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Can Tornado Valley go back to back in the Grand Prix? The Gr.1 $100,000 Hygain Australian Trotting Grand Prix takes place this weekend at TABCORP Park, Melton and the reigning Inter Dominion champion is the horse to beat despite a second-line draw in the 2240m mobile start feature. It’s the 4th leg of the six race 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters series. And the race to be crowned the Trotting Masters champion is very much alive; Marcoola (101 points) leads from Tornado Valley, Dance Craze and Sky Petite (all with 100 points). Both Tornado Valley and Dance Craze start this weekend in the Grand Prix. The Andy and Kate Gath prepared Tornado Valley is unbeaten in nine starts this season while boasting an overall record of 19 wins from 23 starts since crossing the ditch last year and joining their Long Forest stables. His haul of feature race victories is as impressive as his current win streak which includes a clean sweep of the Inter Dominion series back in December. Interestingly, his first victory on Australian soil came via this event last year, the Skyvalley gelding proved too slick for Sparkling Success and Sky Petite in solid time which announced his arrival as a major force in the trotting ranks. Following his triumph in the Grand Prix last season, Tornado Valley would win another six races in succession before tasting defeat again. At his most recent start two weeks ago, Tornado Valley scored a tradesman like victory in the Knight Pistol which followed a setback and ultimately ruled him out of the recent Great Southern Star. The last trotter to go back to back in the Grand Prix was the great New Zealander Stent (2014/15) while champion trotter Sundons Gift holds the record with four consecutive victories in the event (2007/08/09 & 10). Tornado Valley starts from gate 11. The Gath stable is also represented by another former Kiwi performer in McLovin, unbeaten in three local starts against easier opposition. While rising in grade he must also overcome a nasty front-line draw, he starts from the outside in gate 7 with young Zac Phillips booked to take the drive. Great Southern Star winner Dance Craze will carry plenty of support, the last start Bendigo winner is prepared by Anton Golino and will again be handled by Glen Craven. Dance Craze, a daughter of inaugural winner La Coocaracha (2001) is looking to become the fourth mare to win the Grand Prix following on from Allegro Agitato (2005) and Sumthingaboutmaori (2003). The regally bred mare is the only representative of the fairer sex this year and will start from gate 5. Last start Gr.1 $50,000 Menangle Mile winner Big Jack Hammer is chasing his third straight feature race success following his victories in the Dullard Cup and Menangle Mile last weekend. Prepared by David Aiken, the in-form trotter will be handled by Josh Aiken. Big Jack Hammer starts from gate 10. Sydney trained trotters Blazing Under Fire (Blake Fitzpatrick/Jack Trainor) and Tough Monarch (Rickie Alchin/Chris Svanosio) are chasing feature race success and both land handy front-line draws. Blazing Under Fire will start from gate 4 while Tough Monarch starts from gate 6. Both trotters come out of last week’s Menangle Mile where they chased home Big Jack Hammer. The last Sydney trained winner of the Grand Prix was On Thunder Road two years ago (2017). Leading trainer Brent Lilley is no stranger to success in the Grand Prix after scoring with Keystone Del in race record time (1:56.0) back in 2016. This year, the former Kiwi horseman is represented by both Monty Python (Greg Sugars) and Rock Tonight (Brad Chisholm). Sugars scored back in 2013 with Vulcan while Chisholm is taking his maiden drive in the feature. Monty Python will start from gate 3 while Rock Tonight starts from gate 12. In-form locally trained trotters Savannah Jay Jay (Stan Cameron/Neil McCallum), Kheiron (Peter Lane/Chris Alford), Fabrication (David Abrahams/Jason Lee) and Deltasun (Terry Young/Gavin Lang) all boast winning claims. And the quartet all land good draws; Savannah Jay Jay (gate 1), Kheiron (gate 2), Fabrication (gate 8) and Deltasun (gate 9). Gavin Lang is chasing his second victory in the Grand Prix after partnering Sumthingaboutmaori (2003) while McCallum, Alford and Lee are all chasing their maiden success. The Grand Prix is listed as race 7 and scheduled to start at 9.30pm local time. The two remaining legs of the APG Trotting Masters will be staged at Alexandra Park in Auckland during April/May.   Chris Barsby

The old saying is that blood is thicker than water. But Mark put some doubt into that running down brother in law Tony Herlihy in the Great Southern Star with Dance Craze on Saturday. The two best drivers in the race ran first and second and Mark gave the game away in his post race interview after his second G1 of the night. “I followed Tony most of the way. He usually knows where he is going so it was a good place to be” he quipped. That decision gave the richly bred Dance Craze the last crack at Temporale and her finish was irresistible. Dance Craze , trained by Anton Golino, was the best bred horse in the race being by Muscle Hill from La Coocharacha who gave the best Kiwi trotters a headache or two in her racing days winning a Rowe Cup. Patience often pays in big races and when you have that option it worked well on Saturday. Mark said before the Ladyship Cup he and the stable felt that the well performed Carlas Pixel might need the race having been off the scene for some time. He drove her accordingly 3 back on the rail but after a first 600m in 56.2 it was obvious some were going to be gasping at the end. That was when Carlas Pixel chimed in for a dashing win. It wasn’t quite as easy for Natalie. With Muscle Factor, who had run 1.49 at Menangle two starts back, wanting to hold up , Another Masterpiec e had to settle for parked and simply could not match the leader clocking a 1.54. mile rate over 2240m. Not many three year olds around could. He fought hard but once Natalie switched to the inside to challenge the writing was on the wall. Spankem had a cruel fate. The draw beat him. Simple as that. He had to work early and when Natalie knew he couldn’t win from back he had to work to get to the parked position. Which would have been fine (Pats Delight was there and not in a mood to be anywhere else) except that Poster Boy was then on Spankem’s back having a saloon passage and that told in the end as he wore down the courageous Spankem. Both horses emerged with honour. But ironically enough while the All Star duo emerged with two Group Ones on the night they were not the two many were expecting. That’s racing. Courtesy of  All Stars Racing Stables

Victoria's most prolific trainer of trotters, Anton Golino, has won Australia’s richest trotting classic, the $250,000 Woodlands Great Southern Star, with a mare that pedigree buffs would say was always destined for harness racing greatness. Blueblood Dance Craze, a daughter of champion trotter and brilliant producer Muscle Hill out of another superstar performer in La Coocaracha, was a minute back in the run but sprinted furiously up the Tabcorp Park Melton straight at the end of the 2760m journey to capture the Group 1. The five-year-old raced clear of Kiwi star Temporale for a 1.4-metre win in a 1:58.8 mile rate, with Michael Stanley-trained Sky Petite backing up her TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final placing with another Classic podium finish tonight. Winning driver Mark Purdon was ecstatic to be involved with Golino’s greatest win thus far. “He does a great job and I’m thrilled to be involved with this win,” Purdon said. Golino was over the moon. “This is a dream come true,” he said before honouring his biggest backer Pat Driscoll and his passionate and hard-working team of staff. “He’s an amazing person and he deserves this more than anyone,” Golino said of Driscoll. The win gave Purdon a double Group 1 half-hour of power after he guided Dean Braun-trained mare Carlas Pixel to a barnstorming victory in the Schweppes Ladyship Cup. Of the rest, odds-on race favourite Marcoola only beat one runner home, finishing second last for Ken and Clint Ford, while Red Hot Tooth and Tough Monarch both performed strongly finishing fourth and fifth respectively. To watch the video click here. ID18 champ Tornado Valley was scratched from the GSS this morning when a long odds-on favourite. Trots Media - Cody Winnell

This weekend's Bendigo and Cobram country cups double-header also looms as a big chance for  Yabby Dam Farms' trotting hopefuls to step out and step up, says trainer Anton Golino. Before San Carlo battles with the likes of Let It Ride in the PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup, trotter Dance Craze will attempt to reaffirm her top line talent against TAB Inter Dominon champion Tornado Valley and ID18 front runners Save Our Pennys and Kyvalley Blur. Saturday night's Aldebaran Park 2019 Maori Mile has drawn a field fitting of its Group 1 billing and Golino said he was looking forward to Dance Craze - a winner of 14 of her 22 starts - shaping up against the best. "She's been a good horse from day one, her record shows that obviously, but she's got to the stage now where she has got to step up against the better ones," Golino told Trots Talk. "We gave her one look a couple of months ago at Melton against the better ones and she was really good, she was second to Tornado Valley and a bit unlucky. Saturday night's a chance for her to have a crack at them." A five-year-old by Muscle Hill out of La Coocaracha, a five-time Group 1 winning mare, Dance Craze will start from gate five, directly inside Andy and Kate Gath's formiddable Tornado Valley. "I think it's a very open race," Golino said. "Obviously Tornado Valley was great through the Inter Dominion series, but in saying that it's a horse race and anything can happen. "There are probably two or three really good chances outside of him - Kyvalley Blur on his day is brilliant, Save Our Pennys has been in great form too, it's going to be a good race." The good racing will then continue on Sunday when the Trots Country Cups Championship rolls to the south of the Murray River's banks for the Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup and the Central Murray Credit Union Cobram Trotters Cup. The latter includes Yabby Dam Farms pair Egee Money (gate 1) and Destinee Jenilou (10m), who step out for the first time since their Maryborough Trotters Cup quinella on December 21. "Both being French bred mares they seem to race really well over the longer distance," Golino said. "We have sort of been on the back foot with them, coming down here they have to acclimatise and are obviously six months behind in their birth age. We haven't raced them as young horses, but they are five or six-year-olds now and we are starting to throw them in the deep end a little. "I was rapt in the Maryborough Cup, we quinealled it and hopefully can get a similair result at Cobden." The great racing will be complemented by a host of fantastic off-track activities at both clubs.   Michael Howard

Yabby Dam racing's Beau Garcon's strong win in the Group 3 Breeders Crown 2YO Silver Trot was the icing on the cake for his sire Orlando Vici's impressive first season crop Down Under. With big race driver Anthony Butt in the sulky, Beau Garcon, took over the lead a lap out, stared down race favourite Alpha Male's challenge, and when he broke under pressure down the back straight, strode away from the field to win easing up to win by 14 metres from Yabby Dam Racing stablemate Hallaboutme. Trained by Anton Golino at Cardigan, Beau Garcon was Orlando Vici's third individual winner, from an Australian crop of 11 foals, with no less than six making the races, and, with his only New Zealand colt included, four making the Breeders Crown finals last weekend.  Trainer Anton Golino and Driver Anthony Butt, pictured with Beau Garçon Orlando Vici has been a standout sire in Europe, a consistent top ten stallion in France and a top five stallion in Sweden, whose progeny have won age-group black type in six nations and whose durability, is shown by his veteran son Un Mec d'Heripre capturing the Cagnes-sur-Mer GP des Alpes-Maritimes in the past week at the age of 10. Beau Garcon is a product of all- French breeding, with his imported dam Glenferrie Unixa having produced group winners with her first two foals, her previous offspring being the multi-Group one winning filly Une Belle Allure, who completed the Victoria Trotters Derby and Oaks double last season.   Dave Sanders  

French super stallion Ready Cash scored his first group one successes in Australia with Always Ready winning the Vicbred Super Series 2YO Colts and Geldings Final and followed that up with a group one placing with 2YO filly Par Ici. Bearing the stamp of Ready Cash in both looks and action Always Ready kicked the Vicbred Super Series finals off with an all the way win in the 2YO Colts after fighting hard to get to the lead, controlling the tempo and then impressively kicking away from the field from the 600m mark. Later in the evening Ready Cash filly Par Ici was shuffled back on the inside rail, but finished on gamely to pick up a third placing in the Group one Vibred Super Series 2YO Fillies Final. Anton Golino trains the pair at Yabby Dam Farms in Cardigan, Victoria. Yabby Dam Farms proprietor Pat Driscoll secured a small amount of Ready Cash frozen semen before his sons and daughters created a storm on the track through the likes of Prix d’Amerique winners Bold Eagle and Readly Express and multiple group one winners Brillantissime and Bird Parker. Anton and Always Ready The winner of 40 races, 8 at Group one level including two Prix de Amerique, Ready Cash has topped the French sires premiership in each of the six crops he has sired. And his son Brillantissime has just began his stud career in sensational fashion leading the French qualifiers with 22 qualifiers already with Love You and Ready Cash superstar Bold Eagle joint second on 12. Bold Eagle is out of a Love You mare. Ready Cash himself Is joint fourth on the table with 10 qualifers, while Bird Parker another son of Ready Cash has 9 qualifiers.  Yabby Dam Farms and Haras des Trotteurs are standing the first son of Ready Cash in New Zealand this year, in En Solitaire, who is bred on the same cross as Bold Eagle.   Dave Sanders

GAVIN Lang’s rollercoaster week took another twist when he wound back the clock and snared a Group 1 Vicbred trotting double at Melton last night. Lang was on cloud nine after Hectorjayjay’s winning return at Kilmore last Saturday night, but in the dumps just a couple of days later when it was revealed the comeback star has aggravated the injury which sidelined him for a year.  But, like all great sportsman, Lang stayed focused and drove like an inspired man last night.  His first win came when he both trained and drove recent stable addition Moonshine Linda to snatch victory late over hot favourite Pretty Majestic in the $90,000 3YO Trotting Fillies’ final.  It was Lang’s biggest training triumph and continued his phenomenal strike since returning to training ranks earlier this year.  Lang then teamed with popular young horseman Chris “Snooze” Svanosio and Anywhere Hugo to win the 3YO Trotters’ Colts and Geldings final.  It was Svanosio’s first Group 1 training win, but he missed the drive as he instead took the reins on stablemate Kyvalley Finn, who ran fourth.  “I didn’t know until well after the line my other horse had won, I was so busy driving Kyvalley Finn to the line. It’s a heck of a thrill,” Svanosio said.  Anywhere Hugo lifted late to gun-down buzz trotter Wobelee, who overraced throughout, pinched a big break at the top of the straight, but just couldn’t find enough late for a desperate and clearly frustrated Chris Alford.  Anywhere Hugo’s win followed success in the Holmfield earlier this season and put him ahead of Wobelee, at least on performances, so far this season.  The gelding is raced by renowned vet Dr Alastair MacLean and his daughter, Elizabeth.  _________________________________________________________________________________ THE growing force that is Yabby Dams, Pat Driscoll and Anton Golino flexed its muscle again last night.  The team landed two of the Vicbred Group 1 finals: the 2YO Trotting Colts and Geldings with Always Ready (driven by Nathan Jack) and the 4YO Trotting Mares’ with Kinvara Sue (driven by Jason Lee).  They went so close to a Group 1 treble when Pretty Majestic led and looked the winner until Moonshine Linda charged home and snatched victory by 1.1m.  Golino did train a treble for the night with his brilliant mare Dance Craze barely raising a sweat in the opening race, winning by 7.2m.  It was her second win from as many starts back home after a luckless third in the Harness Jewels final and took her career record to 10 wins from just 14 starts.  “She’s just never been really sound this mare. She’s done a great job. She’s got so much speed,” Golino said.  _________________________________________________________________________________ ANTHONY Butt joined the Group 1 party last night when two-year-old filly Fear The Yankee showed perfect manners to win her Vicbred final.  While seven of the 11 finalists made mistakes, the Shane Gallagher-trained Fear The Yankee began well, found herself in front and found plenty to hold-off the fast-finishing Sleepee.  _________________________________________________________________________________ CHRIS Alford jagged one of the Group 1’s last night, but just not with the trotter most expected.  Wobelee was the spruik trotter of the night, but had to be content with second in his final.  Alford’s win came aboard Peter Lane’s Kheiron, who won the 4YO Mares’ final in a desperate three-way go ahead of Next Thru and Illawong Byron.   Adam Hamilton

A new trotting race for three year old fillies has been programmed in March - a first for Southland. Sponsored by Haras des Trotteurs, the $20,000 Southland Trotting Oaks will be run over 2200 metres from behind the mobile at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park on Saturday 10th March. The race is two weeks prior to the Group Two New Zealand Trotting Oaks. "Southland is a good fit for the race. It's a very strong standardbred nursery. Pat (Haras des Trotteurs principle Pat Driscoll) was very keen to develop and support fillies races. You also get good support as a sponsor in Southland. They appreciated your support and you tend to get that back more so than other centres. I've dealt with Bill McDonald (President of the Northern Southland TC) previously and he's very big on making sure the sponsors get values for their sponsorship," said Haras des Trotteurs General Manager Jonathan McNeil.     The race will also be actively promoted by the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders who are keen to promote what has become the 'growing gait' in New Zealand harness. McNeil says there are other initatives which make trotting a significant part of the future of the industry here. "The main focus of the operation is to grow the fillies races. We're involved in the trotting side of the Sires Stakes now. A part of that agreement was that the Sires Stakes Board look at developing a trotting fillies series for the Sires Stakes."   He says that there are about 200-250 trotting fillies bred every year and if owners are presented with races like the Southland Trotting Oaks, then that will help grow the industry. "If we can develop our trotting horses to a higher level and go forward it opens up a bit of a market. It's a long way from that at the moment but if we could produce the same world class trotters as we do pacers it would be great." He says the Australians are also looking at ways to generate strong overseas revenue from trotting.  "Every Monday night at Melton they make the last races trotting races. They're beamed into France lunch time Sunday. There's a million dollar turnover on those races from France. From a Haras de Trottuers point of view, once we start getting more horses with French sire lines, the French are going to recognise the pedigrees so you'll end up growing the market." Haras des Trotteurs Principal Pat Driscoll is also keen to look at sending young trotting fillies over to New Zealand to help support the cause.  "He's not afraid to send them over there and race them but only if it works. Right horses at the right time. You can't just go over there for one race. You need a few options if you have a bad day." Hara des Trotteurs stand eleven trotting stallions and the one McNeil is most excited about is Used To Me the first French Group winner to stand in Australasia. He only has a small first season crop but they look very promising.  "He had two starts here in Australia as well for two wins. Of this twenty two years old Anton's (Yabby Dam Farms trainer Anton Golino) best two year old fillies are both by Used To Me. So we're really excited about that. Potentially this horse has got a lot of up side. He stands in the flesh here and we shipped him to New Zealand just to get him up and running."  Orlanda Vici is another French stallion McNeil is excited about. "His oldest New Zealand progeny have just turned two. The people that've got them are really liking them. There's only a few." So things are in place for the Southland Trotting Oaks to begin another chapter in the Southern Harness story.   Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson is one who should be keen to support the event. He has four qualified or race winners that are eligible to start - Kenny's Dream, Majestic Galleon, South Park and Our Foxy Lady.  And as for the day - it's added to an already mouth watering day of harness racing with other races including the three Group Three races - Southern Lights, Caduceus Club of Southland Two Year Old Fillies Mobile and Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup. There's also the Super Nuggets Finals worth $20,000. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing 

Canterbury-trained two-year-old filly Our Renezmae finished third behind Australian star Wobelee ($1.40) in the $A50,000 Redwood Classic 2yo stand trot at Maryborough, Victoria, on Sunday. Young trainer Jack Harrington’s filly was no match for Wobelee, a son of Down Under Muscles, was has won eight from 10 starts for driver Chris Alford and clocked 2:49.3 over 2190m (stand) in the Group One classic. He started from one on the second line, but Alford stepped him out to lead as the one horse, Whizbang Dan, broke and veered sideways. Our Renezmae began well to trail, but was under pressure when the leader took off at the 800m, with Regal Assassin, who broke early, coming on strongly for second. The Cran Dalgety-trained filly Chevron Express failed in the Gr.1 $A70,000 Victoria Trotters 3YO Derby (2690m, mobile) behind Une Belle Allure. The Kiwi filly was driven by expat reinsman Anthony Butt, but drifted badly when three-back on the inner soon after turning for home. She was later examined by a vet. The Anton Golino-trained, Angus Hall-sired filly Une Belle Allure ($7.70) was too strong for favourites Dance Craze and President Roydon after taking over early from stablemate Dance Craze, as she won her seventh from 12 starts, including the NSW and Victoria Oaks. She sprinted home in 57.9s for her last 800m, clocking 3:25.9 overall. Earlier, Butt reined nine-year-old champion trotter Keystone Del ($6) to a fresh-up win, moving up from last at the 800m three-wide and powering home to win brilliantly for expat Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley over 2190m (mobile), clocking 2.42.1 and winning by 6.7 metres. By Dr Ronerail out of Kiwi-bred mare Flipside (by Aereus), he has now won 42 from 68 starts and $1.1m.   NZ Harness News http://www.theinformant.co.nz/

A fine filly tipped out the boys and extended a stellar harness racing season for the tight-knit trio trainer Anton Golino, owner Pat Driscoll and driver Zac Phillips, who landed the Seelite Windows & Doors Victoria Trotters Derby. Victorian and New South Wales Oaks winner Une Belle Allure added a crown typically set aside for the boys to her monster three-year-old haul, with Phillips finding the lead from stablemate Dance Craze and controlling the pace to ensure none would run past his Angus Hall filly. A 28.2 final quarter shut the door and delivered another Group 1 to the 21-year-old, who celebrated with a jubilant salute in front of a hearty Redwood All-Trotting Carnival crowd at Maryborough today. “She’s unbelievable. She stepped up to the plate every time she’s been asked too,” Phillips said. “She just keeps taking the next step and the next step and continues to surprise me.” The victory was a sixth career Group 1 win for Phillips, all coming with trotters and all since March 11. “It’s been an unbelievable year and sort of what you dream about when you step out in this sort of career. You dream about having years like I’ve had,” Phillips said. “I’ve been very fortunate, my three main stables – Adam Kelly, Anton (Golino) and Paul and Kari Males – sort of stuck with me through thick and thin and it makes such a big difference when you get behind horses like this. They can just take your career to the sky. Just over the moon.” In today’s Derby, Dance Craze cruised to the front via her great gate speed and then Nathan Jack handed up to Phillips and Une Belle Allure, while fellow stablemate Nieta cruised to the breeze to give Golino the first three runners. There was little need for haste and the pace was barely quickened when Deltasun slipped past Nieta and into the breeze, with first two quarters of 32.1 and 32.0 preceding a 29.7 third quarter. Three-wide, Kerryn Manning and her newest addition President Roydon poured on the pressure in the dying stages, but the last 100m belonged to Une Belle Allure, who hit the line 2.7m clear of Dance Craze and 3.6m clear of President Roydon. “There didn’t look to be a hell of a lot of pressure in the race if I did happen to find the front, which I did, and once I found the front it played out as I thought,” Phillips said. “Nathan (Jack on Dance Craze) was always going to be on my back, but with the run I had he was probably never going to be able to outdo me. “(Une Belle Allure’s) just got such a great will to win and she’s an unbelievable horse to sit behind, she just has an amazing turn of foot. She’s so versatile, she can sit, she can sprint, she can do it tough, and I think that’s what makes her such a great horse.” Her 12 starts have now produced seven wins and more than $150,000 in stakes, which have almost all been amassed in her nine-run three-year-old season. “It’s a dream come true,” Golino said. “(Yabby Dam Farms owner) Pat (Driscoll’s) an amazing person and deserves this more than anyone. “We were lucky we drew well, in these big races all these horses can go, so to get a good draw was a big advantage at the start. Having said that they got the job done, so we are really happy.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

It was the night we had been waiting for. Emerging trainer Anton Golino and the leviathan team that is Yabby Dams has been threatening to dominate a major meeting. And it happened when they snared two Group 1s and Group 3 at Melton’s huge Vicbred “trotting finals” night last night (Friday). It started when three-year-old Muscle Mass filly Nieta posted her seventh win from just 14 starts when she sat behind main danger, Kyvalley Kyrie, and out-zipped her to win the Group 3 Vicbred Silver Trot. “If they were ever going to beat her tonight was the night when they walked and dashed up the straight, but I think they underestimated her speed tonight,” driver Nathan Jack told harness.org.au. Like so many of the stars of the Vicbred meeting, Nieta’s next main target is the Breeders Crown. Nieta is bred to keep improving being out of La Biscuit, a daughter of former champion trotting mare La Coocaracha. Golino’s enormous depth in three-year-old trotting filly ranks was underlined when another one of his, Kinvara Sue, used the pole to lead and thrash her rivals with Jason Lee aboard in the Group 1 3YO Fillies’ Vicbred final.   Lee broke her his rivals with a 28.6sec split down the back and won by 11.1m in a 2min0.4sec mile rate for 2240m, but the effort of runner-up Margaret Ruth to carry a flat tyre most of the trip was outstanding. “It’s been a tremendous effort by the team to get her to relax and to do that tonight and have the horse outside her there racing very fierce, and for to relax and rip home like that was terrific,” Lee said about Kinvara Sue. “Any win is awesome but when they’ve got Group 1 written behind them that was pretty special. To win my first Group 1 trotters race for Anton and Pat is just awesome. Really enjoy sitting behind a trotter now.” Pat is of course Pat Driscoll, the man, the brains and the money behind Yabby Dams. Driscoll and Golino’s treble came up when Aldebaran Eve, driven by Gavin Lang, led throughout and just held-off favourite Into The Unknown in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO Mares’ final. “Credit to Anton and the team. She’s probably not the most gifted horse they’ve got but great manners, great attitude and a little bit ability which always helps.” Lang said. Golino praised the his team at Yabby Dams, most notably former All Stars’ travelling foreman Shaun McNaulty “We are starting to get a good team of horses and people,” Golino said. “Young Shaun helps with me with the horses and does a great job.” YOUNG trotting star Wobelee stirs plenty of memories for driver and co-trainer Chris Alford. His fantastic juvenile season of six wins a second and a third from just eight starts has rekindled memories more than 20 years old for Alford. It was 1995 when Alford’s father unearthed the great juvenile trotter Noopy Kiosk, who ranks up with the best baby trotters Australia has seen. Wobelee’s fantastic record, slick times and big winners margins have drawn inevitable comparisons. Throw in the fact Wobelee is trained by Alford’s wife, Alison, and it’s been a pretty special ride this season. Wobelee made it six wins on end and snared his second Group 1 when he won the Vicbred 2YO final at Melton last night by 18.2m. Previously he’d won the Group 1 Vicbred Platinum final by 16.3m on June 3 and the Group 2 Tatlow final before that. “He just likes to race. He doesn’t do a real lot at home. We didn’t have much idea other than that he trotted and he’d make the races until he qualified. He just got better and better each time he goes out. He just wants to get out there and go. He knocked off when he got a long way in front tonight. “I don’t have to ask him (early) he just wants to go. “He’s got his dad’s speed and good for him he’s got better manners.” Wobelee’s “dad” is brilliant but sometimes erratic trotter Down Under Muscles, who won 17 of 41 starts and $216,925 in stakes. ANTHONY Butt’s daring and aggressive driving has won him countless feature races. It proved the difference again last night when Butt surprised a few by leading and holding the front on Enrolled in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final (2240m). Many thought Butt might take the “safe” option and take a trail behind hot favourite Maori Law, however Butt had different ideas. Maori Law didn’t enjoy having to do the grunt work, broke under pressure and Enrolled powered to a 7.4m win for Butt and trainer Brent Lilley. Butt capped a double and caused the upset of the night aboard $32.10 outsider Crow Power in the Group 3 Vicbred Silver final. Other drivers to land doubles on the big night were Nathan Jack – Nieta and two-year-old filly Moonshine Linda – and Gavin Lang, who won on Aldebaran Eve and Deltasun in the Group 1 3YO colts and geldings final.   Michael Guerin

A terrific Zac Phillips drive and a terrific horse combined to win a heck of a race for Anton Golino’s trotting team, adding the Noel Simpson Memorial Victoria Trotters Oaks to the mantelpiece. Only a fortnight after claiming the New South Wales equivalent, Une Belle Allure was advanced from a difficult draw to produce a ripping win by 1.9m from brave maiden Four Walls. “She’s just keeps getting better and better as the days go by,” Phillips said. “To the team at Anton’s, they have done a great job with this filly. She’s had her fair share of problems over the last few months and hasn’t been trotting the best. To get her right on a night like tonight is a real credit to them.” An early war between Kinvara Sue and Kyvalley Kyrie not only saw the latter break but the former – a heavily-backed $1.95 favourite – unsettled and appearing to overrace early. Phillips had placed three-back the outside from the widest back row draw and advanced on the final lap to sit outside Kinvara Sue, with Une Belle Allure soon claiming the front as her stablemate tired. Matt Craven’s Four Walls was the best of the challenges and loomed likely come the final straight, but Une Belle Allure had all the answers and claimed the Group 1 $60,000 prize. “She had to do a bit of work and was a bit of a sitting shot for those back in the field, but to her credit she just kept digging deep and I still don’t think we have found the bottom of her,” Phillips said. “Anton’s always had the opinion that she’s pretty good, it just took a little while for the penny to drop. He was patient enough with her and is starting to reap the rewards of that now.” It’s also great reward for the investment of Yabby Dam Farms' Pat Driscoll, owner and breeder of Une Belle Allure. “It’s a great honour to win such a prestigious event,” Mr Driscoll said. “As a breeder, you really dream of winning these types of races, it’s fantastic to have such a terrific filly. I’m really blessed.” Read about the other winners from Melton Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Victorian trained harness racing two-year-olds claimed the opening heats of the 2017 Alabar Breeders Challenge series at Wagga on Tuesday night. The favourite Little Peanut won the colts and geldings division in smart fashion for trainer-driver Greg Sugars while Sounds Of Terror caused an upset taking out the fillies heat for Anton Golino and local driver Cameron Hart. Sugars was in a similar predicament a few years ago when he guided the then rising star Sushi Sushi to victory in a Breeders Challenge heat at Wagga. Little Peanut is one of three pacers he trains himself in between his busy driving schedule. “He is no Sushi Sushi but a nice two-year-old who will go on to the semi finals at Menangle,” Sugars said. Little Peanut is raced by a group of five who hail from Newcastle and Grafton. The owners also raced and bred the winner’s half-brother, Youranut, who won 14 races. Little Peanut settled in fifth place and when asked to extend gathered in Sword And Shield for his third win from five starts. Although second past the finish line, Sword And Shield was relegated to third when Stone Cracker’s driver David Hewitt lodged a successful protest. Sounds Of Terror made the six hour trip from Cardigan in Victoria worth the effort when she claimed her first win at her third start. The fillies’ heat looked in the keeping of the favourite Man Hands until she galloped at the 300 metres presenting a run through for Sounds Of Terror. The winner is owned and was bred by Yabby Dam Farms which races a large number of trotters and fewer pacers. Sounds Of Terror provided Junee reinsman Cameron Hart with his biggest career victory in the $15,000 race. He was impressed with the manner the youngster extended when called on. “She finished off really well. We had a bit of luck when the favourite galloped but she was travelling well at the time and won nicely,” he said. by Graeme White

Zac Phillips is one of the most popular young drivers in Australia and now he’s one of the most wanted as well. Phillips broke through for his first Group 1 win on Une Belle Allure at Melton last Saturday night and found the perfect way to celebrate … with another Group 1 win 30 minutes later on Red Hot Tooth later. Then, just for good measure, he backed-up to add the Wangaratta Cup aboard Four Ex Dan yesterday (Sunday). “It’s unbelievable. I’m still pinching myself,” Phillips said. “To win three big races across the weekend for the three stables who most support me is pretty special.” Although Une Belle Allure’s Need For Speed Princess final was Phillips’ first Group 1 win, he said Red Hot Tooth’s Group 1 Breed For Speed Gold final victory was “as good as it gets.” “Of course your first Group 1 is amazing, but to team up with Paul and Kari (Males) for that Group 1 with Red Hot Tooth was extra special because they have been there supporting me and giving me opportunities since I first started driving as a 16 year-old,” Phillips said. Rewarding loyalty also gave an extra edge to Four Ex Dan’s Wangaratta Cup win. “Adam (Kelly, Four Ex Dan’s trainer) is who I worked for when I first started out and his support has been there all the way through,” Phillips said. Sentimentality aside, it was Une Belle Allure’s win which was the most important in Phillips’ career. That’s because the three-year-old filly is part of the Yabby Dams “army” with trainer Anton Golino and owner Pat Driscoll. With a lavish farm full of regally-bred young trotters, Yabby Dams is poised to dominating trotting ranks. “I’m good mates with Todd Matthews (who works for Yabby Dams) and he put in a word for me a while back, which led to me getting a few drives for them,” Phillips said. “They are already a big force and only going to get much bigger with the stock they have.” Une Belle Allure, one of a staggering six of the 10 runners Golino trained in the race, camped on the leaders, got into the clear on the home bend and nabbed favourite and stablemate Dance Craze to win by nose. Golino trained the first four home with Nieta third and My Chimera fourth. Adam Hamilton

A big camp’s investment and a young man’s persistence both paid off with Une Belle Allure claiming the $60,000 IRT Need For Speed Prince Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. The victory delivered harness racing driver Zac Phillips his first Group 1 success less than a week after his 21st birthday and capped a dominant performance by trainer Anton Golino and owner Pat Driscoll’s Yabby Dam Farms. Having qualified six for the $60,000 final for three-year-old trotting fillies, Golino’s crew preceded to fill the first four placings with Une Belle Allure winning by a half-head from favourite Dance Craze, with Nieta 5.7m back in third and My Chimera claiming fourth. “It’s a great thrill,” Golino said. “We worked hard for this, it was a big night, we had a lot of horses in it. It doesn’t always mean that you get the job done, this is satisfying.” That it was his Angus Hall three-year-old who saluted was no surprise to Golino. “I thought she was our best last year as a two-year-old. She had a horrible prep, a few things went wrong, she got sick, she got kicked. We sort of rushed her there and she didn’t probably perform as well as we thought she could. “She’s come back super this season and she’s shown that again tonight.” Phillips guided Une Belle Allure to the front from gate three with Diz Luck on his outside when they settled before Dance Craze joined him at the bell. A 32.3 second quarter sured up the leaders’ control of the race and after a 29.8 third quarter they would have plenty left in the final straight. Dance Craze loomed in Gavin Lang’s hands but Une Belle Allure fought on and when they hit the line a half-head was enough to give Phillips his crowning moment. “It’s a massive thrill. I’ve dreamt of winning a Group 1 for as long as I can remember and to do it on trotting’s night of nights, it really means a lot to me,” Phillips said. “To Anton and the team, for them to give me the opportunity, I really can’t explain how grateful I am to them. “It just shows the quality of people they are, they do a great job with their team and put a lot into the sport.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Harness racing trainer Anton Golino baulks at the thought of ranking his three-year-old trotting fillies, but he is categorical on one point. Dance Craze is his best. The Cardigan horseman dominated the heats of the Need for Speed Princess at Tabcorp Park Melton last night, finishing first and second in both. But it was the run of fourth placed Dance Craze in heat one that caught the eye most, the daughter of champion mare La Coocaracha and super sire Muscle Hill producing an enormous performance after missing the start. “It was a massive run,” Golino said. “A little bit of interference leading up to the gait was enough to put her off last night, which was unfortunate. “She is the best of them (my fillies) though. I think she can develop into a really, really good horse.” Dance Craze charged to the line behind stablemates Nieta and My Chimera, who ran 1-2, with Iona Spider for trainer Shane Hall and driver Jodi Quinlan winding up third after leading. Nieta rated 1:58.1 winning for Nathan Jack, finishing a head in front of My Chimera (Zac Phillips), the pair storming to the line together. “She showed a world of ability as a two-year-old and this time in has really learnt to settle. It’s a credit to Gavin (Lang) who drives for us in the trials. He’s really got her to settle and that’s helped her a lot,” Golino said of Nieta. “We’re very lucky Gavin is able to educate these horses for us in the trials and teach them to be racehorses. “Nathan said last night if anything Nieta was a bit lazy, which is good because she was not pulling. “My Chimera has surprised us a little bit. She tied up badly at Ballarat and didn’t want to go at all, really. Then, since winning at Charlton she hasn’t put a foot wrong.” Heat two was another Golino special with Une Belle Allure (Angus Hall-Glenferrie Unixa) producing a 1:56.9 rate first-up to overhaul impressive newbie Ima Bourbon Girl by 1.6m. Driven by Zac Phillips, who finished with a winning double after piloting Majestic Moves (Majestic Son-Kwik Kiss) home at big odds in the Aldebaran Park Handicap, Une Belle Allure looked every bit the beautiful mover as she boomed down the outside. Having just her second start, Ima Bourbon Girl (Sam Bourbon-Lough Neagh) led from gate four for Gavin Lang. Diz Luck finished third for trainer-driver Gavin Smith from the pole. The Group 1 IRT Need for Speed Princess Final will be run on Saturday night, March 11, part of a huge four Group 1 program. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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