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On the eve of the new national ratings based handicapping system, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) reminds the industry of this important change and has created a list of “need to know” items to help participants with the transition. Nominations close for the first meeting under the new system close tomorrow (26 June) at noon. HRV released its July programs on June 3. They can be viewed here.   National Ratings Based Handicapping System – Need to Know Each horse’s National Rating (NR) has been live from 1 May and has calculated on racing performances since Field Selection Points will remain as the primary balloting tool independent of NR Horses can race in advance of their rating but cannot have their rating reduced for performances in such races Races run as divisions will not be divided based on NR – current ideals will remain In lower rating races where concession claims don’t apply for eligibility purposes, there may be the facility for concession drivers to claim in the barrier draw only (when stated on race conditions)  Horses that exceed NR criteria after acceptances will be deemed ineligible, however a concession claiming driver may then be applied to remain eligible if they are applicable on the race Concession claims are tiered    5 points for 0-100 lifetime wins    3 points for 101-250 lifetime wins    5 points in metro races for 0-50 lifetime metro wins  Mares allowance is 5 points No provision for dual allowances (mares & concession driver) but may be explored in future Horses imported from New Zealand from 1 July onwards will have their NR calculated on their lifetime performance against the Points Matrix  At metropolitan meetings, only Metro races will be selected manually, the remainder will be selected based on Field Selection Points For the purposes of racing guidelines races will be categorised as follows:    Restricted           $4,500    Career                  $4,501 to $14,999    Metro                   $15,000+   Ratings Points Matrix   HRV Trots Media

Long-time Cranbourne committee man and breeder Les Tilley died on Saturday at age 90. Mr Tilley was a commitee man and secretary of Cranbourne Harness Club for many years, a timekeeper at the Showgrounds and Moonee Valley for about 15 years, and a member of the Standardbred Breeders Association. Mr Tilley and his late wife Joan were members of the VHRC for more than 50 years, when they bred and raced horses successfully. Their best was Group 1 winning trotter Conaroyal and they also had multiple metro winner Desert Chase, who produced recent metro winners Desert Spur and Desert Flyer. The latter won the Aldebaran Park Vicbred Trot at Melton on June 8, the breeder's last winner. HRV sends its condolences to Mr Tilley's family and friends.   Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing New South Wales has today announced another prizemoney injection elevating Tamworth's Golden Guitar to Group 2 status. Prizemoney for the time-honoured feature has doubled and the 2020 edition will be worth $50,000 in stakes. Minister responsible for racing and Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, said the announcement shows that regional racing keeps going from strength to strength. "We want our regional racing scene to continue to grow, which is why this investment in Tamworth's Golden Guitar Harness Race is so important," said Mr Anderson. "The Country Music Festival in Tamworth is such an iconic event and we can celebrate an iconic harness race as part of it." This announcement further strengthens HRNSW's stance on regional feature racing, making the Golden Guitar the most prestigious harness event in the state's north. A record quarter-of-a-million-dollars will be distributed throughout the upcoming Golden Guitar Carnival, held over three meetings. Meanwhile record prizemoney, in excess of $1.5 million, will be distributed by the Tamworth HRC in the next financial year as advised by HRNSW Chairman Mr Rod Smith. "Our commitment to regional harness racing and in this instance the north-west is well demonstrated," said Mr Smith. "Next year HRNSW will provide $1.5 million in prizemoney at Tamworth double what was available to participants a short five years ago. "In the last four years the number of race meetings at Paceway Tamworth has increased from 20 to 30 and I compliment the Club and the participants for demonstrating to my Board how strong our industry is in the region." Tamworth Club Chair Ms Julie Maughan was thrilled by the announcement. "Absolutely rapt," said Ms Maughan. "My Board and the participants work hard for the betterment of the north-west and to achieve our objective one of which was Group status for our flagship race is fantastic for all. "This has been achieved through the generosity of HRNSW and we thank Rod (Smith), his fellow Board members and John (Dumesny) for providing the funding." To assure the future of harness racing in Tamworth, HRNSW purchased the Showground in 2016. Since, HRNSW has injected $1.5 million into the property by virtue of a roof over the race stalls, a new Officials Pod and other works to make the property more presentable. Also horses stabled and trained at the track have increased from 15 to 60 and the Club now conducts 30 meetings a year (in 2014 it was only allocated 20 meetings). Next year's Golden Guitar, on Thursday January 23, will be the 41st running of the feature. First run by the Tamworth Harness Racing Club in 1979, some quality pacers have won the event including in recent times Mach Beauty who then went on to contest the Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES  

Successful Victorian horseman Michael Stanley has every reason to have an air of confidence as he prepares his harness racing stable stars for their next mission. Both Soho Burning Love (Auckland Reactor-Soho Bordeaux (Western Terror) and her stablemate Rackemup Tigerpie (Rock N Roll Heaven-Victoria Street (Albert Albert) have pulled up a treat after competing in their heats of the 4YO Vicbred Super Series at their Ballarat home track last Friday. "I'm really happy with them and can't wait for next Saturday nights semi-finals at Melton to come around," said Stanley, who has his stables at Burrumbeet. Bay mare Soho Burning Love, raced by well-known West Australian breeder-owner Robert Watson, did as she pleased to post an impressive win in the Mares' heats. "I guess she is just a typical Auckland Reactor progeny - she's all go and revels in racing. She just loves it and gives 100 percent every time," Stanley said. "She did hit the finish line with plenty in the tank, but to be honest she probably wasn't in the strongest of the four heats," he said. All the horses on the front row were far more lightly assessed than Soho Burning Love, an M3 class, and that was a factor in Stanley's assessment of the race. "I decided to circle early because I thought the lead would be up for grabs, and she felt great when I asked her to pick up the tempo over the last half (run in 56.3)," he said. "She is pretty well at her top for this series." After running a brilliant fourth in the Ladyship Mile G1 at Menangle on March 2, Stanley decided to ease up a little on the mare's workload. "We'd competed in four or five feature finals, so it was the perfect time to back-off a bit and get in a position to target further big races," he said. Two of her four runs this campaign have been wins. Apart from the recent Ballarat win, the other was in the Melton G3 Alabar Silver Chalice on June 8. Stanley is hoping to go one better than Soho Burning Love's effort in last year's Vicbred Super Series Three-Year-Old Final. "We finished second, but ran into a smart Emma Stewart pacer in Speak No Evil," he said. Rackemup Tigerpie, raced by Stanley's father Ian, went down narrowly at Ballarat to Three Summas (Kerryn Manning) in his Entires and Geldings Heat. "It was a pretty handy effort, so he's also in good form and prior to that he impressed me at Melton with a free-for-all win in solid time." The Stanley stable has been enjoying a great season with 51 wins and 52 placings from about 125 starters. At least a dozen of the wins have been metropolitan victories. "We do have the luxury of our number one client Rob Watson being big in the breeding side of the industry so we can keep turning them over. We are extremely lucky that we can do that," he said. "Most times we have a team of 20 horses, although this might drop down over the cold months. Then the numbers jump back up in spring with young ones coming through." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Euroa-based harness racing trainer-driver Cameron Maggs produced a nice winner on debut at Shepparton last Friday - and punters didn't let it get under their guard. Four-year-old mare Maddielea (Auckland Reactor-Allison June (Major In Art) was heavily supported into favoritism on fixed odds and the issue was never in doubt. Maggs sent Maddielea to the head of affairs in the $7000 Alabar Pace for C0 only pacers and looked to have things well under control from that point. The first split was 28.2, followed by a 31.4, and then the mare was allowed to stretch out in 28.3 and 29.6 to win by 15 metres in a sharp 1.57-5. Despite not being sighted at the trials for some time, the course commentator Brendan Delaney advised shortly before the start that the fixed odds that had been put up regarding Maddielea had been knocked down from $19 to $4. Betting then tightened to $3.50 and $3.20, with the eventual starting price $3.50. "The winner landed some big bets, and someone has their pockets full for the weekend, you would think!" Delaney quipped after the race. To watch the video replay of this race click here. Maddielea certainly looks a horse destined for a bright future and is expected to make it two wins in under a week as she has come up the top selection at Shepparton this Wednesday afternoon in the CO-C1 mares' event. The daughter of Auckland Reactor, who continues to stamp his mark as a quality sire, goes about her business in trade-like fashion. With a nice gait, she has some of her dad's renowned grit as well. Maddielea, raced by P.L and S.L Maggs, was bred by her trainer Cameron Maggs. She is out of an unraced mare in Allison June (Major In Art-Miss Nightowl (Our Sir Vancelot). The recent winner also has a three-year-old full brother, yet to be named. Miss Nightowl was only lightly raced with four wins and seven placings from 26 starts for earnings of $14,480. The mare was successful for Maggs at Wagga and Echuca, while Nathan Jack was the winning driver at Bendigo and Mildura. It was also a very good outcome for connections who also took home a lucrative first win VicBred bonus. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

“And that’s another victory for the Emma Stewart stable..”. For some that line become something of a broken record during Alabar Vicbred Super Series pacing week and that was quite literally the case among Friday night’s four-year-old mares’ heats. Pistol Abbey lowered the age/class record at Ballarat’s Bray Raceway with her victory in the second heat, leading all-the-way and showing the sit-sprinter’s increasing versatility. “Her form of late’s been really really good,” reinsman David Moran told TrotsVision. “She sort of gives you the feeling and impression that she has toughened up a fair bit now, so I think she can do a bit of work in the run.” That was a big part of the lesson learned Friday night, when Pistol Abbey did a bit of work early to lead and then had highly-rated Major Occasion on her outside and stablemate Nostra Villa on her back. “With (Major Occasion) outside us, she’s just had a long trip to New Zealand and back, so if we were ever going to hold the top tonight was probably the perfect opportunity,” Moran said. “The last couple of starts she has given the impression, even though she has come from behind, that she has strengthened up a fair bit. “These sort of horses like her, they are lightly framed and a little bit smaller than a genuine top class mare so it just comes with time. She’s got that now and I think she’s become pretty versatile.” Pistol Abbey broke many a heart in the heat with a 27.3-second third quarter and then closed out in 27.6 seconds to win by 9.5m from Major Occasion, with Im Princess Gemma making great ground late to run into second. It made it two from two for Stewart in the mares’ heats after Frankincense won the opener, having led from gate four and produced a largely painless 8.1-metre win for reinsman Rodney Petroff. “She got it really easy, lead time was good, the first two quarters were good and when you run those last two sections it makes it hard for the ones trying to chase her down,” Petroff said. “She went through the mares series not long ago and each run she seemed to get better and the further the distance the better she got. If she draws well in the semis and happens to make the final she won’t be too far away.” Another improving all the time is Mick Stanley’s Soho Burning Love, the Auckland Reactor mare who was a terrific junior, finishing second in her three-year-old Vicbred Super Series final, and who has of late mixed it with the best of the mares. Stanley steered her from last to first early in Friday’s heat and got home in 28.4 and 27.9 for a comfortable 11-metre lead from Western Debt. He told TrotsVision whatever she does this season she should only improve on.  “She’s not a big mare, she probably hasn’t filled out in her body to her frame, she’s still a lean mare but that’s probably because she is highly strung. She is hard work around the stables and always gets herself fizzed up,” Stanley said. “I’m sure at some stage after the sires, when she gets a chance to let down over the spring, that she will really make a nice mare.”   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media

A tragic coincidence involving a promising north west Victorian pacer has dealt a devastating blow to one of the Mallee Reactor's most enthusiastic harness racing owner groups. In the space of eight days, the eight-member group of mates from the Ouyen region, suffered the untimely death of not only their star three-year-old Mallee Reactor (Auckland Reactor-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket), but also his promising two-year-old half-sister Wonforthegirls (Village Jasper-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket). Mallee Reactor was broken in and prepared by astute Ouyen trainer Murray Jardine for eight wins and two placings from 10 starts before being transferred (on Jardine's recommendation) to Adam Kelly, at Toolern Vale. "They were two lovely horses and the owners' group, who are friends of mine, are just absolutely shattered," Jardine said. Wonforthegirls was a full sister to the syndicate's successful pacer Carload (11 wins, $94,000) (Village Jasper-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket) and had showed enormous promise in her early preparations with Jardine. "She was a late foal and she was a fiery little thing who took a little while to start putting it together, but at the same stage, she was better than either Mallee Reactor or Carload," Jardine said. "She was definitely going to win a lot of races, but we thought in mid-May she had done enough, and she still needed a bit of maturing, so I recommended to the owners that they turn her out for the winter. "I let her down for about a week, before they came and picked her up for her spell." Wonforthegirls was spelling on a property owned by one of the connections near Speed, but tragedy unfolded when they found the filly dead in the paddock on the Monday of the Queen's Birthday long weekend. The group was further devastated by the loss of Mallee Reactor eight days later. Mallee Reactor became the pin-up horse of the Northern region after bursting onto the scene as a two-year-old and winning his first five races in brilliant fashion. At his final start in the north west, Mallee Reactor was driven by Jardine's son Simon and ran second in the Guineas during the Mildura Pacing Cup Carnival, behind Victorian rising star three-year-old Im Sir Blake. Simon had a good affinity with the horse, driving him to seven of his eight wins. To watch video of Mallee Reactor winning click on this link.  "Mallee Reactor was best-suited to do his future racing somewhere closer to Melton and nearer to a lot of the bigger tracks, because he was a terrible traveller - he'd get hot and sweaty just travelling 100 kilometres from Ouyen to Mildura, which was doing him no good," Jardine said. After his move south, the pacer finished third at his first start for Kelly at Ballarat in mid-May, then was given a short freshen-up. Mallee Reactor had trialled at Melton and Kelly was pleased with the run which was a leadup to his return to racing at Kilmore last Wednesday. On the Saturday prior, Kelly noticed the horse had a high temperature and called a vet, but Mallee Reactor could not be saved. "It's absolutely tragic for the boys because all of them just loved their horses and they were having the time of their lives in the sport," Jardine said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E   W      

Reinsman Chris Alford created his own piece of harness racing history on the weekend, driving the winner of the Traralgon Pacing Cup for the sixth time.   Alford eclipsed the previous record for winning drives in the event of five held by Ted Demmler, when Sahara Tiger won the feature race at Warragul on Sunday afternoon.   Sahara Tiger overcame the inside second row draw of the mobile to win Sunday's race, with Alford getting the horse off the inside and into clear running, before sweeping past the field at the 600 metre mark and going on to record an easy win.   A three-year-old taking on older horses, Sahara Tiger became the first horse of his age to win the Traralgon Pacing Cup since Kotare Knight in 1979.   Sahara Tiger is trained by Gary and Debbie Quinlan at Drouin West, giving the stable their third win in the race, having won with Pinball and Sharazar when the event was staged at Traralgon.   Co-feature race on Sunday was the $10,000 Ken Miller Memorial Pace, won by Diamond Cullen for trainer Jodi Quinlan and driver Craig Demmler.   Family and friends of the late Ken Miller at the presentation of the Ken Miller Memorial race on Sunday                                                                                                                      --Matt Walker Photography   A good crowd attended Sunday's meeting in fine conditions. Warragul Harness Racing Club has another Sunday meeting scheduled for July 14.     Kyle Galley

Talented four-year-old Summit Special, who was bred, raised and sold by Yirribee Pacing Stud, hoisted the fastest time of the night - 1:50.7 - when he overwhelmed his harness racing rivals in a $25,000 semi-final of the NSW Breeders Challenge at Menangle on Saturday night (June 22). Starting from the No. 5 gate, the gelding was third last at the end of the opening 800 in 54.3. Following a 28.3 third stanza Summit Special was tipped three deep and closed with a 28.1 final fraction to down the highly fancied Ignatius by 3.7 metres. The win sent his stake earnings over the $50,000 mark. Summit Special will contest the Group 1 $100,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Final at Menangle on Sunday afternoon (June 30). Summit Special is the fifth foal and third winner of Classic Counsel NZ (by In The Pocket), who is also the dam of the prolific Menangle and Albion Park victor Floyd Mayweather 1:53 ($326,492). Since producing Summit Special in 2014, Classic Counsel has left the three-year-old Im Rock Solid (6 placings) and a weanling filly by Warrawee Needy and is carrying a positive test to him. Meanwhile, another Yirribee sired and bred, Untythehood (Robin Hood-Aunty Jean), saluted for the eighth time overall and fifth time this season at Wagga on Friday (June 21). The five-year-old gelding rated a career-best 1:58.9 over 2270 metres. Yirribee Pacing Stud will this season offer an imposing roster of stallions in the Kiwi superstar Lazarus, former world record holder Warrawee Needy, Tintin In America, sire of the America's No. ranked racemare Shartin NZ, and the North America Cup and Adios winner Fear The Dragon.   Peter Wharton

THE reshaping of Queensland’s Winter Carnival gave the unique Redcliffe track it’s biggest night ever. And the triangle-shaped track – unique because it has three straights – delivered with stellar racing across a string of feature races. First out was the state’s glamour filly Smart As Camm Be, who looked a class above her rivals and delivered with the softest of wins in the Redcliffe Oaks. Life will get much harder when she meets Princess Tiffany in coming weeks. The Sonya Smith and Anthony Butt team produced former Kiwi pacer Make Way to powerhouse Redcliffe Derby win after sitting parked and beating favourite Dazzle Me, trained by Barry Lew of Karloo Mick fame. The biggest race of the night, the $50,700 Group 2 Redcliffe Cup, was the most popular result of the night with hard-working Lola Weidemann driving Clintal Do to win for trainer Richard March. “That’s my first Redcliffe Cup win, it means the world,” Weidemann said. Clintal Do came from behind the leader to nab former Kiwi Group 1 star Ohoka Punter and win by a nose with the emerging Franco Toten third. Ohoka Punter’s trainer-driver Grant Dixon only had wait for the next race, the $100,760 Garrards Redcliffe Yearling Sales final, for compensation when he landed a one-two blow with hot favourite Governor Art beating Signor Jujon.. _____________________________________________________________________________ CHARIOTS Of Fire winner Poster Boy is recovering from a bout of pneumonia which sent a huge scare through his camp. Owner-breeder Bill Anderson spoke of the relief when being told it was no longer life threatening by late Friday. “His temperature 42C when he arrived (at the Ballarat clinic) and it’s now back down to 37.5C … it’s past being life threatening now and his racing career looks pretty stable,” he said. Trainer Emma Stewart said she knew something wasn’t right with Poster Boy during the week. “He didn’t pull-up right after his fast work this week, so we had a couple of vet checks and he ended-up getting really sick. He’s out at Ballarat Veterinary Clinic and has pneumonia,” she said,. “Fingers crossed he recovers well.” Poster Boy was prepost favourite for his Vicbred 4YO entires and geldings final, but fans knew something was amiss when he was scratched from his qualifying heat at Ballarat last Friday night. The regally-bred entire is one of Australia’s most exciting pacers with 19 wins from just 27 starts and almost $800,000 in earnings. ____________________________________________________________________________ EMMA Stewart’s training dominance of the rich Vicbred series has been long established. But she’s raised the bar again this year Stewart won all seven Vicbred qualifying heats for juvenile pacers at Bendigo last Tuesday night. The star performers were colts or geldings Miragon, Pandering and Beale Street, while the standout fillies were Treasure and Maajida. Then, at Kilmore last Thursday, Stewart won five of eight of the three-year-old pacing heats. The highlight of a stellar night was when Stewart’s emerging Demon Delight sat parked and beat glamour stablemates Centenario (who led) and Hurricane Harley (who had the one-one trail) in a stunning display. Demon Delight ripped home in 54.3 and 27.4sec to win by 1.6m over Hurricane Harley with another 3.3m away in third spot to Centenario, who Stewart said needed the run. By far the most impressive filly was Stewart’s Kualoa, who toyed with her rivals by 20.6m in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2180m. The theme continued at Ballarat last Friday night where Stewart won four of seven heats run for four-year-old pacers, including pint-sized mare Pistol Abbey. Mick Stanley’s Soho Burning Love brilliantly won her heat and looks hardest for Pistol Abbey to beat in the final. Another of Stanley’s stars, Rackemup Tigerpie, was narrowly beaten in his heat, but the run was monstrous after sitting parked in blazing times when main danger Higherthananeagle overraced badly in front and dropped out to run last. A superb Kerryn Manning drive gave Three Summas the right trip to snatch a half-head win over Rackemup Tigerpie in a slick 1min55.8sec mile rate for the 2200m. _____________________________________________________________________________ EMMA Stewart’s dominance extended beyond her amazing Vicbred series deeds last week. Stewart stole the show at Victoria’s headquarters, Melton, last night (Saturday) with three wins, including the mare’s feature, the Group 3 Richmond Lass with the outstanding Tell Me Tales in a blistering 1min51.9sec mile rate for 1720m. She also won the fast-class race with recent stable addition Code Black, while another of her team, the lightly-raced Phoenix Prince, was one of the best wins of the night in a 1min52.1sec mile rate for 1720m. Throw into the mix Stewart’s three year-old Hardhitter winning a Breeders Challenge semi at Menangle and it’s surely the best week the stable has had for quantity of wins that matter. _____________________________________________________________________________ VETERAN WA horseman Colin Brown has been best known for his driving success, but he had a night to treasure as trainer at Gloucester Park last Friday. Brown’s two young stable stars – Patrickthepiranha and Typhoon Tiff – won their respective $100,000 Group 1 Westbred finals. Patrickthepiranha was first-out and he used gate three to lead for driver Dylan Egerton-Green and toy with his rivals for a nine-metre win in a 1min55.4sec mile rate for 2130m. Bettors Delight filly Typhoon Tiff also drew well and led, but Brown took the reins himself for a soft 5.1m win in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2130m.   Adam Hamilton

The script has been thrown out and a new Vicbred Super Series chapter will be written in the four-year-old entires and geldings chase for the $130,000 title. The unfortunate scratching of Poster Boy due to pneumonia removed the two-time Vicbred champion from tonight’s heats, but those watching TrotsVision were buoyed to learn from owner-breeder Bill Anderson that the brilliant Lauriston Bloodstock colt was on the mend. It also meant that opportunity knocks for his rivals as was noted by Chris Alford, who has steered Poster Boy to many a memorable Group 1 victory. “It’s unfortunate that Poster Boy got sick and can’t try and win the two, three and four-year-old finals, but it brings a lot of other horses into it now,” Alford said. “Now he’s out Major Times and Tam Major, they’ve all got really good chances.” The aforementioned Emma Stewart trained pair joined Russell Jack’s Three Summas and Craig Demmler’s Be Major Threat as heat winners on Rock N Roll Heaven four-year-old night at Ballarat’s Bray Raceway. It was Major Times who struck first for owner Leslie Morris, with the Art Major entire in a class of his own in heat one, finding the front from gate two and kicking clear in a 54.8 last half to win by 14.6 metres. “He’s a lovely big strong horse, he got a really easy lead and one (Yankee Roller) come to put a bit of pressure on with a lap to go and he just got on the job and ran to the line really well,” Alford told TrotsVision. “It was always going to be hard for the opposition when he did draw well and he’s just carried on his good form and hopefully he keeps it up going into the semis and the final.” It was a sixth straight victory for Major Times, who was bred by Peter, Bruce and Craig Cameron out of mare The Good Times. And it was a similar story in the following heat when an Emma Stewart trained, Chris Alford driven Art Major entire found the front and held off all challengers, with this time it being Tam Major getting the job done for owner-breeders Bruce and Vicki Edward. “He likes to have some horses to race him and he gets a little bit lazy out in front but tonight he was really sharp and seeing him dash up that 26.5 quarter was really good,” Alford said. “The lead time was really slow and then I just had to ask him to ramp it up from about the 1200 to 1000, if you go too slow you leave the sprint in some of the others, but tonight he sprinted really well.” Idealsomemagic also deserved plenty of praise having boxed on brilliantly and gained ground in the lightning last quarter, finishing only 2.2 metres off the winner with third placed Alpha Charlie a further 11 metres back. The absence of a dominant Stewart runner put a little more spice into the third heat and Jess Tubbs and Greg Sugars favourite, Joe Nien, was forced to do more work than they would have liked early amid a willing battle for the front. The quickest lead time of the night’s Vicbred heats would take a toll on Joe Nien who faded to sixth in the final straight while Be Major Threat, who trainer-driver Craig Demmler advanced to the breeze at the bell, boxed on to win by 1.3 metres from Brackenreid. “He’s going really good,” Demmler said of the winner, an Art Major gelding owned by John Fitzgerald. “They did a bit of work early so I decided to pop around and dictate outside the leader. He tried really hard tonight. He did a good job. “You are rapt when you get a sires race or a heat, it’s worthwhile getting up in the morning. There’s no easy heat because we are racing the best of the best in Victoria, it’s great to watch and to see these good horses going around.” And, despite the absence of Poster Boy, that was certainly the case in the final heat where leader Higherthananeagle pulled hard and set a cracking pace inside Rackemup Tigerpie. With all quarters under 30 seconds there was no breather and Higherthananeagle paid a price in the closing stages while Rackemup Tigerpie boxed on well only to clipped by Kerryn Manning and Three Summas on the line. Trained by Russell Jack for owner-breeders Todd and Wendy Rivett, Manning said it all went to plan for Three Summas in the Somebeachsomewhere entire’s half-head win. “The plan was just to slot into the running line early and hope Rackemup Tigerpie would come around, so it actually worked out how we had hoped. “When he got in the one-one he actually struggled to catch up to the back of Rackemup Tigerpie, but then I saw the first quarter (29 seconds) and I knew why. Once he tacked back on at the bell he travelled really good. With a bit of cover tonight he showed that he can sprint really well. “He’s had a bit of time off between runs this time and I think that run will probably do him good. It’s a fast time but he didn’t have a terribly hard run doing it, so hopefully he’ll improve a little bit for the next one.” Preparations will now turn to the Alabar Vicbred Super Series semi-finals night at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday, June 29, with the first six in each of tonight’s heats keeping their title dreams alive.   Michael Howard for Trots Media

Tamworth's Sarah Rushbrook ticked all the boxes with the win of Gotta Rush at last week's Tamworth harness meeting when listed as owner, breeder, trainer and driver. Gotta Rush won the Psarakis Accounting Pace after overcoming some inference on the first turn of the 1980 metre event before Rushbrook elected to travel three wide around the field to take the lead. "I got checked on the first turn and ended up three wide. I decided to push forward and the lead was there so I took it," said Rushbrook after the win. "I drove her like she was a good horse" added Rushbrook who is more than proud of the efforts of the four-year-old mare, especially after a short period of health issues with Gotta Rush." Gotta Rush gained her first win back in April 2018 at Narrabri followed by three minor placings before spending 10 months in the paddock with an unknown alignment. "We took her away from the track as we could not pin point the illness- even sent her to Randwick Equine with no result - but she is back on track now - and I'm glad," added Rushbrook. Gotta Rush resumed her racing back in April this year and with four runs back produced the impressive win. "She switched off turning for home - she only does what she needs to until something comes at her - then she is like a cattle dog and fights," relayed Rushbrook. Newcastle on Saturday night will be the next start for Gotta Rush who will commence from the three barrier in the Firestorm Fire Protection Brisbane Stakes. "I have to give her an opportunity," added Rushbrook with Gotta Rush having only 26 career starts for two wins and four placings. Young guns Jack Callaghan and Jake Hughes have been selected to represent the Hunter/North West Regions at this week's 2019 New South Wales Rising Star competition. The event pits some of the best and brightest young drivers from around the state against each other and sees them battle it out for the top prize. Callaghan at just 17, has had 35 career wins and states his father Mark Callaghan along with John and Todd McCarthy as his biggest career influences and is looking to make harness racing his career and to drive Group 1 winners. Hughes (Hunter/North) also aged 17 has had 27 career winning drives including his last winning drive being last Monday at the Maitland meeting behind Royal Lefty from the John Radley stables. The first round of heats will take place at Tacborp Park, Menangle on Tuesday. Tamworth will host its next harness racing meeting on June 27. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Alabar is pleased to announce the service fees for our 2019/20 roster – a line-up which boasts a strong mix of proven harness racing sires and exciting young stallions. Heading the list is Art Major at a fee that remains unchanged. Art Major has once again enjoyed another stellar twelve months and continues to sire winners at the very highest level. Art Major looks assured of serving another full book of mares in 2019/20 so breeders are asked to book early to avoid missing out. Ultimate Machete is our new addition this season. We are thrilled to be standing him as he is a record-breaking, multiple Horse-of-the-Year son of Bettors Delight with a pedigree laden with stakes winners. Always B Miki is a stallion who undoubtedly has all the credentials to be a successful sire and he represents great value to Southern Hemisphere breeders. The fastest standardbred of all time has served three consecutive full books in the US at US$12,500. His first crop yearlings will certainly light up the sale rings in America later this year. Always B Miki has also enjoyed tremendous support in both Australia and NZ serving 77 stakes winners or dams of stakes winners to date incl the dams of such current stars as Princess Tiffany, Ride High, Pelosi, Bettor Joy, Mirragon, etc. Vincent is another extremely exciting young stallion who we have a lot of faith in. A winner of 16 of his 19 starts, Vincent is the horse that Mark Purdon believed was going to take the place of Lazarus and be the next industry superstar. You can access Vincent at an extremely competitive fee and capitalise on the wonderful support he received in his first season. Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe and Sportswriter are proven Group One stallions, and all three continue to enhance their record with a constant supply of new high quality winners. We are extremely proud of our two trotting stallions and how their progeny are performing. Majestic Son continues to set the standard in the trotting ranks. He will once again be the champion stallion in both New Zealand and Australia thanks to stars such as Sundees Son, Alpha Male, Royal Charlotte, Majestic Man, Enhance Your Calm etc. Peak has made a strong start to his career. From a small crop, he already has four two year old winners across Australia and New Zealand – that number is second only to the great Muscle Hill. Our roster is rounded out with the young Group One stallions A Rocknroll Dance, Betterthancheddar, Auckland Reactor, He’s Watching, Sunshine Beach and Sir Lincoln. Our full roster is available below: Stallion Standing Aus Fee (incl GST) NZ Fee (plus GST) A Rocknroll Dance* NZ $5,000 $5,000 Always B Miki* Aus $7,000 $7,000 Art Major Aus $14,000 $14,000 Auckland Reactor Aus $2,500 $2,500 Betterthancheddar Aus $4,400 $4,000 He’s Watching NZ $5,000 $5,000 Majestic Son NZ $5,000 $5,000 Peak NZ $2,500 $2,500 Rock N Roll Heaven Aus $8,000 $7,000 Roll With Joe Aus $6,600 N/A Sir Lincoln (Lincoln Royal) NZ $2,000 $2,000 Sportswriter Aus $4,400 $4,000 Sunshine Beach USA Aus $4,000 $4,000 Ultimate Machete* NZ $3,300 $3,000 Vincent* Aus $4,950 $4,500 *Standing in conjunction with Nevele R Stud. Important Notes: - After previously being based in New Zealand, Auckland Reactor and Sportswriter will be standing at our Australian farm this season. - Shadow Play will not be returning this season and Grinfromeartoear has been retired due to age-related health issues.

Quite often the headliners of the Vicbred Super Series the three-year-olds didn’t fail to live up to that top billing in tonight’s eight-heat hit-out at Kilmore. While Kualoa reminded all of her standing with a blistering run among the fillies, the night will be best remembered for the showdown between Emma Stewart’s trio Demon Delight, Hurricane Harley and Centenario, who served up an enthralling match-race that will leave trots fans eagerly anticipating return bouts as the series progresses. It was another remarkable night for Stewart’s stable, capturing five heats to add to Tuesday night’s clean sweep of seven two-year-old wins, but there was also delight in the Jess Tubbs, Matt Craven and Leroy and Danny O’Brien camps as their chargers also tasted success.   Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings first heat: He may not yet have earned the chops of some of his stablemates but Fourbigmen should be considered a potential Vicbred Super Series winner, says reinsman Chris Alford. Speaking to TrotsVision immediately after the Emma Stewart runner won the night’s first heat by proving himself the best horse in the race in a testing run, Alford said Fourbigmen could make plenty of noise over the next couple of weeks. “He’s probably, on ability, right up with them, he just hasn’t had the luck in the better races and he had a few little quirks, where he could make a mistake now and then,” Alford said. “But he’s putting it all together now and if he had a good run in the final and things went his way he’d be hard to beat.” Owned by a syndicate featuring the Stokie Racing Group, Sue Murray, Fred Crews, Willow and Peter Tonkin, Fourbigmen was bred by Wayne Schulz and Dale Eastman who serviced their mare, Aleppo Heiress, with late Alabar stallion Mach Three. Gifted the widest back row draw, Fourbigmen advanced to the breeze outside Nancys Boy and while Jeff and Tim McLean’s entrant put up plenty of fight the favourite ultimately nudged clear for a 2.3-metre win. “The leader ran a good race at Horsham last time, he’s given him something to chase,” Alford said. “(Fourbigmen) just knocked off a little bit when he went to the front, so I just pulled the plugs out to keep his mind on the job without having to smack him. He ran to the line really well.” Hes An Artist ran third and Titan Bromac fourth to also advance to the June 29 semi-finals at Tabcorp Park Melton, with Major Delico fifth and his qualification to depend on time. And for the Emma Stewart stable, taking into account Tuesday night’s clean sweep, that’s eight on the trot in this year’s Vicbred Super Series. “They seem to have them spot on on these nights and this one was no different,” Alford said.   Vincent Vicbred Super Series three-year-old fillies’ first heat: She was challenged in every possible way but patience from reinswoman Kate Gath would see Two Times Bettor eventually grab control and salute in the first of the three-year-old fillies’ heats. Plenty of money had come for David Miles’ polemarker Enchanted Stride in the lead-up but she was tested from the outset with Chooz Reactor (Brian Gath) and Divine Diva (Gavin Lang) out quickly and not only stretching the gate one horse but making Gath bide her time in moving forward on Two Times Bettor from gate five. “The best way to get beat is if you burn too hard too early and get nowhere, so I grabbed hold pretty quick and I was just out there but cruising,” Gath told TrotsVision post-race. “I wasn’t pushing her, then once I moved to the death I thought I’ll have a look for the front and thought she’d probably get it and she did.” As the dust settled Gath rolled to the top with Miles happy to defer and give his filly a final crack in the straight, but Two Times Bettor would prove too strong, winning by 1.7 metres. “She’s really done a terrific job,” Gath said. “The lead time was quite quick and luckily in the middle I could give her a little breather, but she was really good on the line. “She’s such a nice filly to drive and she relaxes really good, she’s got all the attributes there and she’s just getting better at the right time. Her last start before tonight was terrific and she was very good tonight as well.” It would have been a pleasing result for owners and breeders Leslie, Ian and Gary Johnson, whose Bettor’s Delight filly was out of Twice As Hot, who was also the dam of dual Inter Dominion placegetter Flaming Flutter ($789,015). With the top eight advancing to the fillies’ semi-finals Two Times Bettor and second-placed Enchanted Stride will be joined by Bettor Robyn, Celerina, Millah Joy, Chezmac, Divine Diva and Edwina Express.   Vincent Vicbred Super Series three-year-old fillies’ second heat: This heat win had to mean plenty for co-owner, co-breeder and trainer Jess Tubbs with the filly that carries her farm’s name, Larajay Macray, saluting in fine style for husband and reinsman Greg Sugars. Tubbs shared breeding rights and ownership with long-time family friend Ian Kitchin, who Sugars lauded when speaking to TrotsVision post-race. “Kitch has just been a fantastic supporter of mainly the Tubbs family over many years,” Sugars said. “He’s done the hard yards, been through all the ups and downs, reached pretty high levels but quite a few lows along the way as well. Being a breeder, it probably is the toughest thing you can do in harness racing. “He’s been around a long time and deserves every winner he’s got. This one was bred in partnership with my wife Jess and was the first one they bred in partnership, and she’s turned out to be all right. We are very happy to have her in the stable.” That feeling will only be heightened after Larajay Macray impressed in her Vicbred Super Series heat, finding the front before handing it over to favourite Vena May and then showing plenty of fight in the final quarter. “She gets out of the gate pretty good this one and she has led and won a couple of races and she’s taken a sit and won as well,” Sugars. “She’s starting to strengthen up as she gets a little older too and I took the other one’s back, who was kicking the wheels when it came around and looked pretty keen, so I played the safe option to follow it and thankfully we were able to just grab it up the straight, but it did a very good job and didn’t lay down.” A Sportswriter filly out of Wya Wya Macray, the half-sister to Tee Cee Bee Macray advances to the June 29 semi-finals with Vena May (second), Mona Mia (third), Izzy Jolie, Mornings, Galactic Gal, Speed Dating and Tarzali.   Vincent Vicbred Super Series three-year-old fillies’ third heat: Chris Alford’s best laid plans to sit quiet on Kualoa were rewritten by the two-year-old champ who was keen to kick-start her Vincent Vicbred Super Series campaign. Starting from the widest gate, Alford put on the brakes and eased into the running line before putting Kualoa in the race – at her own demand – with over a lap to go. “There was good speed early and I was quite happy just to try and sit back and come with one run, but she just got touching the wheel a little bit and got a bit keen,” he said. “I didn’t want to fight her and just let her stride up and once she rolled to the front she was always in control.” Having emerged three-wide at the top of the straight for the second last time she had found the lead by the bell and was in a class of her own from there, stretching out with 29.4 and 29.6 third and fourth quarters to register a 20-metre win. It was a second Vicbred heat success this season for owner-breeders Bruce and Val Edward, with Kualoa’s (by Art Major) little half-sister Jemstone (by Bettor’s Delight) winning her Vicbred two-year-old heat only two nights prior at Bendigo. And it was also a continuation of the winning ways for trainer Emma Stewart. “As horses you couldn’t ask for better horses to drive, that’s for sure,” Alford said. “(Kualoa) has met some good three-year-olds this year, but she looks the benchmark and hopefully she can have a bit of luck when it comes to the final.” With the top eight advancing to the semi-finals, Kualoa will be joined by stablemate Looking Fabulous (second), Soundslikeart (third), Causing Strife, Fiscal Fantasy, Tryna Portray, Single Tree Road and Headline Act in moving on.   Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ second heat: Brevity looked like his race was shot to bits in the very early stages but the brave Bettor’s Delight three-year-old just kept giving for reinsman Chris Alford. Having run the quickest lead time of the boys’ heats by 1.5 seconds and followed with the quickest first quarter of the night (28.5 seconds), Brevity looked ripe for the picking for favourite Malcolms Rhythm with the latter’s reinswoman Kima Frenning watching it all unfold from one-out one-back behind Catch A Moment. “His hocks were coming back and hitting the footrest and he was hitting the wheel a bit with his foot and got pretty keen,” Alford said. “He did a really good job just to finish he had gone that hard.” The challengers loomed at the bend but the leader refused to wilt, winning by a neck from Malcolms Rhythm with stablemate Out To Play 1.5m back in third. “He was pretty aggressive that first lap so he did a great job to hang on,” Alford said. “He just puts his head down. He’s never really raced the best ones before but he’s going to measure up.” It was a delightful sight for owner-breeders Russell Maisner, Karen Dunwoodie, Apri and John Chase, with the latter on-course to watch the colt out of Abbreviated for the first time. Major Exclusive ran into fourth for Darby McGuigan and Ted Caruana to book his semi-final spot, with fifth-placed Catch A Moment’s advancement to be determined on time.   Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ third heat: It was billed as the night’s heavyweight bout and boy did it live up to expectations with Emma Stewart’s star-studded trio Hurricane Harley, Demon Delight and two-year-old Vicbred champion Centenario leaving it all on the Kilmore track. And, remarkably, it was the contender who arguably had it the toughest who emerged triumphant in Demon Delight, who reinswoman Kate Gath placed in the breeze for the last mile – sitting outside leader Centenario and directly in front of Hurricane Harley. “I thought he was tough, he’s always gave me that feel that he had super high speed, but he’s a little machine and I’m just really happy to get the chance to drive him,” Gath said. After first and second quarters that were a tick over 30 seconds, Alford broke open the field with a 26.9 third quarter aboard Centenario but couldn’t shake his stablemates. Demon Delight kept surging out wide and David Moran cut the corner on Hurricane Harley to challenge along the pegs, with the 27.4 last quarter seeing Demon Delight finish 1.6m clear of Hurricane Harley with Centenario 4.9m back in third. “He’s just a consummate racehorse where he relaxes, drops the bit and then goes when you ask him, gets the job done and gets past one and then goes again if another one comes,” Gath said. “I’m not surprised with what he did tonight because he always felt like he was a pretty strong horse.” The delight would have been shared by owners Pam and Russell Hockham who snapped up the Bettor’s Delight colt out of Ghadas Koala for $30,000 at the 2017 Australian Pacing Gold sale. Bred by David Pefferini, Salen Fatrouni and Freddy Taiba, Demon Delight has since banked almost $75,000 in stakes win and is likely the new series favourite. Joining the top three in advancing to the series’ semi-finals was Keith Cotchin’s Betternbetter, while Cee Cee In America ran into fifth and his advancement will be determined by time.   Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ fourth heat: The Vicbred Super Series has long been the home of a fairytale story or two and this year’s Disney movie applicant may well be Leroy and Danny O’Brien and their entrant Im Sir Blake. Having produced one of the finds of the season in 2017 when Im Princess Gemma won the $50,000 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic, the pair have plucked another pearler from the Shepparton Mixed Sale in Im Sir Blake. While the latter’s $4000 price was four times that paid for Im Princess Gemma, it’s certainly looking similarly bargain basement after the Rob Watson-bred Alta Christiano gelding blew away his rivals in an eventful front-running performance. Advancing to the breeze from gate four outside leader and co-favourite Perfect Major, Im Sir Blake was a handful for reinswoman Kerryn Manning for much of the running, overracing and continually pressing until finding the front the last time down the back straight. By that stage he’d broken up the field and kept coming, clearing out with a 27.8 third quarter and winning by 12.6m to Perfect Major and 29.9m to Explicit Castle despite closing in his slowest quarter (30.3 seconds) of the race. “The further he goes the keener he gets,” Manning said. “Since he choked down in Adelaide he’s probably drawn the back (row) most of the time and he’s settled pretty good off the back, it’s only when he gets out in the open that he tends to say ‘let’s go’. And when he gets on the chewy he really can get on it quite hard. “I didn’t ask him out of the gate, I really wanted to let him settle the best that I could. He sat up there until probably turning into the back straight for the first time, just started to get a bit keen and the further the race went the keener he got. He had the speed to get across down the back and he knocked off a little bit once he found the front.” There’s room for improvement, but it was a big win on a big stage and much to be satisfied about for co-trainer and co-owner Leroy O’Brien. “He just loves his racing, he’s a little racehorse and at home he’s a kids’ pony, walks around with the grandkids. He’s amazing, he really is.” Joining the first three in the semi-finals was fourth-placed Messerati, with fifth-placed Foolish Pleasure’s advancement time dependent.   Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series three-year-old colts and geldings’ fifth heat: Crime Writer looked ripe for the picking at the final turn as Emma Stewart’s Always Fast loomed large in reinswoman Kima Frenning’s hands, but the Sportswriter gelding put his head down and punched on to record a satisfying victory for trainer-driver Matt Craven. “It wasn’t anything sensational but he was headed on the corner into the straight, he fought back and on the line he was going as good as he was at the top of the lane, so that was very pleasing,” Craven told TrotsVision post-race. A fourth victory in his 20 starts, which also brought up Craven’s 50th driving win of the season, came by a neck over Always Fast for owner-breeders Tony and Pamela Coniglia, who bred their mare Our Crime Of Passion to Sportswriter to produce the winner. “Hopefully he will continue to improve off the back of that run,” Craven said. “We left a little bit in the locker, so hopefully as things progress, and we’ve still got to progress through next week to the final which is never easy, but the first step’s there and we’ll see how we go.” A good performance in the June 29 semi-final and potentially July 6 final to follow could convince the stable to take the three-year-old north for the Queensland Derby. “You ask a lot of them as a three-year-old, especially if you think they go OK and you chase the big money. We’ve got in the back of our mind that, if he comes through this series well, we could head to Queensland. The good part about this fella is not much worries him wherever he’s been and even at home, he’s pretty much a cruiser and he settles in pretty well.” In addition to Always Fast, third-placed Rossini – who was beaten only 2.5m having boxed on well from leader’s back – and fourth-placed Firestorm Red will also advance to the semi-finals, while fifth-placed Belittled’s progression is time dependent.   Michael Howard  for Trots Media

Ballarat harness racing trainer Emma Stewart is the on the way to capturing 16 Vicbred Super Series pacing heats for a second year in a row. She took her tally to 12 on the second of three nights at Kilmore on Thursday. Her team took out five three-year-old heats to go with seven two-year-old races at Bendigo on Tuesday. Stewart last season reversed the sequence with five at Bendigo and seven at Kilmore. She then went on to win four heats for 4yos in Ballarat. Her stable has 10 runners in six 4yo heats at Bray Raceway on Friday night. Unfortunately her superstar Poster Boy will be missing after being scratched. Demon Delight ($6.70) provided the highlight of the night at Kilmore for Stewart when he led home stablemates Hurricane Harley ($4.70) and Centenario ($1.50 favourite) in a heat for colts and geldings. Demon Delight raced outside leader Centenario, but still drew away. Stewart's other 3yo heat winners: - Fourbigmen (driven by Chris Alford) colt - Two Times Better (Kate Gath) filly - Kualoa (Chris Alford) filly - Brevity (Chris Alford) colt After winning all seven 2yo heats at Bendigo, Stewart kept the sequence running by taking out the first two at Kilmore. Myrniong trainer Jess Tubbs broke the run with filly Larajay Macray - in a race in which Stewart was not represented. Other Ballarat district-trained starters through to semi-finals: Colts and geldings: Hes An Artist (Tim McGuigan, Gordon), Out To Play (Emma Stewart), Hurricane Harley (Emma Stewart), Centenario (Emma Stewart), Perfect Major (Emma Stewart), Foolish Pleasure (Ashleigh Herbertson, Lexton), Always Fast (Emma Stewart) Fillies: Millah Joy (Jess Tubbs, Myrniong), Mornings (Damien Burns, Bunkers Hill), Looking Fabulous (Emma Stewart), Soundslikeart (Anton Golino), Causing Strife (Wayne Ronan, Glen Park), Fiscal Fantasy (Colin Holloway, Redan), Single Tree Road (Michael Stanley) By David Brehaut Reprinted with permission of The Courier

After 20 years of service, Penrith Paceway CEO Lorraine Pozza has announced her resignation. Spanning 40 years of experience in the harness racing industry, Ms Pozza has gone on to be a fundamental part of the Paceway’s operations. But now, with big changes and a facility relocation on the horizon, she said it’s time for a fresh start for the club. “We see big changes ahead with the ever growing population and the New West with an airport not far away,” Ms Pozza told the Weekender. “This, being exciting times for Penrith, has also motivated us to change and change we will. It has been three years getting to this point, I must say it has had its ups and downs but now they are on their way to a renewed era.” Reflecting on the many years she has spent at the Paceway, Ms Pozza paid credit to the mentoring she received from long-standing President Max Laughton, who passed away last year. “Harness racing is a sport I dearly loved when I started some 40 years ago when I worked at Harold Park which was then the head office of harness racing,” she said. “I moved on to the Harness Racing Authority when it became the head office and the rest is history. “When I first started 20 years ago as the CEO of the Paceway, Max had the foresight to build a registered club to rejuvenate harness racing in Penrith and that it did.” The Paceway is now in the throes of development, with the club to be relocated within the next three to five years. Town Planning has commenced with investigations underway to find a new site. Tash Greentree is taking over as CEO of the Paceway. Photo: Melinda Jane “The new Paceway will be a destination point for people to visit and the harness racing industry to be proud of,” Ms Pozza said. “The future now looks bright for the Paceway, it is time for me to step out and hand it over to someone younger to take them forward into a new era.” Tash Greentree, who has worked at the Penrith Paceway for 19 years as Accounts Controller, has been appointed as the new CEO. Ms Pozza thanked the board, staff and sponsors for their ongoing support over the years. Reprinted with permission of The Western Weekender

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