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LAST week was another successful period for Australian Pacing Gold with seven Group One stars. Beginning with Menangle on the Sunday, APG welcomed three new Group One winners to its ever growing list. Goodtime Heaven, Miss Halfpenny and Hardhitter were a class above their opponents in New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge Finals. The time frame then ended with another four APG eligible Group One winners at Melton during the weekend. Triumphant in the $350,000 APG Final last May, boom colt Centenario added the Vicbred Super Series to his impressive tally. Driven by Chris Alford for trainer Emma Stewart, Centenario led home an APG quinella as his stablemate, Nostra Ideal, finished second. APG purchases then dominated the Final for four-year-old entires and geldings by filling the trifecta. In his first Group One win, Wrappers Delight proved too strong for Jilliby Kung Fu and Sirletic. Rounding out the quintet were another pair of Stewart-trained APG eligible youngsters, Poster Boy and Kualoa.   APG Media

Australian Pacing Gold purchase Atomic Red is predicted to have little trouble returning to the harness racing winners’ circle in Dubbo tomorrow night. Runner-up in the Carousel Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle a fortnight ago, Atomic Red won his previous start by 32 metres in 1:53.6. This time around the Steve Turnbull-trained entire is set to contest the Dubbo City Cup, where he has drawn to lead throughout from barrier three. As such the son of Rocknroll Hanover has been installed a $1.45 favourite. “It’s not a bad draw for him,” Turnbull said. “I reckon Amanda (Turnbull, driver) will let him run along at an even clip. “I wouldn’t say he is very speedy, but he is tough. His last three quarters when beaten were 27.8, 27.1 and 27.6 over 2300 metres. “When one his rivals are sitting right on him it can make him vulnerable.” Turnbull believes the biggest threat to that vulnerability is likely to come in the shape of veteran pacer Ultimate Art, which will begin from the outside of the second row. “Ultimate Art is the main danger,” Turnbull said. “He can sprint home pretty quickly and coming from back could give him that opportunity. “That said, Atomic Red is in great shape. He was doing bit of bucking around today, but think they may also have just been to keep warm!” APG Media

Soho Nolita’s dominant win in last Saturday’s $350,000 Ladbrokes APG 2yo Fillies Final in 1:53 set a new race record and established Soho Nolita as the hottest property in Australasian harness racing. A half-sister to millionaire superstar, Soho Tribeca, and this season’s Group One Ladyship Mile winner, Carlas Pixel, Soho Nolita has now stamped herself as both Australia’s leading two-year old filly and also as Australia’s most valuable future breeding prospect. Amazingly, Soho Nolita’s outstanding win in the $350,000 Ladbrokes APG Fillies Final may well not have happened under the previous series rules, which revolved around a heats & semi-finals format.  A rare off-night in the first-round heats saw Soho Nolita finish in fourth place, which would not have been enough to automatically qualify her for the semi-finals under the old format. However, this year’s format saw only the seven heat winners automatically advance to the final, with non-winners offered the opportunity to compete in repechages (one each in Victoria, NSW and Queensland) with the best placed repechage runners joining the heat winners in the final. Fortunately, Soho Nolita made up for her sub-par performance in her heat, blitzing the field in her repechage, before stamping her class in the final, working three wide during a sizzling first half in 55.6 seconds, but still having the strength to hold off challenges from Miss Halfpenny and Delightful Jazz, to score by 4.7 metres in a race record 1:53. APG would like to extend its congratulations to long time APG owner, vendor and buyer Rob Watson, and to trainer, Mick Stanley, who also trained the fourth placed filly, Single Tree Road. APGTV was on hand to capture the excitement of the night.  A highlights package of the final, and a wrap of the night is already available on the APG website by clicking here, with other clips profiling many of the other runners to be added over the next 24 hours.   David Boydell

A brief break before embarking on another harness racing Group One campaign is the plan with Soho Nolita. A brilliant winner of last night’s Australian Pacing Gold Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle, Soho Nolita will enjoy a short freshen-up before being aimed at the Vicbred Super Series. Heats of the futurity are scheduled to be conducted on June 19, with the semi-finals 10 days later, leading into the $125,000 decider on July 7. “She’ll have a little break now then it’s on to the Vicbred,” Stanley said. “Hopefully she can do as well in that as she has in the APG. “After that she will have another short break before we have a look at the Breeders’ Crown in August.” Driven by Stanley in the $328,000 APG Final, Soho Nolita was caught three-wide from barrier nine as Miss Halfpenny led from gate five. With Stanley pushing forward as the pacemaker covered the first half in 55.6 seconds, Soho Nolita dashed to the lead before cruising to a five-metre win from Miss Halfpenny, with Delightful Jazz a head away third. “That was a super run from her,” Stanley said. “She did plenty of work to find the front and won with a bit up her sleeve in 1:53 over the mile. “She missed a bit of work because of a foot abscess before her heat, so having to run in the repechage turned out to be a blessing in disguise as she was spot on for the Final. “I’ve thought all along she could be something special and everything she has done continues to make me think that will be the case.” Owned by Rob Watson, the daughter of Mach Three boasts three wins from four starts for earnings of $161,700. APG Media

Such is the depth in tonight’s Australian Pacing Gold Final the rank outsider will head into the harness racing feature with a near-perfect record. Boasting two wins and a second from three starts, Thats Bettor earned a berth in the Tabcorp Park Menangle-based Group One by securing her heat. Rating 1:58.9 over 1660 metres around Albion Park in qualifier, the Shannon Price-trained filly is listed at $34. Thats Bettor’s defeat was behind her APG Final rival, Miss Moneybags, which is the second lowest runner in the market at $26. “I’m a bit surprised about that, but I suppose she is a Queenslander,” Price said. “She did run a quick last half in her heat even though didn’t win in 1:53 like the interstaters.” Drawn barrier four in the $328,000 decider, Thats Bettor moves into three once the emergency is taken out, with Price stating the daughter of Bettors Delight is in peak condition for the pending assignment. “She’s feeling great…I couldn’t be happier with her,” Price said. “Her work has been terrific and she had a nice trial before we left. “Since she got to Sydney she has settled in, eaten up and is ready to go. “The draw is handy so hopefully she can get a good trail from there.” Citing Soho Interceptor and Soho Nolita as the pair to beat, Price considers Kualoa as the one most likely to upset the pair. Soho Interceptor and Soho Nolita have drawn alongside each other in gates 10 and 11, with Kualoa to begin from five. “Soho Interceptor and Soho Nolita are the top two, but they have drawn out wide,” Price said. “Kualoa has only had the one start, which was her heat, but Emma (Stewart, trainer) is bound to have her in perfect shape.”  APG Media

Just a week after breaking his metropolitan maiden, Victorian harness racing driver Ryan Duffy is looking to enjoy the thrill of Group One glory. Obtaining his metropolitan driver’s licence just three weeks ago, the 22-year-old registered his initial city win at his second drive at Tabcorp Park Melton last weekend. Trained by Keith Cotchin, Hes Okey Dokey caused an upset by scoring at $18.90 on the tote. “I only got my metro licence earlier this month and to win with my second drive is great,” Duffy said. “It’s a big thrill to win in town and I can’t thank Keith enough for giving me the drive.” Fast forward to Saturday night and Duffy – son of respected horseman, Steven – will partner Single Tree Road in the Australian Pacing Gold Final at Menangle. Successful in her heat, which doubled as her debut, Single Tree Road has drawn barrier seven, but slots into six with the removal of the emergency. The Michael Stanley-trained filly won her qualifier from gate six when driven by trainer Chris Alford. “It’s pretty exciting to be driving in a Group One,” Duffy said. “It would be a dream result if she won. “The draw makes it awkward for her against so many top fillies, but she has been working well and is in with a chance with the right run.” Stanley also has Soho Nolita in the $328,000 feature, with the daughter of Mach Three facing a daunting task after drawing 11. Soho Nolita, to be driven by Stanley, will begin from nine once the emergencies are taken out of the equation. A gallant fourth in her heat after racing in the ‘death seat’, Soho Nolita then backed up a week later to capture her repechage. “She goes along very well, but the draw has made life pretty difficult for her,” Stanley said. “Her run in the heat when she was a little wayward was full of merit, then she did it pretty easily in her repechage. “Her work since has been spot on, as has Single Tree Road, but she’s going to need some luck from a wide draw over mile.” Soho Nolita is owned by Robert Watson, who also races Soho Interceptor, which has drawn 10 for local trainer Craig Cross. Winner of last month’s $100,000 Sales Classic at Gloucester Park when prepared by Glenn Elliott, Soho Interceptor was transferred to Cross for the APG series. The daughter of Art Major gained her berth in the rich decider by claiming her heat in 1:55.9. Australian Pacing Gold

It is easy to understand why premier harness racing trainer Emma Stewart has a high opinion of Centenario. Not only is the two-year-old unbeaten from three starts, he has won in impressive fashion, including at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. After racing in the ‘death seat’, Centenario staved off a late challenge to capture the Shakamaker Classic, much to Stewart’s delight. “He’s a very nice colt,” Stewart said. “We’ve been more than happy with everything he has done so far.” With Chris Alford in the cart, Centenario was caught outside his stablemate, Fourbigmen, which led from barrier three. Forging his way to the front at the top of the home straight, the son of American Ideal dug deep to score by a head from Major Exclusive, with Fourbigmen 11 metres away third. Owned by a large syndicate, Centenario rated 1:56.3 over 1720 metres. “He sat in the breeze at his last start too when he won well and he showed he can’t keep finding tonight,” Stewart said. “He’s also won leading and can come off the speed…there is plenty of upside to him.” An Australian Pacing Gold purchase – as are the placegetters – Centenario will be aimed at the rich APG race series. The series starts with heats at Pinjarra on Monday, followed by Albion Park and Menangle on April 10 and Melton on April 13. Should all go according to plan, Centenario will then contest the $350,000 Final at Melton on May 5. APG Media

Australian Pacing Gold graduate Waikiki Beach made a winning debut in America earlier today. Proving too slick for his opposition, the former outstanding harness racing youngster stopped the clock in 1:51.8 after sitting first over at Pompano Park. Prepared by New Zealand-based couple Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen during his ‘Down Under’ career, Waikiki Beach was sold to American interests last November. Before heading across the equator, the son of Somebeachsomewhere won 23 of his 38 starts, with seven placings and $970,676 also to his credit. During a rampaging two and three-year-old campaign, Waikiki Beach registered 20 wins and a second from 21 starts, with his victories including the APG Final, New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge, New South Wales Derby and two Breeders’ Crowns – all Group Ones. Waikiki Beach also finished second in last season’s Chariots Of Fire and fourth in the Miracle Mile at his Grand Circuit debut. Waikiki Beach is from former handy mare, Cyclone Betty, which has two winners from two starters. Cyclone Betty's second foal – also a son – has won four of his six starts, with a second also in the mix. Her third foal – a colt by Rock N Roll Heaven – will enter the ring as Lot 89 during Sunday’s Melbourne Ladbrokes APG Sale. APG Media

Australian Pacing Gold eligible youngster Colt Thirty One has registered his second harness racing Group One victory. Triumphant in last season’s Qbred Final at Albion Park, Colt Thirty One upstaged a super field in tonight’s $200,000 Victoria Derby at Melton. Trained and driven by Grant Dixon, the son of Mach Three overcame a second row draw to beat fellow APG eligible three-year-old Poster Boy by a metre. “I couldn’t be happier with him,” Dixon said. “He had no luck when third here in the Breeders’ Crown last season, so to come back and win the Derby is fantastic. “We’ve always had a big opinion of him and his record speaks for itself.” Thrilled with the colt’s performance, Dixon has extended his interstate campaign to include next month’s New South Wales Derby at Menangle. “I will give him a light week now as we go to Sydney for the Derby,” Dixon said. Stretching his record to 10 wins and three placings from 15 starts, Colt Thirty One rated 1:54.2 over 2240 metres, slashing nine-tenths of a second off Lazarus’ race record set in 2016. 7 9:32pm VHRSC VICTORIA DERBY FINAL (GROUP 1) 2240M $200,000 3YO. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 COLT THIRTY ONE      Sr3 11 Grant Dixon Grant Dixon   $ 19.60   PRU 6 INC SWAB   BAY COLT 3 by MACH THREE CA out of CHARM PERSONIFIED (PERFECT ART USA)  Owner(s): Solid Earth Pty Ltd  Breeder(s): Solid Earth Pty Ltd 2 POSTER BOY      Fr7 7 Emma Stewart Chris Alford 1.20 $ 4.40   PRS RAS W2 3WLT SWAB 3 THE DEVILS OWN NZ      Sr5 13 Mark Purdon Natalie Rasmussen 4.70 $ 35.40   PRU W1 3WL 4 SPANKEM NZ      Fr4 4 Mark Purdon Mark Purdon 6.70 $ 5.90   PRS GS L SLM 3 HUE USL D/F 5 MARAETAI      Fr3 3 Emma Stewart Nathan Jack 9.90 $ 8.80   PRS GS L SLE 5 HUE 6 LUMINEER      Fr6 6 Ange McDowall Jason Lee 11.40 $ 2.00 fav  PRS 3WET L 1 QUER 7 MAJOR TIMES      Sr1 8 Emma Stewart Gavin Lang 11.70 $ 30.80   PRU HO INC 8 HUE 8 THE BROOKLYN BRAWLER NZ      Sr2 10 Phillip Walters Phillip Walters 21.50 $ 154.00   PRS 3WM 2 9 TAM MAJOR      Fr2 2 Emma Stewart Rodney Petroff 22.40 $ 315.00   GS 4 10 LITTLE PEANUT      Sr4 12 Jess Tubbs Greg Sugars 24.10 $ 102.00   PRU 10 3WLT 11 CORZIN CHANGE NZ      Fr5 5 Emma Stewart Mark Pitt 91.90 $ 365.00   3WE 7 TIRE LCRT r CODE BAILEY NZ      Fr1 1 Margaret Lee Glen Craven   $ 19.00     Scratchings   YANKEE ROLLER 9 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 2:39:0 Mile Rate: 1:54:2 Lead Time: 43.1 First Quarter: 29.7 Second Quarter: 30.6 Third Quarter: 27.9 Fourth Quarter: 27.7 Margins: 1.2m x 3.6m   APG Media

Australian Pacing Gold has kicked off tonight’s (Saturday 27th of January) stellar Tabcorp Park Melton program on a high, winning the first Group One of the harness racing program. Leading throughout from the pole, Our Golden Goddess proved too slick for her rivals on her way to victory in the Ladyship Cup. Stretching her winning streak to five, the five-year-old rated 1:53.3 over 1720 metres for trainer-driver Kerryn Manning. Our Golden Goddess was purchased, and is owned, by Merv and Meg Butterworth, who selected the mare at the 2014 APG’s Melbourne Sale. To be given a few easy days, Our Golden Goddess will then be targeted at next month’s Ladyship Mile at Menangle. “I’m not sure what there is between now and then, but we’ll be heading to the Ladyship Mile,” Butterworth said. “I know she will have a few easy days, then start working towards the Mile.” The multiple feature race winner is by Art Major from Localize, with the dam presented in next week’s Ladbrokes APG Melbourne Sale by another daughter also by Art Major. APG Media  

Australian Pacing Gold graduate Yankee Roller may be given the opportunity to take on the best of his age next week. Having maintained his perfect record by capturing the $30,000 South Australian Derby at Globe Derby last night, the son of Rock N Roll Heaven is in line to contest heats of Victoria’s Blue Riband. Qualifies of the classic are scheduled to be held as part of the Ballarat Cup program next Saturday. Pleased with the three-year-old’s latest triumph, trainer Emma Stewart will decide Yankee Roller’s immediate future upon his return to her Victorian stable. “He’s a very nice type, which is still on the improve,” Stewart said. “He’s only had five starts, so is still learning what it’s all about. “I’ve got a reasonable opinion of him and expect him to improve with racing, but haven’t really decided whether he will be thrown into the deep end against the more seasoned three-year-olds. “The ability is certainly there, but I will make a decision after he gets home and see how he has handled the trip.” Driven by Gavin Lang during his latest win, Yankee Roller overcame his second row draw to account for The Brooklyn Brawler, which as gallant after facing the breeze, and No Alabi to complete a trifecta for the raiders. Covering the last half in 59 seconds, the gelding rated 2:00 over 2230 metres. With the win Yankee Roller remains unbeaten with five starts for five wins to date with $58,082 in the bank. Yankee Roller APG Media  

Australian Pacing Gold graduate Messini will have a new driver as he aims for another harness racing Group One victory on Saturday night. No stranger to top-shelf success, having won two Vicbred Super Series Finals, Messini is poised to contest the South Australia Cup for Victorian trainer Brent Lilley. With regular reinsmen Anthony Butt and Chris Alford committing to drives at Shepparton, Lilley has called up on leading local, Ryan Hryhorec, to partner the son of Art Major. “Being asked to drive such a nice horse in the Cup was a pleasant surprise that’s for sure,” Hryhorec said. “It’s the first time I’ve been down to drive a horse in a $100,000 race which is a descent chance of winning. “Like I said, to get the call up from Brent (Lilley, trainer) was a great surprise and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.” A Group Two winner last weekend when partnered by Alford, Messini will begin barrier 11, which should see the stallion finishing strongly during the latter stages according to Hryhorec. Messini began from the same barrier in last season’s Cup when an eye-catching fourth behind fellow Australian Pacing Gold purchase, Smolda, in track record time. “I’m hoping there will be a fair bit of action on during the run and then we can get the right trip into it,” Hryhorec said. “He is in good form and there is no doubt he’s a serious chance...it’ll just come down to what kind of luck he gets.” Messini is one of three APG ‘family members’ in the Cup, with Sams The Master drawn barrier three and Tee Ce Bee Macray to come from six. Sams The Master, which has won three of his last four starts, and Tee Ce Bee Macray are Jess Tubbs-trained stablemates. APG Media  

Australian Pacing Gold graduate Messini will be given another shot at Group One glory. Following Messini’s Group Two $60,000 Bendigo Pacing Cup success last night, harness racing trainer Brent Lilley revealed his plans of heading interstate with the son of Art Major. Lilley has earmarked the South Australian Cup as the seven-year-old’s next target, with the time honoured event headling a super card at Globe Derby on Saturday night. Messini is no stranger to top-shelf success, with the stallion triumphant in two Vicbred Super Series Finals.  “We’ll be going over to South Australia next for the Cup,” Lilley said. “It’s an ideal target for him. “He didn’t have much in the race last year, but still finished a strong fourth behind Smolda in track record time. “He’s in terrific form, and with a bit of luck this time, will be very hard to beat.” Driven by Chris Alford during his latest triumph, Messini enjoyed the run of the race in the coveted one-one before sprinting to a five-and-a-half metre win from Mister Wickham, with Bad Billy seven metres away third. “After getting a run like that he was always going to finish strongly,” Lilley said. “He’s just a genuine, consistent racehorse, which gives his all each time he races. It would be nice to have a stable full of horses just like him.” Messini now has earnings of over $656,000 lifetime. APG Media

Australian Pacing Gold purchase Mackenzie was too strong when first-up at Yonkers Raceway during the weekend. Given time to settle early, mare was sent forward by harness racing driver Jordan Stratton, who was prepared to pressure the leader, Call Me Queen Be, from the breeze. Forging her way to the front halfway along the home stretch, Mackenzie scored from Best Of Jenna and All About Madi. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven stopped the clock in 1:54 to register her 13th win of the season. Last April the Peter Tritton trained five-year-old captured the $310,000 Matchmaker Final. Mackenzie is a daughter of former star mare Kept For Pleasure, which was triumphant in the 2007 Australian Pacing Gold. Kept For Pleasure also won the 2008 Three-Year-Old APG Final. Boasting three winners from four starters, Kept For Pleasure is also the dam of multiple Group One winner and APG graduate, Vincent. APG Media  

Australian Pacing Gold graduates are set to dominate the first three-year-old harness racing features of the season at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night. Not only do the APG crew dominate in numbers, they also include the early favourites in both divisions of the $50,000 Home Grown Classics. Five fillies will line up in their Group Two, with Shez All Rock the one to beat despite her awkward draw. Successful in her heat – which doubled as her debut - Shez All Rock will begin from barrier six for leading trainer Emma Stewart. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven will be joined by APG grads Fire Safe, Outback Shadow, Quinzel and Ima Sassy Girl. APG has four runners in the colts/geldings $50,000 Final, with unbeaten gelding Yankee Roller expected to extend his perfect record despite drawing the inside of the second row. Also by Rock N Roll Heaven and coming from the Stewart stable, Yankee Roller has won his three starts in impressive fashion. Bossanova Bay and Raging Inferno – also part of the APG line-up – filled the trifecta behind Yankee Roller in their heat and will be out to extract revenge from barriers two and seven. Best Of Beauty, a stablemate of Yankee Roller, rounds out the APG squad and shapes as a major chance from gate four. by APG Media

Saturday's Australian Pacing Gold (APG) Brisbane Graduates Final for the first time has been granted harness racing Group 1 status featuring stakes of $100,000. The APG initiative, supported by Racing Queensland, was introduced to incentivise purchases at the Brisbane Sale.  The decision has been a winner providing buyers with an achievable target in their own state in addition to the main APG finals for $350,000 and breeders with increased sales prices.  In 2014, prior to the introduction of the race, the sales average was $11,147, in 2017 this grew by 68% to just under $19,000. To-date the Fillies have had the wood on the colts with Georgia Grace victorious in 2015, and Jossie James in 2016. The early market from UBET suggests this trend could well continue, with the James Rattray-trained Arts Treasure the $1.90 favourite.  Form analysist Darren Clayton concurs with the market placing Arts Treasure on top following her recent win in the QBRED Fillies final with the Mark Dux trained Pinup Boy his second elect. FULL PREVIEW OF THE ALBION PARK MEETING HERE The field for this year’s final including purchase price is outlined below;   Horse Sire Dam Purchase Price ($) Pinup Boy  Sportswriter Victree Bette $30,000 Gone Bust Grinfromeartoear The Third Category $13,000 Ark Patrol Grinfromeartoear Ark De Jeanne $28,000 (Reserve - Passed in) Arts Treasure Roll With Joe Art Start $21,000 Sister Feelgood Mr Feelgood Likeness $13,000 Mickee Cullen Christian Cullen English Elegance $60,000 Zindel Mr Feelgood Girl Of The Moment $15,000 Miss Costalot Lanercost Manhattan Montana $24,500 Kathleen Grace Mr Feelgood Magic In Motion $15,000 Digby Diva Shadow Play Evelyn Dee $8,000 (Reserve - Passed In) Naughtynheaven Rock N Roll Heaven My King Of Girl $22,000   The APG Brisbane Graduate Final is race 6 (8.10pm) of a strong 10-race card which commences at 5.43pm. Racing Queensland Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 12 August 2017 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 12 August 2017 Race programme for Albion Park, Saturday 12 August 2017

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