Day At The Track

IT is time to take the Breeders Crown back to where it began – the bush. After a stellar month of regional racing – firstly in NSW at Bathurst and Wagga and now at Mildura – it’s clear taking the sport 'on the road' is vital and needs to be embraced even more. Australian thoroughbred racing’s most iconic country carnival, Warrnambool – or simply 'The Boo' as it’s known – is just around the corner and it begs the question why Mildura is Victoria’s only true country carnival. Sure we have a proud, robust and important country cup circuit, but building that into a couple more carnivals where participants and fans can gather and socialise as well as enjoy the racing looks a no-brainer. And the Breeders Crown is a ready-made product. It’s just my opinion, but the Crown has never felt quite at home at Tabcorp Park Melton. I loved the days, albeit many of them cold, at Bendigo in the Crown’s infancy. And who can forget that epic two-year-old final at Ballarat when the almost invincible Lombo Pocket Watch snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. We’ve got some great racing at Melton and the end of the year is getting pretty hectic, so a country-based Breeders Crown would be a good change-up. Bathurst, Wagga and now Mildura have oozed passion, competitive racing and a real connection with fans. Let’s have more of it. ______________________________________________________ A BIG tick to Nutrien for its first foray into harness racing yearling sales. Having spent a long and cold three days at the superb Inglis Oaklands Junction complex for the parade and sales, it was clear Nutrien threw the kitchen sink at the sales. I’ve been to loads of Inglis thoroughbred sales at that very complex and this felt very, very similar. Professional, strongly-staffed, attentive and even a dash of flair. Even the two coffee spots had the cheeky sort of baristas you’d expect to bump into in one of those iconic Melbourne laneways. It all came together for a terrific atmosphere. Sure there will be much discussion over the average prices and clearance rate, but for a first crack, Nutrien did everything it could. For me, the key learning was the late Saturday afternoon timeslot for the first session – going up against harness meetings at Mildura, Menangle, Albion Park and others – needs changing. No doubt it’s easier said than done to find an ideal timeslot, but surely the industry working as one can find a solution. It was great to see Victorian newcomers like Tim Butt and Nathan Purdon (son of Mark) taking float loads home. And hugely successful Victorian owner Jean Feiss broke a “five or six year” drought from buying at the Aussies sales, to splurge $180,000 on the sales-topping Bettors Delight-Our Golden Goddess colt. The growth of the trotter was underlined when Alabar Farms paid $170,000 for a colt by Father Patrick out of Victoria Oaks and Derby winning mare Une Belle Allure with a view to racing and hopefully “making” a stallion. He goes to Andy and Kate Gath. It’s always good when a former star racemare turns head at the sales and Matty Craven ensured that happened for Miracle Mile placegetter Arms Of An Angel. He paid $110,000 for her second foal by Art Major. Queenslander Shannon Price changed the trend of the sale late Saturday when she paid $100,000 for a Captaintreacherous colt out of Musical Delight. “I’m still haunted by being the under-bidding for Lazarus a few years back so I wasn’t going to miss this guy,” Price said. ______________________________________________________ DANNY Zavitsanos has quickly become a leviathan in the sport. Few could begrudge him winning his first Mildura Cup with Mach Dan as it came while he was still writing the cheque to pay for the three yearlings he bought just minutes earlier at the Nutrien sales, including $90,000 for a Bettors Delight colt out of Miss Hazel, bound for Nathan Purdon’s new Lara stable in Victoria. He also paid $80,000 for a Captaintreacherous colt out of Lovelist to be trained by Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Zavitsanos, as good a bloke as he is supporter of the sport, spreads his horses around, supports Australia and NZ and oozes passion and enthusiasm every time you see him. It’s remarkable to think it was less than three years ago Zavitsanos and wife, Joanna, won their first Group 1 race as an owner when Enhance Your Calm took out a Harness Jewels final at Cambridge. He’s since kept winning them, most notably with Cruz Bromac in the 2019 NZ Cup at Addington. ______________________________________________________ AUSTRALIANS will see a lot more of NZ’s best pacer Self Assured next campaign. Owner Jean Feiss said the five-year-old would have one more run for trainer Hayden Cullen this campaign in NZ before a spell. He will then return for a defence of his NZ Cup crown before a possible Sydney Inter Dominion tilt and other Aussie features like the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile. “While he’s had a few hard races, it’s been a lighter season than we expected because of COVID which meant he didn’t travel to Australia,” Feiss said. But don’t expect Self Assured to change stables. “When Mark (Purdon) and Natalie (Rasmussen) said they were taking a break, I said I’d stay loyal to Hayden (Cullen, who took over the stable) and that’s exactly what I’ve done and will keep doing,” Feiss said. Feiss confirmed the sale-topping Bettors Delight colt she bought at the Nutrien sales on Sunday was already booked to head to Cullen’s NZ stables.   Sky Racing - Adam Hamilton

Talented three-year-old Rocknovertime will be aimed for a Victorian hit and run mission after recording his fourth career win in the Stan Leedham Memorial (rating 54 to 56) in Launceston on Sunday night. Sent out as the $1.22 favourite, trainer-driver Paul Hill took the Rocknroll Heaven gelding straight to the lead in the 1680-metre event and was untroubled late to score a 11.8-metre win in a slick 56.0s last half mile with the gelding not even out of second gear late. “I was very happy with him, especially when you look at the horses he was racing against tonight,” said Hill. It was only the ninth career start for the pacer who has been placed in the Tasmanian Guineas and Tasmanian Derby at his only two other starts this season, and the trainer-driver is contemplating a trip across Bass Strait with the pacer. “We might send him to Victoria to see if he could win his Vicbred bonus as that was only his third run this time in, then we will turn him out and bring him back for the Globe Derby later in the season,” explained Hill. Northdown trainer Geoff Smith capped off a weekend double with Rambleon scoring a 1.1-metre win over My Celebrity in a rating 50 to 53 event. Driven by Mark Yole, the Blissful Hall gelding was only having his fourth outing since joining the Smith stable. “He was advertised online. He was racing up at Mildura, so I rang the bloke up and bought him,” Smith explained post-race. Despite starting at $13, the win was no surprise for the trainer. “He went good last start and had worked super at home during the week,” said Smith. “He is well-bred and should win his share of races down here,” added the winning trainer. The night’s fast class race looked to be a great race on the program, despite it being scheduled for 9:40pm. It was won by Scooterwillrev who found the lead near the 1700-metre point and dictated affairs to score by three-metres over The Crimson Prince who had the gun run on his back in a mile rate of 1m 58.3s, with the last half mile in 57.5s. Connections indicated that the pacer will have a short break. The win was the 1,400th career driving win in Australia for Gareth Rattray, becoming the third Tasmanian to register the mile stone. Rattray has also driven winners in New Zealand and Norway. Troy McDonald was the in-form driver of the meeting, scoring with the Wayne Yole-trained Brighton Prince ($8.50), and the Ben Yole-trained Good Feelings ($4.00) and Ranieri ($9.00). Ben Yole once again dominated the training ranks with Deadly Assassin ($6.00), Good Feelings ($4.00) and Ranieri ($9.00).   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

At $109 odds, it was a boil over in the $150,000 Group One WA Oaks for the three-year-old fillies with the Ron Huston trained Benesari Lane (Mach Three - Terrifying (Western Terror) flashing late to claim victory in the feature of the night. Driven to perfection by Kim Prentice, the filly overcame her barrier eight handicap to settle midfield and was able to leave her run until the last 400m, when she was able to come home in 30.5 seconds, winning by a head in 1:57:8 for the staying journey. Watch the race replay click here! “I had a little bet because she is a bit of a one pace staying type and her last few races have all been sit sprint race. She had been keeping up, but she couldn’t sprint as quick as them. I thought if she could get a genuinely run 2500m, she was the best stayer in the race.” Huston said. The $16,000 purchase from the APG Yearling Sales more than paid for herself on Friday night when adding the $96,000 prizemoney to her earnings. “We missed on about 10 horses at the yearling sales, we were getting towards the end of the day and Vicki said to come and have a look at this little one and I thought ‘Gee she’s small’, but there wasn’t many left and I had a look at the breeding and it had a nice cross that I knew worked well with a couple of horses in Melbourne, so we had a crack at her and got her cheap enough” Huston said. Huston is aiming to set the filly towards the rest of the three-year-old feature races that remain for the season, with the Diamond Classics coming up Friday May 21 at Gloucester Park. “She’s (Benesari Lane) no star but she’s probably got one of the best heart rates and best motors I have had in a horse, she just doesn’t have any high speed. “ Aptly named after Vicki Leas favourite drinking spot in Bali, there is no doubt that the pair will be celebrating the fillies win for a long time to come. Huston was first involved in harness racing in the mid 1990’s, in Kalgoorlie where he was originally involved as a stable hand but went on to get his trainers licence in 2000. The 42-year-old is no stranger to racing success, with the Byford based trainer having talented pacer Jumbo Operator who earned just over $300,000 back in 2010. Ron currently has three horses in work and mentioned Robbie Rocket is his star of the stable who he is hoping to aim towards the Derby. Driving honours were firmly with Chris Voak on Friday night with the talented reinsman steering home four winners on the night. Voak, who was last years leading reinsman is currently sitting in second place, with total stake earnings of over $563,000 in just over three months. In the first he steered home the $3.60 favourite Perfect Major for Ross Olivier, backing it up in race 2 for the Olivieri stable with Boom Time NZ proving too strong for rivals.  In race 3, he partnered up with Barry Howlett on the consistent mare Star of Diamonds to take out the FFA Fillies and mares’ race in an impressive 1:55:3. Race 8 was a family affair, with Voak steering home the $10 hope Rabchenko for his father-in-law,  trainer Frank Vanmaris, with the eight-year-old gelding winning by 3.6m   Ashleigh Paikos

Huston cashes in with Oaks bonanza Byford trainer Ron Huston landed a massive and memorable wager and collected $45,000 for an outlay of $300 when little filly Benesari Lane, the rank outsider at $109, charged home to snatch a dramatic last-stride victory in the $150,000 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Watch the race replay click here! Huston’s inspired bet at odds of 150/1 was the icing on the cake for the 42-year-old truck driver, who also shared the first prize of $96,000 with his partner Vicki Lea as well as collecting about another $15,000 with a range of $20 wagers at 100/1 odds over the previous six weeks. Huston and Lea, who purchased Benesari Lane for $16,000 at the 2019 APG Perth yearling sale, went into the Oaks without high expectations after Benesari Lane drew out wide at barrier eight. However, Huston retained hope because he was convinced that his filly was the best stayer in the 2536m classic for three-year-old fillies. All he wanted was a genuine pace and a masterly drive from Kim Prentice. Prentice fulfilled his part of the deal with a superb exhibition in the sulky. After two false starts, Prentice restrained Benesari Lane from her wide draw and cleverly angled her across to the pegs in a twinkling of an eye, settling her in seventh position, with the $2.90 favourite Black Jack Baby setting the pace. Black Jack Baby had to withstand challenges from Booraa, Royal Essence and Newsy, and Prentice was content to bide his time with Benesari Lane, who was seventh at the bell and in ninth place 450m from home before he was able to ease the filly off the inside with 320m to travel when Always An Angel ($4.80) had taken the lead after sustaining a strong three wide burst from well back in the field. The up-tempo event had seen the first three quarters of the final mile go by in a fast 28.4sec., 29.5sec. and 29sec. Benesari Lane had avoided all of the hustle and bustle in the event, and she surged home with a spirited three-wide burst to get up and beat Always An Angel by a head, rating 1.57.8 after a moderate final 400m in 30.5sec. The win was Benesari Lane’s fourth from 23 starts and boosted her earnings to $135,749. It gave Prentice his third success in the WA Oaks, after he prepared Onassis Legacy for her win in 2003 when the filly was driven by Craig Goldfinch, and he was in the sulky when the Noel Keiley-trained Dilingers Reign was successful in 2006. Huston said that he had not determined any specific tactics for Friday night’s classic, saying: “I told Kim to just drive for luck, and the race was run perfectly and just the way we wanted. Everything worked out great. “Turning for home when Benesari Lane was finishing strongly, I forgot all about my big bet. I was rapt that I was going to run in the first four, and on the line, I didn’t think she had got up to win. “Kim has no driven the filly at her past three starts. He moved into the property next door to ours 12 months ago and he has been really good to me, knowing that Vicki and I work every day, and he’s always there to give us a hand. “Benesari Lane is probably the hardest trying horse I’ve trained. She is probably not in the top hundred, ability-wise, but she is the greatest trier. Gary Hall won with her at Bunbury three starts ago and he said that he had never driven a horse who tries so hard. Gary had the first option to drive her in the Oaks, but he said that he was committed to Justin Prentice’s Always An Angel.” Always An Angel was gallant in defeat, and she failed by only a couple of centimetres to give Justin Prentice his fourth WA Oaks winner --- after scoring with Major Reality (2015), rank outsider Our Major Mama (2018) and another outsider Has No Fear (2019). “Benesari Lane is probably the toughest horse I have trained,” said Huston. “She has got no real high speed, but she can stay all day. She has the best heart rate of all the pacers I’ve trained, better than Jumbo Operator and Gee Jay Kay. “The $300 bet at 150/1 is probably the biggest result I’ve ever had --- since Jumbo Operator won the Caduceus Club Classic in 2009, when I had a fair go that night. We named the filly after our favourite street in Bali, our favourite holiday destination where we have visited 30 to 40 times.” Huston and Lea went to the 2019 yearling sale where Lea picked out the Mach Three-Terrifying filly bred by Ed Dewar. “We were the underbidders for quite a few lots, and we were blow out of the water on most of them,” said Huston. “Benesari Lane was the fifth-last lot to be offered and we were able to buy her for $16,000. “Four and five years ago we loved to watch Our Little General racing in Victoria. He was one of our favourite horses, and Benesari Lane was bred on similar lines to Our Little General. They are both by Mach Three out of a Western Terror mare.” For the record, Our Little General has had 110 starts for 28 wins, 38 placings and $730,912 in stakes. He won the group 1 Breeders Crown at Melton as a two and three-year-old, as well as winning the group 1 Victoria Derby in February 2017. After winning 15 times in Victoria Our Little General travelled to America where he won another 13 races. Benesari Lane is the first foal out of Terrifying, a mare who had 104 starts for 19 wins, 16 placings and $131,200. “Our Little General was only a little guy, and Benesari Lane is a lot like him, but she hasn’t got his ability or speed,” said Huston who started his career as a trainer in Kalgoorlie in September 2000 and took only four starts to record his initial success, when Beaudiene Butler scored in Kalgoorlie in September 2000. Huston is no newcomer to big-race triumphs. He prepared Getaway Plan for group 1 victories in the Sales Classic and the State Sires Series for two-year-old colts and geldings in 2012.   Big offer for Galactic Star rejected Evergreen New Zealand-bred pacer Galactic Star will continue his career in Western Australia after owners Skye Bond and Rob Gartrell turned down a big offer to sell the eight-year-old to American interests. Galactic Star, prepared by Greg and Skye Bond, recorded his 31ST victory when he set the pace for star reinsman Ryan Warwick and held on win by a half-head from Vultan Tin in the 2536m In Appreciation Of Bill Crabb Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “Somewhat surprisingly, a couple of weeks ago we received quite a substantial offer to sell him to the United States,” said Gartrell, who races the Bettors Delight gelding in partnership with Skye Bond. “We thought about it, but Greg and Skye just love the horse who has done a fantastic job for us, and in the end, we knocked back the offer. He has been a great horse who can lead and race with a sit, and now we’ll be aiming for the Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup at the Christmas carnival this year. We probably won’t travel with him any more.” Apart from his 16 wins at Gloucester Park and eight on country tracks, Galactic Star has travelled from Perth to the eastern States three or four times for two wins at Menangle from six starts in New South Wales and one win and two placings from five Victorian appearances. Galactic Star raced 13 times in New Zealand for four wins and seven placings before being sold to his WA owners in 2017. “He has proved to be quite a bargain who cost less than $50,000,” said Gartrell. Indeed, the gelding has been a huge success, earning $657,279 from his 27 wins and 22 placings from 80 starts for the Bond stable. “Greg does a lot of work on sourcing the horses in New Zealand,” said Gartrell. “And Galactic Star suited our profile; he was lightly raced and was in the right age group.”   Bushwacked set for Champagne Classic  Promising colt Bushwacked enjoyed a stroll in the park before coasting to an effortless victory in the 1730m Catalano Truck And Equipment Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He is doing a good job, and tonight he got away with some easy sectionals,” said breeder-owner-trainer Shane Quadrio after Kyle Harper had driven Bushwacked to his comfortable win by more than a length over Five Bangles, rating a modest 2.4.6. Harper took full advantage of the No. 1 barrier in the field of four, and he let Bushwacked to amble through the opening three 400m sections of the final mile in 34sec., 33.8sec. ands 29.9sec. before sprinting over the final quarter in 27.2sec. Bushwacked, third favourite at $4.10, was not challenged as he led the Indian-file affair in which he was followed by Battlescard ($3.10), Griffin Lodge ($1.90) and Five Bangles ($13).  Griffin Lodge was in last place when he broke into a gallop 220m from home, and it was left to Five Bangles to finish gamely to deprive Battlescard of second place. “I will now set him for the $50,000 Champagne Classic in a fortnight,” said Quadrio. Bushwacked is the ninth and final foal out of the In The Pocket mare Aleta Anvil, who had 55 starts for five wins, 18 placings and stakes of $36,690. Quadrio purchased Aleta Anvil when she was in foal to Follow The Stars and produced Bushwacked, who now has won twice from seven starts for earnings of $18,053. Aleta Anvil was a daughter of American mare Aleta Hanover, who raced 32 times for six wins, eleven seconds and one third from 32 starts for stakes of $88,591. Aleta Anvil produced Warriors Code, who finished fourth behind Jack Mac in the Pearl Classic in June 2017 and earned $52,397 from seven wins and nine placings from 40 starts.   Star Of Diamonds in top form Busselton trainer Barry Howlett made a wise decision when he bought a Bettors Delight filly out of Maddy White for $52,000 at the 2018 APG Perth yearling sale. The filly named Star Of Diamonds maintained her excellent form as a four-year-old and boosted her earnings to $90,041 when she gave an impressive display to score an easy victory in the 2130m Better Your Bet With TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. She was favourite at $2.80 from the No. 2 barrier on the back line and Chris Voak was happy to settle her at the rear while Miss Limelight ($6) was bowling along in front. At the bell Star Of Diamonds was in tenth position and Voak followed the three-wide burst of Alice Kay, the $3.10 second favourite. Savvy Bromac ($5) ran on from seventh at the bell to hit the front 570m from home, but she was unable to withstand the powerful burst of Star Of Diamonds, who took the lead on the home turn and went on to win by two and a half lengths, rating a smart 1.55.3 after final quarters of 28.4sec. and 28.5sec.  Star Of Diamonds has inherited much of the ability of Maddy White, who earned $110,824 from 11 wins and 20 placings from 51 starts.   Nota Bene Denario overcomes rough start Former New Zealand pacer Nota Bene Denario made a successful Australian debut when he easily won the Allwood Stud Farm Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. However, it was not all plain sailing for the six-year-old who was a hot $1.50 favourite from the No. 1 position on the front in the 2503m standing-start event. He raced roughly at the start and lost a couple of lengths which enabled $17 chance Bettor Pack It to charge to an early lead. Gary Hall jnr then was able to get Nota Bene Denario to settle into a pace and the gelding dashed to the front after 500m and was not seriously challenged at any stage on his way to winning by two lengths from Bettor Pack It.  Hall was far from satisfied with Nota Bene Denario’s performance, saying: “He has been sharp at home and really fast. But tonight, by the time I got him to the front I couldn’t get him on the bit. So, we were lucky that was an easy sort of field and he was good enough to win. “He didn’t do anything special and won easily. But it didn’t feel easy. At the start, he kept missing his stride and every time I grabbed him up, he’d pace, and then I’d let him go, and he kept missing his stride. All’s well that ends well. We have had a few little issues with him, so I think we can get him going a bit better.”   Henwood Bay ends losing sequence of 17 Consistent five-year-old Henwood Bay has resumed racing after a spell in splendid form and he ended a losing sequence of 17 when he caused an upset as a $17.20 chance when he defeated the $1.20 favourite Diego by a head in the 2130m Westral Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Henwood Bay, prepared in Collie by Errol Ashcroft and driven confidently by Deni Roberts, worked in the breeze on the outside of the $26 pacemaker Beach Skipper before finishing determinedly to beat Diego and Beach Skipper in a three-way photo finish. The final 800m was covered in 56sec. and the winner rated 1.57.6.      Diego, who started from the back line, enjoyed an ideal passage in the one-out, one-back position before finishing gamely to notch his third successive third placing at Gloucester Park Henwood Bay, a gelding by American stallion Fully Loaded, was making his third appearance after a spell, and was following the encouraging efforts of a second to Extradite and a fourth behind Thomson Bay. Friday night’s success improved his record to 85 starts for 16 wins and 24 placings for stakes of $104,472.   Mirragon is on the move Four-year-old former Victorian pacer Mirragon carried far too many guns for his older and more experienced rivals in the 2130m In Appreciation Of Robbie Dewar pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he was untroubled to win convincingly from Shanway and Joe With The Flow. Mirragon, trained by Debra Lewis and driven by her husband Chris, was the $2 favourite who began speedily from the No. 6 barrier and dashed to the front after 220m before dictating terms in front and covering the final quarters in 28.9sec. and 27.8sec. This was Mirragon’s fourth win from nine starts in Western Australia and it improved his record to 42 starts for 11 wins, 11 placings and $174,967 in prizemoney. The Art Major stallion gives plenty of indications that he will continue to improve and develop into a candidate for the rich feature events at the Christmas carnival this year.   Boom Time breaks through Lightly-raced New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Boom Time, placed at his three previous starts when he covered extra ground and worked hard in the breeze, broke through for an overdue success when he was driven patiently by star reinsman Chris Voak and scored an impressive victory in the 2130m Westside Auto Wholesale Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Second favourite at $4.40 from the No. 6 barrier, Boom Time was given plenty of time to settle at the rear in the field of 11 while Vespa ($4.80) set the pace from stablemate Plutonium ($3.80). Boom Time was ninth with 900m to travel when Voak sent him forward with a three-wide burst which he sustained until he got to the front 90m from the post and won by more than a length from Vespa, rating 1.57.4 after final quarters of 27.9sec. and 28.6sec. “He just waited until it was convenient --- and away he went,” said trainer Ross Olivieri. “He has been racing super but has been plagued by bad barriers. He is doing a good job and we’ll be looking for him to go through the classes.” Boom Time, raced by Merv Butterworth’s Butterworth Racing Syndicate, has had 34 starts for ten wins, nine placings and stakes of $80,471.   Plan for Perfect Major to get tougher Perfect Major, beaten in three recent trials, relished the challenge of strong competitive racing when he scored a convincing first-up victory in the 2536m Simmonds Steel Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.      Starting from the outside barrier in the field of seven and at the attractive tote odds of $4.20, Perfect Major was sent forward, three wide, after 300m to move to the breeze, with noted frontrunner Extradite ($4.40) setting the pace. Chris Voak was content to remain in the breeze until he sent Perfect Major to the front 320m from home on his way to victory by a length from stablemate Kiwi Bloke, with Stefsbest, the third of trainer Ross Olivieri’s four runners, a short half-head away in third place. The final 800m was covered in 56.9sec. and Perfect Major rated 1.56.1. “We had the positive and the negative,” said Olivieri. “The negative was that his trials were ordinary, and the positive was that we know he goes better in his races. He knows the difference between a trial and a race, and he races like Perfect Major is capable of racing. Judged by his trials he could have run third or fourth. Voaky felt in the preliminary that he felt like he had a horse.” Perfect Major, who has won at six of his ten WA starts for an overall record of 36 starts for 14 wins, 11 placings and stakes of $169,134, showed plenty of promise in feature open-class events last summer when he finished fifth in the WA Pacing Cup and won the RWWA Cup from Chicago Bull. Olivieri said that immaturity and inexperienced had prevented Perfect Major from even better results, and he is planning to toughen up the five-year-old in preparation for next summer’s rich Cup events. “He is going to get seasoned to the Free-For-All grind,” said Olivieri. “I want to give him a couple of races in his class and then put him in Free-For-Alls so that he can get used to racing against those tough grinding horses like Vultan Tin and other horses who front up, week-in and week-out, to do the hard yards. “Perfect Major will be a better horse in the next Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. He was very good when fifth in the Pacing Cup last December when he and the other horse (To Fast To Serious) who were racing for the first time in the big time loomed up but didn’t go on with it. “I thought Perfect Major was going to win about 400m out, and so did Voaky. But the lack of experiencing the grind of Free-For-All racing told.”   Voak shines with four winners Chris Voak, Western Australia’s leading driver last season, is maintaining his brilliant form in the sulky this year, and he stole much of the limelight at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he landed four winners on the ten-event program. He completed his quartet in the eighth event, the 2130m Retravision Pace, when he caused an upset by bringing $13.50 chance Rabchenko home with a powerful burst from tenth at the bell to win by more than a length from $3.50 second fancy Extreme Prince and the $1.95 favourite J B Mauney. Rabchenko, bred and owned by Kevin and Annette Charles, was having only his second start for Pinjarra trainer Frank Vanmaris and was unfavourably drawn out wide at barrier No. 7. Voak, who had won earlier in the night with Perfect Major, Boom Time and Star Of Diamonds, did not bustle Rabchenko early and the eight-year-old was tenth at the bell when Voak switched him three wide to follow the run of J B Mauney. Ryan Warwick sent J B Mauney to the front 420m from home, but he was unable to withstand the strong finishing burst of Rabchenko, who gained the upper hand in the final 25m and went on to win by more than a length to end a losing sequence of seven unplaced efforts. Voak has enjoyed a happy association with Rabchenko, having driven the veteran pacer 20 times for six wins and four placings. Rabchenko, an Art Major gelding, has had 98 starts for 15 wins, 17 placings and stakes of $147,401. Voak followed his Friday night quartet with wins behind Sugar Street at Bunbury on Saturday night and Here Comes Sharkie at Kellerberrin on Sunday afternoon.   Ken Casellas

Highly promising Changeover gelding Stinger Lindenny NZ posted his fourth harness racing win from his last five starts at Albion Park on Saturday night (April 10). The five-year-old led from go to whoa in 1:56.8 rate over 2138 metres with the last 800 in 57.2. Watch the race replay click here! On the same night the Changeover mare La Bella Vita NZ made it three wins from four starts this year when she won in 1:54.3 at Menangle. The three-year-old filly Foxy Rose (Northam), Aqua Cruiser (Redcliffe) and Whereyagoinbabe (Maitland) were other recent Australian winners sired by Changeover. In New Zealand, Changeover was represented by the ‘new’ winners Northview Peg (Invercargill) and Dalness First (Methven) and the Manawatu winner Ticking Over, while Franco Totem, a NZ bred gelding, won again at The Meadowlands, New Jersey in a slick 1:50.4. Changeover stands at the Burwood Stud, Pittsworth, Queensland, of the Denning family.   By Peter Wharton

Gareth Rattray moved close to a milestone victory after winning the feature race on Friday’s Devonport card. Rattray partnered Earl Jujon to victory in the Patrons Marathon, which took his Australian total to 1399 Australian driving wins. The 11-time Tasmanian premiership reinsman has also driven winners in New Zealand and Norway. Earl Jujon was sent out as the $1.95 favourite in the 2645-metre standing start event, and those that took the short odds no doubt had their head in their mouth when the gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven was very slowly away from the tapes. “That’s him, if he is not moving forward, he seems to wait and step back, he was slow away, but he paced away, and once he tacked on, he would be right,” said Rattray about the win. Ending up one-out and two-back from the 2300-metre point, Rattray drove a patient race before racing three-wide at the 1000-metre point before the master reinsman released the ribbons entering the back straight on the final occasion. “Against those sort of horses, he sort of had to win it, he ran a good half, and he still felt strong on the line, which was good,” Rattray said. Earl Jujon scored by eight metres over Taurisi ($14) and Hez The One ($6.50), a further 6.4 metres away third in a mile rate of 2m 4.6s. The win was one of five of the night for trainer Ben Yole who also prepared Wave The Hat ($3.30 fav), My Celebrity ($9.30), Oneofthelads ($3.50) and Yellow Taxi ($13), who won after a protest against the original winner Aitutaki was upheld. Hannah Van Dongen drove the other two winners. She scored on the Geoff Smith-trained Chris Be Quick ($4.30) who was a tough winner before she drove the last race winner Ol Titch to victory for Bianca Heenan at odd of $27, the longest priced winner of the night.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

Mark Purdon’s rushed trip across from Christchurch to the inaugural Nutrien Yearling Sales in Melbourne reaped immediate rewards. Purdon threw his support behind son, Nathan, when he worked with leviathan owner Danny Zavitsanos to snare one of the top lots of the opening session on Saturday night a Bettors Delight colt out of former star filly Miss Hazel for $90,000. "He’s going to Nathan (Purdon) to train,” Zavitsanos said. “Mark (Purdon) is across. He and Nathan liked him and it’s great to be able to support Nathan now he’s set-up across here.” Purdon and Zavitsanos have a long and successful association. It was the All Stars stable that trained the Zavitsanos-owned Cruz Bromac when he won the 2019 New Zealand Cup.   In other Nathan Purdon stable news, young former Kiwi horseman Stuart McDonald shifted across from Perth last week to start as stable foreman. “I had about 10 years all-up in WA, broken-up with that six months in NSW, and the past three-and-a-half years with the Halls, but it was time for a new challenge,” McDonald said. “I’m hoping to do some driving as well as the foreman role. There’s about 15 horses in the stable at the moment.” The Purdon-bound colt is from the same family as former superstar juvenile Renaissance Man, while the dam Miss Hazel won 15 races, over $310,000 in stakemoney and boasts five winners from seven foals to race. He was one of three buys for Zavitsanos from the 100 lots on opening night. “Joanna (Zavitasnos’ wife) gave me a budget of $50,000 and I’ve spent almost $200,000 on night one, so I might be in strife,” Zavitsanos laughed. He paid $80,000 for a Captaintreacherous colt out of former star filly Lovelist, making it a half-brother to last season’s exciting youngster Treachery. It’s the same family as Miracle Mile contestant Out To Play and a long list of other star performers. “He was a lovely colt and Emma (Stewart) and Clayton (Tonkin) have had such great success with the family. He’ll go to them to train,” Zavitsanos said. “I also bought the half-sister to Shez All Rock (NZ Jewels winner) because she went so cheap. I wasn’t going to buy her, but I had to that for that price.” She’s a Rocknroll Heaven filly out of Just Irish Loch and went for $21,000. NSW owner Wayne Loader was very active at the top end and landed a Bettors Delight colt out of former superstar racemare Make Mine Cullen for $95,000. She’s headed to Bernie Hewitt’s stable. The top lot of the opening session was Lauriston Bloodstock’s Captaintreacherous colt out of former Australian Gold winning filly Musical Delight, making him a half-sister to this season’s NSW Oaks heat winner Beach Music. He went to Queenslander Shannon Price, who won a spirited battle against the likes of Loader, Dominic Martello and others. “It’s the second most I’ve ever paid for one. I went a bit higher than I planned,” Price said. “I was the under-bidder for Lazarus so I’m still haunted a bit by that. I wanted this guy.” Price revealed Lazarus sold for $75,000 and she was so keen on him she went to Kennards and offered $85,000 just 30 minutes later, but they knocked it back. “Yeah, I kicked myself every time he won a big race,” she said.   by Adam Hamilton

Horse training is a notoriously demanding pursuit, but few could claim to be busier than current leading Victorian harness racing trainer Kate Hargreaves. Still in her 20s, Hargreaves is riding an impressive rise to success – so much so that she now finds herself training 40 horses while also, somehow, managing to continue in her full time “day job” as a primary school teacher. Bendigo-based Hargreaves currently leads the State Trainer’s premiership in Victoria, ahead of several big names who have dominated in the sport for decades – Emma Stewart, Anthony Butt/Sonya Smith and Andy Gath. In any given week, Hargreaves and her training partner Alex Ashwood travel hundreds of kilometres to opposite ends of the State, placing their teams in suitable company in centres as far flung as Mildura and Cranbourne. “I don’t really have any spare time and I don’t get a lot of sleep!” Hargreaves joked. “I’m up and at the stables by six in the morning, do that for a couple of hours then head to school – then I’m back at the stables after work and the doing administrative work.  It’s busy but I kind of like the balance between my work and being with the horses,” she said. “We have a terrific team of three full-time staff, and they are a key part of helping us to do what we are doing.” Hargreaves said she initially had hoped to be a race driver, but found opportunities were too few and far between, and the training partnership with Ashwood was formed around 2016 when they raced a trotter named Aldebaran Pete. Hargreaves trained nine winners in season 2017-18, then 24 in 2018-19 and an impressive 119 in an extended 2020 season.  So far this season, just over three months in, she has trained 40 winners. “Things have really stepped up in the past year or two, and probably this year in particular, it is getting hard.  So if we keep going the way we are, the plan is eventually that I will move to full time training, or perhaps initially at least cut back to part time teaching,” she said. A record-breaking fifth country trotters cup was in the bag for Kate Hargreaves at Mildura on Friday night (Photograph: Charli Masotti) While many trainers are driven by the competitive aspect of the sport, for Hargreaves, it’s all about the animals. “I was born into it – my dad Jeff trained and drove horses for years while my older brother Brett and I were growing up, and I was horse-mad from the moment I was born,” she said. “I helped dad, I drove in pony trots and I helped (Great Western trainer) Peter Manning in the school holidays.  Peter was just fantastic.  He would put you on anything to give you a go and help you learn. “Kerryn Manning and Grant Campbell have also been very influential on what I’ve learned, and Kerryn is still one of those people I very much look up to. Dad and Mum (Joan) never really pushed us into the sport – I just loved it, but they’ve supported both Brett and I every step of the way, our whole family has. “I love the animal more than the game.  I love being around them getting to know them and different personalities.  They’re such intelligent creatures and to do all the work with them, then see them race gives me such a sense of pride,” she said. “I see them as living beings with feelings and intelligence, rather than as a business.” While the Hargreaves work ethic is one key element in her success, the deeds of her trotter Well Defined are also playing a major role. Well Defined has so far won an unprecedented five trotters’ cups this season, most recently a heart-stopping last-bound victory in the Mildura Trotters Cup on Friday night.  He leads the Country Trotters Championship by a huge margin.  He also became only the third horse to win the race from a handicap of 40 metres or more (Satin Pride 1968 and Just Money 1971 won off 60 yards). “He’s got a very big heart and knows where the line is, but to win off the 40-metre handicap at Mildura – I was just so proud of him,” Hargreaves said. “I think he’s found his niche in country cups – he loves the stand and he loves the distance.  He’s one of my favorites, along with another trotter Don’t Care.  Both of them are part-owned by my brother Brett and his fiancé Brooke, so those wins are even more special.” Well Defined has now been sent to the spelling paddock, and Hargreaves said he would be aimed for a return for the next round of Trotters Cups from September.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A brilliant “handlebars down” battle to the line set up a thrilling Mach Dan victory in tonight’s Tasco Petroleum Mildura Pacing Cup, with Emma Stewart’s young warrior eclipsing another valiant four-year-old to score. Leader Silent Major set the pace and was up for the fight, but Greg Sugars and Mach Dan had the answers from the breeze and drew a head clear on the line to claim the $60,000 classic. “Coming into the bell I thought we will make it a good staying test now over the last lap and we were handlebars down off the back and it was a great duel between both horses up the straight,” Sugars told Trots Vision. “Both of them tried their hearts out. Really good contest.” Major Meister initially led but the advance of Stewart runners prompted an early Aaron Dunn response and the trainer-driver guided Silent Major to the front. Mach Dan and Sugars would soon lob to his outside and the great battle to the line ensued. Watch the race replay click here! “I have a lot of respect for the leader, he was obviously a very good winner of his heat,” Sugars said. “We had a pretty soft heat run and I was hopeful that was enough to turn things in our favour at the end of the day. “He’s such a lovely racehorse Mach Dan. He’s very versatile and can probably adapt to any situation. “He’s just got better and better. Emma and Clayton (Tonkin) have done a super job with him. He’s such a wonderful racehorse, that’s testament to them and the job they do.” Sugars also paid credit to owner Danny Zavitsanos, who purchased Mach Dan off breeders Nixon Bloodstock with his wife Joanne and Warren Viney, and the gelding by Mach Three out of Bettor Give It has rewarded them with 14 wins from 24 starts and now more than $300,000 in winnings. “Danny’s obviously a huge asset to our industry,” Sugars said. "He’s put a lot of horses on the race track. That’s what the sport needs – guys like that. He’s a terrific owner to deal with win, lose or draw. He will get a real kick out of this, that’s for sure.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Another chapter was etched in the extraordinary season of Well Defined, who fittingly closed out the first half of the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship season with a cup triumph, a stunning fifth in 2021. Trainer Kate Hargreaves and reinswoman Ellen Tormey have partnered for all of the six-year-old Majestic Son trotter’s 11 starts this year, nine of which have been country cups that have produced five wins and four placings. “He stuck his head out in the end,” Tormey told Trots Vision post-race. “He always makes me look good.” The run of success has given Well Defined a stranglehold on the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship, boosting him to 35 points, 18 clear of second-placed Stress Factor. Tormey said the cups had been some time in the making, with Well Defined putting the writing on the wall in 2020 and then pouncing when the opportunity presented. “During regional racing (last year) we put him in a few stands and he just went away so well,” she said. “He was racing against free-for-all class horses and not getting beaten very far. “We knew that when the country cups came around they would really suit him. Unfortunately they didn’t go ahead last year because of COVID. This year we knew he was going to do a really good job in the country cups.” And so he has, tonight overcoming the 40m back mark to win the eventful 2600m standing start. All runners got away fine but Downunder Barkers, backed into favourite late, galloped soon after the start and while he’d recover, another mistake with about 1000m to go would put paid to his hopes. Jerichos Trumpet led and when Show Me The Moolah galloped from leader’s back John Justice was able to improve Hatchback from the breeze to the pegs and give his fancied trotter a breather. Hatchback then made a play for the lead in the final lap and when Jerichos Trumpet broke gait Justice gained a jump on the competition, prompting an immediate response from Tormey to move three-wide and set off after the runaway leader. Her decisive move prompted a head-to-head battle to the line, with Well Defined nosing out his rival to win another coveted cup.   HRV - Michael Howard

Tune in for two exciting sales days live from Melbourne's Oaklands Junction, which will host Nutrien Equine's inaugural standardbred sale on Saturday and Sunday. Click here for online catalogue. And watch below for a live stream of the sale:       HRV

Just over a decade ago, Australian Peter Chambers made the bold move of purchasing a 2YO trotting filly from France for a six figure sum and his instincts have proven right on the money, with the mare, subsequently named Glenferrie Unixa, having now produced multiple group one winner Une Belle Allure and good harness racing performer Beau Garcon. Glenferrie Farms’ Chambers was, looking to replace brilliant trotting filly Kahdon, who had gone amiss, and had heard of a promising 2YO filly in France through Canterbury horseman Craig Thornley, who knew the trainer’s daughter, Laura Hue, then working in Prebbleton, New Zealand. Thornley, was employed nearby at Spreydon Lodge, where Chambers was a client and understood he had wanted to purchase a trotter with maternal lines from what he considered the best trotters in the world, France. Chambers sent Thornley to France for a week and he was on hand when Unixa was sent to the Normandy port city of Caen to qualify as a 2YO, which entailed trotting flawlessly over 2000m in under 1'22.0 km/h. As Thornley recalled recently: “I went to Caen and watched her trial. There were nearly 200 horses there, all 2YOs and she was the fastest filly on the day and after that I had a few drives of her. She was a really lovely filly.” Indeed Unixa was not only was she the fastest filly on the day, she was actually the fourth fastest overall, trotting home in 1’19”5, which is a respectable time on the sand track at Caen. Thornley says Chambers secured the filly from the trainer, Marion Hue for a six figure sum which as those who have purchased from France know is what you have to pay for a lovely French filly who had qualified well. "He got a really good deal with her, they really looked after him. He actually ended up racing another couple of horses with Mr Hue in France, but he didn't bring those ones back," recalls Thornley. Hue has won some big races in France including the country’s top race for 2YO fillies, the Prix Une De Mai. Unixa is a daughter of Onyx du Goutier (by Franco-American Buvetier d’Aunou) out of Life Sign, by another successful Franco-American-sire in Corot (Workaholic). Both Workaholic and Buvetier d’Aunou’s sire Royal Prestige, are by Speedy Crown, who has proven an absolutely superb nick with the French breed. Life Sign was also a half-sister to the very good performers in O’Donnell (T1.53.4MR, 11 wins, 426.150 euros) and Mister President (T1.56MR, 9 wins, 361,840 euros), a monte specialist. Renamed Glenferrie Unixa, the filly was trained in New Zealand Thornley’s partner Joanne Burrows, and quickly placed three times although she had developed some issues. "She must have injured herself on the way out, must have hurt her stifles or something, because she was not the same horse when she landed here,” says Thornley. “She couldn't stretch out fully, and could not trot as fast as she did when I drove her in France. She only raced a handful of times and she went to stud.” Chambers bred a filly by Angus Hall but after Glenferrie Unixa missed in two subsequent breedings, the mare was put on the market. “I really wished I’d bought her myself, I always thought she’d be a super broodmare, with those French bloodlines, which of course was why Mr Chambers bought her originally,” says Thornley. French enthusiast and Yabby Dam Farms proprietor Pat Driscoll snapped her up, while he also secured the Angus Hall filly (soon to be named Une Belle Allure) as a yearling not long after. Une Belle Allure went on to win four Group Ones, proving Chambers instincts to have been correct all along and both mares are in Yabby Dam Farms broodmare band and have progeny in the  Nutrien Equine Standardbred Yearling Sale on the weekend. Lot 177 (Pictured) is a colt by Father Patrick out of Une Belle Allure while Lot 178 is a filly by Trixton out Glenferrie Unixa, and should be two of the most sought after trotting yearlings in the sale.   Lot 178 is a filly by Trixton out Glenferrie Unixa Lot 177 is a colt by Father Patrick out of Une Belle Allure View the Nutrien Equine Standardbred Yearling Sale website.   Yabby Dam Farms

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound. Wolf Stride’s Wagga triumph Wolf Stride achieved yet another moment of glory in a brilliant season when he downed a star-studded field in the $100,000 Riverina Championship Final at Wagga. His superlative success in the Group 1 after being required to overcome a difficult barrier draw and a torrid passage, boosted his seasonal earnings to $349,430, behind only King Of Swing and Lochinvar Lad. Earlier in the year the Rock N Roll Heaven five-year-old gelding annexed the Allied Express NSW Sprint (in 1:49.1), the Bendigo and Terang Cups and the City of Melton Plate and finished third in the Miracle Mile and Ballarat Cup. The winner of $508,950 lifetime, Wolf Stride is out of the Breeders Crown champion Lilac Stride 1:54.4 ($276,140), an Art Major mare who is also the dam of the Group 3 winner Cherry Stride 1:51.2 (129,830). Lilac Stride was out of the Harold Park winner Labretta Franco (1:58.5), by Falcon Seelster from Looks The Part, by Nero’s B B from Living Doll, by Live Or Die. Labretta Franco, the dam of five sub 2:00 winners, was a sister to the NZ Group 2 winner Lewinsky Franco 1:51.4 ($172,980) and the exported Franco Looker (1:53.2) and a half-sister to the NZ Group 3 winner Let Loose and the WA Caduceus Club 3YO Classic winner Franco Look Alike. Wolf Stride was bred and is raced by Sydney enthusiasts Emilio and Mary Rosati.   WA Easter Cup winner   Leap Of Faith, who took out the $50,000 WA Easter Cup, main race of the Gloucester Park Good Friday meeting, is a McArdle mare from the same family as that which produced a top WA pacer in Our Max Phactor. Leap Of Faith – winning WA Easter Cup at Gloucester Park      – Daryl Hallows Photo   Leap Of Faith, who won her first five starts in WA as a four-year-old last season and has now won seven races, has a wealth of breeding on her dam’s side, being out of the Live Or Die mare Faith Philly, a member of the prolific Dusky Morn tribe. Faith Philly, who was only lightly raced, was a half-sister to the WA The Kersley winner Our Max Phactor 1:49.6 ($438,339), the Bathurst Gold Tiara and NSW Pink Bonnet winner My Sweetchilliphilly 1:52.1 ($122,440) and the Gloucester Park winner The Oyster Bar 1:57.1 ($142,184). Their dam, Tact Philly, was a half-sister to the glamour filly Classical 1:57.7, the winner of five and $291,590 in stakes, being out of Class Act (2:02.7), a Smooth Fella mare who was also the dam of The Lead 1:52 ($158,145) and the recent Newcastle winner Cant Explain It (1:56.3) and grand-dam of Mongolian Cavalry (1:53.2), Strawb’s Ideal Act (1:54.5) and Selling The Dream (1:55). This has been one of New Zealand’s most successful families over a long period. From the Class Act branch of it and to which Leap Of Faith belongs, others in the Australian Pacing Gold winner Park Life 1:53.2 ($188,571), the Bendigo Cup victor My Kiwi Mate 1:52.2 ($360,632), My Kiwi Lady 1:51.6 and A Bettor Act 1:55.7 (NZ Diamond Creek Farm Classic) are also members.   By Union Guy Ruby Wingate is proving herself a three-year-old of some worth in Victoria and over the Easter period she numbered the $50,000 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic among her successes. Ruby Wingate – winning Vicbred Home Grown Classic at Melton    – Stuart McCormick Photo She is a filly by the deceased Western Hanover horse Union Guy from Albert’s Belle, an Albert Albert mare who produced earlier winners in Union Belle (1:55.6), Impressive Guy (1:54.3) and Wingate Guy, all fully related to Ruby Wingate. Albert’s Belle, who was unraced, was out of the American bred Sachet Hanover, an Albatross mare who left five winners including the Moonee Valley winner Youcansaythatagain. Ruby Wingate was bred by Allan Stephens, of Allendale, near Ballarat.   Inter City Pace winner from good racemare Im Quick As Fire, a Bettor’s Delight six-year-old and a winner of the time-honoured Inter City Pace at Maitland, is out of Queen Of Fire, a capable racemare with a record of 1:57.1 who is proving a successful broodmare. Queen Of Fire is also the dam of Bettor Under Fire (1:59.8), a winner of six races in NZ and NSW. Queen Of Fire was a Courage Under Fire mare from Penultimate, by What’s Next from Dream Chaser, by Classic Garry from Dreamwood, by Lumber Dream from Madame Han, who established a great winning line for Victorian breeders Helen and the late Graham Head. Queen Of Fire was a half-sister to the top Tasmanian juvenile Majestic Emperor 1:58.1 ($186,378), to Major Mac (1:59.2) and to the Village Jasper mare Twisted Jasper (2:00.2), dam of Machtwister 1:54.4 (winner of 30 races and $135,893). Their dam, Penultimate, was unraced, but she left seven winners. She was a half-sister to Detroit Dan 1:56.8 ($118,639), Mister Motown (1:59.2, who won 17) and Star Chaser 2:01.1 (7 wins), who, in turn, was the dam of the ‘Cups King’ Safari 1:55.7 ($535,445), the Vicbred 2YO champion Our Maid Marianne 1:57.9 ($110,338), Astronaut 1:53.4 ($264,177) and Major Frank 1:52.8 ($119,028). Other members of this family, which was founded in America by the John Nelson mare Agnes, were the Derby winner Garnet River (1:50), Dont Hold Back (VIcbred 3YO Final), Zeuss Bromac, Gemfire, Vancouver Mac and others. Im Quick As Fire was bred by Melbourne breeders Merv and Meg Butterworth.         Crack colt by A Rocknroll Dance A two-year-old to take high ranking in Victoria this year is Solesseo Matuca, a product of the Rocknroll Hanover horse A Rocknroll Dance, who stands at Alabar Bloodstock’s Echuca property. Solesseo Matuca – winning Shakamaker Classic at Melton         – Stuart McCormick Photo   He has won four races and been twice placed from six starts for $30,300. He won the Shakamaker Classic at Melton in the smart time of 1:55.5 and appears every bit as good as the Victorians rate himn. Solesseo Matuca, who was bred by the late Ken Griffey, is out of a useful racemare in  Princess Dilinger (1:58.2), the best of whose several progeny have been the Youthful Stakes and VHRC 3YO Cup winner Youaremy Sunshine 1:53.8 ($139,500) and Top The Ace 1:55.2 ($107,171). Princess Dilinger ranks as a half-sister to the Melton winner Chirpy Chuckles (1:54.8), being by D M Dilinger from Kylie’s Reason, by Muckalee Strike from Jazz Band, by Jazzy Spark from Smooth Light, a daughter of the Victoria Oaks winner Tail Light. Princess Dilinger was 15 when she left Solesseo Matuca.   Scooterwillrev wins Tasmanian Easter Cup Most important race of the Tasmanian autumn calendar, the $75,000 Easter Cup at Launceston, was won by the Somebeachsomewhere gelding Scooterwillrev, who downed Ryler Major in a photo finish. Scooterwillrev, who was bought for $42,000 as a yearling, has now won 27 races and $235,885 in stakes. He was a brilliant juvenile winning his first six starts including the Crystal Stakes and a Breeders Crown heat, won the Tasmanian Derby as a three-year-old and the Danbury Park Cup at five. By a champion sire in Somebeachsomewhere, he is out of a top broodmare in Karamea Toastime, dam of Australia’s first sub 1:50 mare Jadah Rose 1:49.6 ($465,424), who became the dam of the top Victorian stayer Guaranteed 1:50.4 ($856,316), now standing stud in Victoria, the cups winner Jadahson 1:53.9 ($277,390) and the grand-dam of last year’s outstanding three-year-old Pacifico Dream 1:51 ($251,430). Others from Karamea Toastime were the Melton and Menangle winner Timeseel 1:52.7 ($169,530), the top Tasmanian juvenile Karalta Shine 1:52.6 ($168,973) and Elegant Outlook, dam of this year’s King Island Cup winner Karalta Cruise. Karamea Toastime, who was unraced, was an Armbro Aussie mare from Toast To Missy, an American bred mare by the Bret Hanover who left five winners in Australia including the good Harold Park winner Clickety Clix.   First foal for Maori Time Maori Time, the fastest trotting mare ever bred in Australasia with a record of 1:51.5, foaled a colt by the Prix d’Amerique winner Readly Express at Menhammar Stuteri, one of Sweden’s largest and most successful breeding and training farms, last week. The foal was jointly bred by Fred and Elizabeth Crews, Duncan McPherson, of Aldebaran Park and Menhammar Stuteri. Maori Time won 24 races including four Group 1’s and $421,700 in stakes in her stellar racetrack career. She will be served by Readly Express again this season.   Unconditional is well bred Unconditional, who won at Gloucester Park on Good Friday beating a top rated filly in Black Jack Baby, has now won now four races and looks to be well in line for the forthcoming classics. She ranks as a three-year-old sister by Bettor’s Delight to the brilliant racemare Delightful Offer 1:51.4 ($336,928), now racing successfully in North America. Unconditional – winning at Gloucester Park      – Daryl Hallows Photo Their dam, Dream Offer, was a Dream Away mare from New Offer (1:58.3), by Surmo Hanover from Maria Abbe, has proved a most successful broodmare. She is also the dam of the top Australian pacer Cant Refuse 1:54.5 ($288,733), Our Bettor Dream 1:57.3 ($224,334), Bettor Offer 1:53 ($207,614) and Ultimate Offer (1:54.1), all metropolitan winners. Dream Offer won only once but she was a half-sister to Bella Who (2:00.3), who won three, and to the Frugal Gourmet mare Tightas, dam of the exported Lislight (1:50.8) and Aces N Eights (1:57.4, winner of 11 NZ races).   Up-and-coming trotter One of the most promising trotters racing in Victoria is Justamollyarcher, bred in NZ and trained by Andy Gath. An eight-year-old, Justamollyarcher has raced only twice in Australia for impressive wins in the heat and final of the Colin Redwood Memorial VSTA Trotters Handicap at Melton. Justamollyarcher – winning VSTA Trotters Handicap Final at Melton       – Stuart McCormick Photo   Justamollyarcher has a background of trotting blood second to none. His sire, Angus Hall, has left the great trotting sire Majestic Son, and other top trotters in My Arya, Endsino, Missaandei, Une Belle Allure and Kyvalley Clichy. His dam, Justa Kiwi Girl, a useful trotter herself, is by Gee Whiz II, the leading sire of trotters in NZ for many years. Justamollyarcher ranks as a half-brother to Justakiwiboy (4 wins) and Millwood Munchin (3 wins), the dam of Milly An Eyre, a double winner in Victoria this year.     by Peter Wharton

Once in a while a modest race win for a diehard owner, trainer or driver with a lifetime of passion for harness racing reveals a back story of just how that individual was captivated by our sport and remains so to this day. The success of four-year-old trotter Captain McCraw at Melton on Wednesday afternoon provided one such insight. Cranbourne based hobby trainer Terry Franklin first took out a trainer's licence more than 20 years ago and Wednesday’s success with Captain McCraw was just the third of his career and his first since 1998. But Franklin remains as infatuated with harness racing as he was in the days of the Melbourne Showgrounds following the likes of Bill Davies and Gordon Rothaker.  “I loved getting along to the Showgrounds and by chance I answered an advertisement in the Sporting Globe to join Kevin Hill at Beveridge helping out on weekends,” Franklin explained. “There was no money involved, it was just a great opportunity to learn. I travelled from North Balwyn to Beveridge most weekends for years and Kevin and I are still good mates.” Now 66 years old and happily retired with wife Roz, Franklin makes the daily trip from the family home in Murrumbeena to the Cranbourne Training Centre to work Captain McCraw alongside his fellow trainers at the centre. One of those trainers who has been instrumental in Captain McCraw’s maiden win is Scott Ewen.  Ewen has piloted the gelding in all his 22 career starts to date but is campaigning his own team at the Mildura Cup Carnival and so relinquished the winning drive at Melton to Glenn Conroy. “Scotty Ewen has done as much to educate this horse as anyone. I couldn’t overstate how big a help he has been and it’s just a pity he wasn’t in the sulky today. He spoke to Glenn at Melton on Saturday night and went over today’s race and how he thought the horse might best be driven. To his credit, Glenn drove the perfect race.” Purchased by Franklin on one bid of just $4000 at the 2018 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale, Captain McCraw is by the consistent percentage sire Bacardi Lindy from Miriama, who in turn is an unraced daughter of Sundon and the handy racemare Susan. With the first edition of the Nutrien Equine Standardbred Yearling Sale coming up this weekend it’s not unreasonable to think that a cashed-up Franklin might be tempted to contemplate another purchase. “I think I’ll probably head out at this stage,” Franklin said with some trepidation. “I won’t be spending a lot if I do but I’ll have a look and if something takes my eye who knows.”   David Scott

MENANGLE Park trainer Jarrod Alchin will make the trip to Newcastle tonight with just one horse . . . but he’s confident that it will be all worthwhile. The astute trainer will have to wait patiently until Race 7 when My Ultimate Byron, a two-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere will be making his debut, taking on horses that are much older. But none of that fazes Alchin, who believes that the gelding could be the makings of a very smart pacer. “Going on his trials to date at Tabcorp Park Menangle, I think he will be very hard to beat, despite not having race fitness under his belt,” said Alchin. “In just one week, from his first trial on March 24 to a stronger hit out on March 31, he shaved three and a half seconds off his time for the mile trip and won by a widening 30-metre margin. “He is definitely above average in ability and if all goes well tonight, I have some optimistic plans for him. “Coming through from his early preparations I told Cameron (Hart) that I really liked this bloke and asked that he drive him even in the educational trials.  “After Cam got a feel of him, I did not have to ask again as he shared my high opinion of the gelding. “Scott Whitton of Tumby Park paid $36,000 for My Ultimate Byron at last year’s Australian Pacing Gold Sale in Sydney so hopefully the horse can start repaying him tonight.” In pre-post markets, My Ultimate Byron was quoted at $1.25, despite him meeting much more experienced horses, such is the reputation the youngster has already forged. It has been a busy week for Cameron Hart, which kicked off at Riverina Paceway Wagga last Sunday when he took out the Group 1 Mares Championship with Techys Angel. The 22-year-old spent the night in Junee with his parents before heading back to Sydney on Monday to drive at Bankstown, where he landed a winning double. His first success was aboard another Alchin trained two-year-old in My Ultimate Cobber and he followed that later in the afternoon when he partnered So Jack to victory for David Waite. Hart’s stocks continued to rise at Tabcorp park Menangle on Tuesday when he went one better again by landing a winning treble, scoring with Alluring Tyron, Hammertime Harley and Island Fire Dance.   HRNSW MEDIA | MICHAEL DUMESNY

It wouldn’t be a Devonport meeting without the strong presence of the Ben Yole stable, and that is the case again on Friday night where he has 44 of the 67 runners across the meeting, including a strong contingent in the main race of the night, the $12,000 Neil Cameron Patrons Marathon. Headlining Yole’s chances in the 2645-metre event is Earl Jujon, who has drawn the pole in the seven-horse field. Earl Jujon, a gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven, caught the eye finishing fourth in the Group 2 Tasmania Cup four starts ago before appreciating a drop in class to score in a rating 66 to 74 heat of the Australian Female Drivers Championship by 14.6 metres in a slick 1m 57.3s. Yole then elected to run the eight-year-old gelding in one of the states premier races, the Easter Cup series, where he finished ninth in last weeks Group 2 Final. The pacer, who is yet to be placed in four standing start races, has the services on Friday night of Hall of Fame reinsman Gareth Rattray and looks very well placed dropping back to a rating 70 or better standing start event. Hez the One is also from the Yole stable and has drawn outside of the front row. The Jeremes Jet gelding can be hit and miss from the tapes, and we saw what he can do when he puts it together with a handy win in Burnie five starts ago. The pacer failed to beat a runner home in Launceston last start in a strong 67 to 79 event where he was well supported after a handy fourth in Launceston the start prior, where he finished off well when finding clear racing room late. The Yole stables other two runners include Perfect Mach who will be searching for his first win on the Devonport track at what will be his 17th start at the venue, while Proficient will be out to keep his good record on the track intact of four starts for three wins and one placing. Yole has prepared 63 winners so far this season which sees him 21 wins clear over Western Australia’s Greg and Skye Bond on the national trainer’s premiership. Friday’s card can be seen on Sky Racing 2 and TasracingTV from 18:04   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing