PROGRAM OR DOCUMENTARY (ONLINE OR BROADCAST) For programs that air on broadcast or the internet, whether long or short-form that do not include advertising content. Please send a DVD or provide a link via email to the program and provide a short summary of what the submission is about. BEST POSTER For printed posters used to promote racing, breeding or any other industry-related activity, product or service. Please mail the actual poster and email an electronic pdf version. BEST WEBSITE For publications, organizations or non-commercial entities that appear on the internet. Please provide the url and jpeg of a screen shot from the home page. BEST SOCIAL MEDIA For demonstrated excellence in social media usage and innovation. Please include date of broadcast / publishing for your country’s entry if not visible on the file. From Standardbred Canada

Albion Park's feature pace will be contested at 6.37pm on Saturday night, but for Doug Brewin, it's more than just a 2138m horse-race. Brewin, who has blood cancer, and hasn't been well of late, owns the 27-win pacer, Sir Julian - who will start from two on the second row (9) in the $21,160 Remembering 'Son Of Pearl' M0 Open. Brewin never misses watching the 8-year-old Four Starzzz Shark gelding race, and just after 6.30pm he will again be glued to the TV set. Doug's son, South Australian horseman Justin Brewin, said watching Sir Julian race was the highlight of his father's week.  "And believe me, he needs as many pick-me-ups as he can get right now," he said.  "He has had liver problems and it’s all very sad. It would also be a great tonic for my step-mum (Lucy) who broke her arm recently, “We all love Sir Julian. He’s always been a lovely gentle horse. He will come back to Adelaide to retire with us one day." Brewin, his wife Yvette, and parents Doug and Lucy, paid $4,000 for Sir Julian when he was a four-year-old in 2015. They won 20 races with him and then when he ‘reached his mark’ in South Australia (June last year) Brewin passed the talented pacer onto Greenbank (Logan City) trainer, Graham Dwyer. “There wasn’t much left for him down here so we moved him on the Queensland where there would be better races for him," Brewin said. "Graham, who we met through a friend, has won another six with him. He’s done a good job. We wish him luck on Saturday night. I can guarantee my parents will be watching. They never miss. “Dad’s had lots of horses going back many decades, but this fella is his best. He really perks when Sir Julian is on the telly." Dwyer said it wouldn’t surprise him if he went one better than when he finished a 4.1 second behind Argyle Beach in a C4 and Better Pace at Albion Park last Saturday night. “He’s an opportunist and just when you forget him he can be very dangerous. Sometimes in the stables I think he can’t win this, and then when he steps out on the track and I look at him, I think he can," the trainer said.  “But you have to be realistic and realise this is a very strong field and he will have to be driven for luck. Perhaps being on the rails might be a good thing." The South Brisbane trainer believed the Kylie Rasmussen trained duo of Invincible Loxton (6) and Lilac Flash (11) would be toughest to beat. "I have a lot of respect for a few horses in the field, especially those two. I think Invincible Loxton will take control of the race and then perhaps Lilac Flash could take over," he said.  "I think John (Cremin- driver) is better to play a waiting game and hopefully luck goes his way." Lilac Flash and Rasmussen were too good in last week's open pace after settling back and then coming into the race, via the three-wide train, down the back the last time. Invincible Loxton, who sat parked faded out of it. Dwyer said Sir Julian was the best of his 14 horses in work. He was also lining up Redriverdebba (10) in the ninth event at 9.40pm. "She will need this one because she hasn't raced since Christmas Eve. She's also drawn the second row, so probably not this time. Place at best," said Dwyer. As for Sir Julian, he has now won 27 of his 122 starts and placed in 37 others for $118,543 in stakes. He was bred by D.J. and J.M. Howe.   By Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Passionate West Australian studmaster and breeder Bob Fowler didn’t get to witness the first victory by an offspring of his promising harness racing sire, Follow The Stars – but it didn’t make the win any less memorable. Two-year-old colt Aristocratic Star (Follow The Stars-Aristocratic Glow (Northern Luck) took out the Wally Grafton Memorial for two year olds at last weekend’s Northam meeting. “I was at home on baby-sitting duties,” Fowler laughed “We had the grandchildren over, but I was cheering him home on television,” he said. “To be honest I don’t get to many meetings to see them as we’re very busy with running our businesses and being involved with various associations.” Bob and Marilyn Fowler’s Allwood Stud Farms bred and raced the colt’s mother, Aristocratic Glow (Northern Luck – Arctic Glow (Northern Lights) for her nine wins.  The stud also retains ownership of Aristocratic Star and it only added to Fowler’s excitement about the youngster’s performance. Bob and Marilyn Fowler “Apart from getting the monkey off our back and recording a first win for Follow the Stars (Art Major-Smyrna Duruisseau (Cam’s Card Shark) the colt definitely showed a touch of class with a comfortable win and that was exciting,” he said. “He should go on as he has a few gears – he’s without doubt one of the best youngsters I’ve bred. “His mile rate of 1.59-7 was good and I know our trainer-educator Peter Anderson  (of Byford) was thrilled. “We are extremely patient with our babies and the only little hiccup we’ve had with Aristocratic Star is that he can be a little keen going up the gate. But that’s nothing too serious.” Fowler stands Follow The Stars at his Allwood Stud at, Bullsbrook, recognized as the premier standardbred nursery in West Australia. The property boasts 430 acres and is located at the head of the truly beautiful Swan Valley, 40 minutes north of Perth. The Fowlers purchased Follow The Stars after he suffered a tendon injury during the running of the Breeders Crown G1 for 3yo colts and geldings at Melton on August 30, 2015. “He remarkably finished second in the event to Menin Gate,” Fowler said. “He has let down nicely and his temperament is lovely. He’s as kind as you can get and definitely has a lot to offer as a sire, being by Art Major whose sons are breeding on with huge success. “He can claim a double strain of blood of Abercrombie, three strong crosses of Albatross and a dose of Cam Fella and Overtricks.” On the racing scene, Follow The Stars was among the top bracket. He won 19 races and was placed nine times from 29 starts for over $700,000. His only unplaced effort was when he met severe interference and finished seventh at Cambridge, NZ, as a 2yo. It’s been well documented, but legendary horseman Mark Purdon, who trained Follow The Stars, said after the Breeders Crown: “There is something special about this horse. He has real X-factor about him. He more than up with the best 2yos I’ve trained...he is the best.” Follow The Star will be represented at this Sunday’s SA yearling sale, sponsored by Allwood Stud. Then at the APG sale in WA on March 10, there could be up to 20 yearlings to go under the hammer by Fowler’s pin-up boy. Standing alongside Follow The Stars is Fly Like An Eagle, while the Fowler’s also have “a second string” of stallions in Lombo Mandingo and Tinted Cloud. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Lara harness racing trainer Dean Braun has had the uncanny knack over the years of consistently producing a more-than-handy pacer. And his latest “find” could easily be up there with his best, judging by an eye-catching performance on debut at Yarra Valley on Wednesday afternoon. Holy Basil (Changeover-Artistic Lass NZ (Artiscape USA) gave a sensational display to take out the first heat of the Thank You Dallas Sutton 3yo Pace and will almost certainly - and deservedly - start a warm favorite in next Friday’s $10,000 final at Melton. The three-year-old gelding really couldn’t have been much more impressive, stopping the clock at 1.54-2, just a whisker outside the track record. To watch the video replay click here. “He’s right up there with the best I’ve had and while he has phenomenal speed, he’s also just so sensible,” an elated Braun said. “I must say that I’d had my eye on him for a while and we didn’t hesitate when the chance to buy him from New Zealand came along a few months ago,” he said. Holy Basil Holy Basil is raced by Braun’s partner Pauline McColgan and longtime friend and stable client, Todd Struthers, of Tasmania and the pacer’s win was the second leg of a winning double for Braun at Yarra Valley.  He won earlier with War Dan (Bettors Delight-Kalypso (Safely Kept USA). Braun said Holy Basil caught his eye when he was watching a workout at Ashburton, NZ, and saw him ping off a last quarter of 25.5 secs. “He was obviously unraced then, but his performance was electric,” Braun said. “At this stage, I wouldn’t say that he is as quick as Chilli Palmer (who Braun trained to 12 wins, 11 placings and a brilliant 1.51-5 in Feb. 2014, Melton) but the indications are that he will be a special horse. “We were rapt with the way he went about his business at Yarra Valley. He’s still only a baby and it was great the way he handled it all, including working through the field from the back row in that blistering 27sec first quarter. “Then later when driver Greg Sugars found the front, there was a fair bit of pressure at one stage, so it was all pretty awesome.” Braun said he planned to give Holy Basil a short let-up after next week’s Melton run. Holy Basil “To be honest he’s probably not going quite as quick as he was a month ago, so a bit of a break will do him the world of good,” he said. “Then we might aim him for the Queensland Derby, but we’ll see how he comes back and what races are around.” Braun has seven in work and was quick to give his helpers a pat on the back for their valuable assistance. “Amanda Grieve is back with us, while Carson Miller helps out whenever he gets time off work, and my partner Pauline completes the team,” he said. In recent times, some well-credentialed speedsters have flown the flag for the Braun stable, in Carlas Pixel, Chilli Palmer, Magical Telf, Chancellor Cullen, Mustang Mach and Duplicated, to name a few. And it won’t be all that long before Holy Basil is spoken in the same breath! Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A fairy-tale season could etch another chapter in tonight’s J A Connelly Crystal Bucket at Echuca, where pacing mare Pantzup will hunt a seventh consecutive victory. By Always A Virgin, sire of the world’s fastest pacer Always B Miki, and out of pacing mare Evasive Moves, an APG Final placegetter, Pantzup has defied her heritage this season for trainer-driver Gavin Lang. She is one of the many stories that will play out at Echuca tonight, where Buster Brady is favoured to win the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup and shoot to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship, a remarkable feat for first-horse trainer Kima Frenning. The night’s $35,000 feature at 9.20pm comes an hour after the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket, Echuca’s trotters’ cup, which presents Pantzup’s greatest test to her now six-race winning streak. “King Denny, Kheiron, both went round through the recent Inter Dominion trotting section, so they are good quality horses,” Lang said. “Another runner off 10m (Endsin A Party) was the winner of the Geelong Cup this preparation as well. “Not an easy race by any means, combined with the fact that it’s a stand, on the Echuca track, it will be an interesting race, but she is going very well and you can’t beat winning form.” Her six wins in a row are the tail-end of eight wins from 11 starts since joining Lang’s Bacchus Marsh stable. “We purchased her as a late three-year-old as a 14-start maiden who was a pacer,” Lang said. “We thought we might be able to win a few races as a pacer and then move her on, but from the time she entered our stables she did nothing but show she may have been a trotter. Eleven starts later and eight wins later, it’s staggering really. “She started this campaign as a T1 assessed horse, in other words she’d basically won one race as a trotter, and now leading into the Echuca trotters’ cup she’s now assessed T7.” With each victory comes greater tests, but as she showed with her metropolitan win on Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup night last Saturday Pantzup keeps rising to every challenge. “Each time you win it progressively gets harder,” Lang said. “Every time she goes to the track now she just keeps stepping up. It gets harder each win and this race is no exception, but you can’t do any more than win. “I wish I could put my hand up and say what a job we have done but not really at all, we just took her on board and trained her and, as I said, she showed a propensity just to trot from day one – no special shoeing, no special gear, no anything. She’s bred to be a good pacer, she’s turned out a great trotter.” Michael Howard for Trots Media

A Pukekohe workout last Saturday suggests punters should be careful supporting Belle Of Montana too enthusiastically in her return to racing at Alexandra Park tonight.  Because while she might even be the best three-year-old pacing filly in the country the December fillies triple crown winner could be vulnerable in tonight’s Nevele R heat.  Belle Of Montana has been one of the finds of the harness racing season, going from unheard of maiden to group one winner in three months and twice beating last season’s champion filly Princess Tiffany along the way.  She has explosive speed but faces a different challenge at barrier seven tonight in a race where she could settle close to last and main rival Chevron Supreme could lead, and trainer Barry Purdon admits that could be a problem.  “If she (Chevron Supreme) is in front and we are well back and having to make our own luck, over 1700m that can be very tricky,” says Purdon, who also has Havtime in the race.  “I couldn’t be happier with my fillies and we know how good Belle Of Montana has been but Chevron Supreme could be hard to catch if she was able to lead and it is always hard when your horse has had a bit of a break from racing and then they have to chase.”  Chevron Supreme’s motor is not in doubt but her attitude sometimes has been but she was on her best behaviour during last Saturday’s workout when she led, trailed and then blazed over her last 400m in 26.6 to easily beat Belle Of Montana, who wasn’t knocked around in second place.  So punters would want close to $2 to be getting value about Belle Of Montana winning tonight from her draw. Purdon also expects a good performance from Mach Shard in race two tonight in which he comes in well under the handicaps conditions and a return to his best form would make him very hard to beat.  Meanwhile, a change of plans for unbeaten three-year-old Ultimate Sniper is a win for Alexandra Park and a loss for Menangle.  The Sires’ Stakes and Sales Series winner was going to head to the NSW Derby on March 2 but will now not make that trip because of a change of travel schedules so he will instead be aimed at the Northern Derby at Alexandra Park on March 8.  So he will effectively swap places with stablemate I’m Anothermasterpiece, who was to have returned from Australia for the Northern Derby but will instead stay there and take in the NSW Derby. Michael Guerin

SUCH is the aura around Ultimate Sniper, you could hear the sigh of relief when Mark Purdon said his Sydney trip was off. Leading the charge was top local trainer Shane Tritton, who has the now logical NSW Derby favourite Muscle Factory. Remembering Ultimate Sniper was a $1.70 favourite for the NSW Derby in Aussie prepost markets before Purdon ruled him out today (Thursday). Instead, Purdon said the All Stars’ Victoria Derby runner-up Im Anothermasterpiece was staying in Australia to tackle the NSW Derby. He was quickly added to betting markets as equal favourite with Muscle Factory, who beat him in the Victoria Derby. “It’s certainly helps us not having Ultimate Sniper coming after what’s he done in NZ. Maybe we scared him off,” Tritton smiled. Ultimate Sniper was the second big name All Stars’ horse to defect from Sydney’s Carnival of Miracles this week. Earlier, Inter Dominion finalists Spankem, the long-time Chariots of Fire favourite, was scratched from Saturday night’s Paleface Adios owing to a virus. He’s heading home. It’s a huge weekend in NSW ahead with the $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile on Friday night and the Paleface Adios at Menangle on Saturday night. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto holds the key at Newcastle with defending champion Majordan (gate three, $1.40) and exciting four-year-old Picard (gate four, $3.30). “I can’t split them. Picard is absolutely flying and Majordan is on the way up. They’re two great changes,” he said. In Picard’s case, a win would create a dilemma because the conditions of the Newcastle Mile state the winner cannot race again before the Miracle Mile. However, because Picard was already qualified for the Chariots before accepting to race at Newcastle, it’s different for him. HRNSW has told Pizzuto that Picard cannot run in both the Chariots and Miracle Mile if he wins at Newcastle. “I have to tell them by 9am Monday which race I’m going to. Even if I go to the Chariots and Picard wins that, he’s not allowed to run in the Miracle. It’s crazy,” he said. Despite Spankem’s scratching, the All Stars still holds the key to the Paleface Adios at Menangle with comeback star Chase Auckland $1.90 favourite from gate two. They also have $13 All U Need Is Faith from gate nine. Much interest centres on Tasmanian star Ignatius, who smashed the clock first-up in the Hondo Grattan last week and will be fitter. He’s a $3 shot despite a wide draw (gate 10).   Adam Hamilton

Metaki Majic may not be the first two-year-old to debut at Tabcorp Park Melton but, given her pedigree, there’s a good argument the location for the filly’s first race this Saturday night could be the most fitting. The Art Major filly’s dam - champion mare Make Mine Cullen – holds the record for the most wins at Tabcorp Park Melton with a staggering 29. While Glenn Douglas, trainer of mother and daughter, isn’t counting on Metaki Majic to register her first metro win in this weekend’s $20k Swift Signs Premiere Stakes he is obviously hoping the similarities between the two translate to the racetrack. “Make Mine Cullen was a very relaxed and laid-back kind of mare and (Metaki Majic) seems a lot like her mother in that not much fazes her,” Douglas said. “She always looks like she is happy to do whatever you ask her to; the comparison there with her mum is quite uncanny. “I am happy enough with the way she trialed and what she is doing at home, so we thought we would drop her in Saturday night; I am not expecting big things but I don’t think she’ll disgrace herself. Make Mine Cullen (pictured) isn’t the only member of Metaki Majic’s family with black type form. Her sire, multiple premiership winning stallion Art Major, needs no introduction and Make Mine Cullen, who won 40 of her 80 starts and more than $800k, is no slouch in the breeding barn either, producing multiple race winners Make Mine Heaven and Make Mine Memphis – both by US sire Rock N Roll Heaven. Her granddam, Fake Left mare Intrude, produced seven winners from 11 starters – including $100,000-plus horses Bella Joy, Billy Badlands and Rogers Passion. As a result, Metaki Majic went for $41,000 at last year’s Australian Pacing Gold (APG) sales in Melbourne. Douglas said the lucrative $350,000 APG series – starting with the Victorian qualifying heats at Tabcorp Park Melton on April 26 – was on the radar. “That’s our short-term plan, (we will) certainly try and have her up and about and going for it,” Douglas said. “(The APG series) is probably the end game for the short-term (but it) will all depend on her and how she comes through these first few runs. “I haven’t formed a huge opinion of her yet but she excites me more and more every time we take her out – what we ask her to do, she seems to be able to keep stepping up. “She will have to improve quite a bit more before we start saying she is a good mare, but she is doing all the right things early on.” Douglas, who also has Ozzie Battler and Ozzie Sunshine in the Swift Signs Premiere Stakes, said he was impressed with how his juveniles were going. “Making it to the races early (with two-year-olds) has probably never been my strong suit so I am quite happy,” he said. “Ozzie Battler, I have been very happy with his progression; he has gotten quicker each time he has stepped out and his racing manners are improving all the time. The other little girl (Ozzie Sunshine),  I’m probably more excited by what she did at Bendigo, she did a bit of work from the 800m, she sat in the death for quite a bit and finished on well. “You are comparing them all the time with each other and you get a feel – I think Ozzie Battler is probably the best of the three at the moment; he took to his racing really good and took to his work really quick and really good. But the other two are catching him.” The three two-year-olds are among six horses Douglas has entered at Saturday night’s meeting, which is headlined by the Group 3 Carlotta’s Pride Trotters Free For All. The Strathfieldsaye horseman will also gear up Kotare Mahdi and Vandata in the DNR Logistics Pace for those classified MO and Bernie Winkle in the M2-M4 Hygain Team Teal Pace. “You know what you are going to get from Bernie Winkle week in, week out; I’d love a stable (full of horses like) him,” Douglas said. “He’s just a lovely little horse that keeps turning the till over and paying his chaff bill. “And Kotare Mahdi is competitive with the right run, he’s capable in the M0, how far he goes past that I don’t know, while Vandata has got better with racing; he is low in class but he is a capable horse with a bright enough future. “He certainly won’t disgrace himself either. “   Shaun Campbell for Trots Media

Today’s Quinte+ was the Prix Guy Lux (purse 64,000€, 2700 meters, 15 European starters aged mares) at Paris-Vincennes. The 33/1 outsider Belline d’Urzy (8f Otello Pierji-Querida d’Urzy) scored timed in 1.13.5kr reined by Matthieu Abrivard for trainer Gregoire Houel and USA harness racing owner Patrick Van Nevel. The winner recorded her fifth career win in 67 starts now for 322,230€ earned. The 4.3/1 Contree d’Erable (7f Prince Gede-Soiree d’Erable) took second for David Thomain and trainer J.P. Thomain, ahead of 15/1 Bauloise Haufor (8f Kool du Caux) in rein to Charles J. Bigeon for breeder/owner/trainer Christian Bigeon. The exact order top five was completed by 10/1 Crepe de Satin (7f Le Retour) and 32/1 Coral Sea (7f Niky) and there was one Q+ exact order winning ticket that paid 196,146.40€ for the 2 wager. As usual the Q+ total wager was a huge 3,591,905€ and the race handle (all bet forms) was over 7.4€ million. The Gr. III monte Prix Andre Theron (purse 70,000€, 2700, eight starters) produced a driving three horse finish with 2/1 Flicka de Blary (4f Sam Bourbon-Kalinkaya) prevailing with Camille Levesque the jockey for owner/trainer Thomas Levesque. This mare now has five life wins in 12 appearances for 136,030€ earned. The 15/1 Fabulous Dream (4m Royal Dream-Story Charm) was second with Anthony Barrier aboard for trainer Luc Roelens and owner JPB Building BVBR. Third was 16/1 Ficschetto (4m Ubriaco) with Alexandre Abrivard in the irons. The Sunday February 10th feature races at Paris-Vincennes are the Gr. I Grand Prix de France, the second leg of the FR Triple Crown (shown below), along with the Gr. I monte Prix des Centaures for 200,000€, the Gr. II Prix Jean le Gonidec for 100,000€ for five year olds and the Gr. III Prix de Chambord for an 80,000€ total purse. C6 - GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE 350 000€ - Groupe I - Attelé - 2100m - Grande piste, European Trotting Masters Series 2019 C5 - PRIX DES CENTAURES 200 000€ - Groupe I - Monté - 2200m distance handicap - Grande piste Sunday is also a superb fan day with the Fête du Nouvel An Lunaire. The Saturday February 9th feature races include the 100 000€ Prix Ephrem Houel (shown below) along with the Prix de Munich and Prix de Lisieux, both races for 75,000€ purses. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink