Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 452
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Top Victorian harness racing trainer Emma Stewart began her assault on Tasmania's feature races in Launceston last night where she produced a team of six and walked away with four winners including Major Secret that won the City of Launceston Cup. Major Secret stepped away cleanly from his second-row draw but once the field was settled, driver Chris Alford sent the $1.10 favourite around the field to take up the running. Major Secret cruised to an effortless win over Dapper Dana that came from well back with Taurisi flashing home late to grab third just ahead of Destreos. It was s strong enough win to suggest Major Secret could be a serious contender for the Group 3 Tasmania Cup in Hobart later this month. Stewart did not attend the meeting but driver Alford said he believed the horse was heading to the Tasmania Cup but if all depended on how he performed last night. "If it (Tasmania Cup start) depended on tonight's performance you'd reckon he's sure to be there (Hobart)," Alford said. Stewart's team began well with Isntshejust scoring an effortless win in a C1-C2 event over 1680 metres. Isntshejust (Chris Alford) led from the pole position but she was unable to hold out Johns Legacy that crossed from gate three. But Alford quickly had the four-year-old mare outside of the leader and when he allowed her more rein a lap out she forged to the lead and went on to win comfortably. Apache Shark delivered Stewart's third win of the night. With Alford aboard Apache Shark ($1.30) circumnavigated the field a lap from home and proved too strong for Spot Eight and Call Her Julie in a C5-C7 over 1680 metres. Isntshejust and Apache Shark are owned by Victorian Tony Kiel who said it was his first double in ages. "My family have been in this game a long time and we've had plenty of winners but this is my first double since we got two up at Boort (Victoria) about 40 years ago.," Kiel said. Stewart's three-year-old colt American Alli ($2.60) was backed to beat the local favourite Semowillrev ($1.70) in a 3YO and older C0 over 2200 metres but he made an error at the start and lost about 60 metres. Semowillrev worked around the field to lead but he was run down by Izaha and Lead Singer with American Alli, that was making his debut, a game fourth beaten about nine metres. Masterkova made it four winners for Stewart with an impressive all-the-way win over 1680 metres. It was a one-act affair and no doubt Stewart will be aiming Masterkova at the Tasmanian Oaks. Peter Staples

Lazarus will be a hot favourite to land his first heat win of the Perth Inter Dominion series at Gloucester Park on Friday night. After two gallant seconds so far, Lazarus has landed the easiest of Friday night’s three heats and should control the race despite a wide draw (gate seven). He will also relish the step-up to 2536m. Lazarus won’t have to contend with any of the other big guns of the series with the likes of Soho Tribeca, Chicago Bull, Tiger Tara and Lennytheshark also drawn different heats. Speedster Yayas Hot Spot drew directly outside Lazarus in gate eight, but it’s likely Mark Purdon will get serious on his stable star at the start to hone his gate speed ahead of a possible good draw in the final. Lazarus did all the chasing outside winner Tiger Tara when second in a record-smashing 1min52.3sec mile rate for 2100m at Bunbury last night (Tuesday). It took 1.5sec off the record. Lazarus’ stablemate Have Faith In Me is one of his rivals on Friday, but is out of contention for a final berth. He’s drawn the outside (gate nine). Lazarus will relish the 2536m. He’s had 13 starts at 2400m or further for 11 wins, a second in the Ballarat Cup and 3rdf in the Avon City Ford Cup. Tiger Tara faces an even harder challenge now he’s drawn (gate six) outside local star Chicago Bull (gate one) in the first of Friday night’s heats. Chicago Bull looks certain to hold the front and has proven unbeatable when leading during his Aussie career. Tiger Tara will likely have to sit outside the leader as he did when second to Lennytheshark on opening night. Emerging local Shandale needs big points to make the final, but could get his chance from gate five against Chicago Bull and Tiger Tara. The second of Friday night’s heats shapes as the best of the series so far with San Carlo drawn one against Lennytheshark (gate seven) and Soho Tribeca the outside (nine). “The draw wouldn’t worry him if he was at his top,” Lennytheshark’s driver Chris Alford said. “I’m backing him to bounce back on Friday. I’m sure David (Aiken, trainer) will have him right. “He definitely ran a bit below his best at Bunbury, but he’s bounced-back before. “David’s getting a precautionary blood test done so we will know more after that, but Lenny’s a smart horse and maybe some of the memories of last year at Bunbury when he first felt the hoof injury came back to him last night.” Lazarus is a $2.80 favourite on the Aussie TAB from Soho Tribeca at $3. Then comes Chicago Bull ($4.50), Lennytheshark ($8) and Tiger Tara ($9). The field for the Grand Final will decided after Friday night’s heats with the barrier draw held on Sunday. Adam Hamilton

Lennytheshark, brilliant harness racing winner of the Inter Dominion championship in Perth two years ago, is still racing with youthful enthusiasm as an eight-year-old and looks a certainty in the second heat of the Choices Flooring Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night.     He has no difficulty in handling the tight 805m circuit at Gloucester Park where he has appeared five times for three wins and two seconds. Trainer David Aiken and reinsman Chris Alford are looking confidently to Lennytheshark winning in the opening set of qualifying heats for the third successive year. The handsome stallion is unbeaten in his current campaign of three starts, making most of the pace in all three wins, scoring decisive victories over My Field Marshal in the Smoken Up Sprint at Melton (rating 1.51.9 over 1720m), beating Ameretto and Tiger Tara in the 2240m Victoria Cup at a 1.53.2 rate at Melton and smashing the track record when he rated 1.55.4 in defeating My Field Marshal in the Yarra Valley Cup over 2650m. Lennytheshark is favourably drawn at barrier three on Friday night and Alford should be able to send him to an early lead, with the drivers of his inside runners Majordan (Luke McCarthy) and Vultan Tin (Chris Voak) expected to be happy to enjoy handy runs on the pegs behind the champion. Voak said that he expected Vultan Tin (a runaway winner in considerably weaker company over 2536m two starts ago) to slot in three back on the pegs and was hopeful that the Phil Costello-trained six-year-old would finish in the top four or five. Tiger Tara (barrier seven) and Motu Premier (No. 9) have excellent place prospects. Tiger Tara, to be driven by Todd McCarthy for trainer Kevin Pizzuto, is in splendid form and his past 19 starts have produced 11 wins and five placings. He has won twice and been placed three times from his five starts in his current campaign. Tiger Tara dashed to the lead 100m after the start and set a brisk pace when a neck second to Ultimate Machete in the $234,000 Group 1 Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington last Friday. That followed his outstanding third behind Lazarus and Jacks Legend in the 3200m $800,000 New Zealand Cup three days earlier when he worked hard in the breeze, broke into a gallop 800m from home and lost four lengths in dropping back to eighth before recovering to run on from seventh with 200m to travel. Before his two excellent New Zealand runs, Tiger Tara had worked hard, three wide and then in the breeze, at his two previous outings before scoring in fine style over 1609m at Menangle, with times of 1.51.3 and 1.51.8. Motu Premier, to be handled by dual Inter Dominion winning driver Chris Lewis for trainer Ross Olivieri, fared badly in the draw and faces a very difficult task from the outside in the field of nine.           “It looks tough from out there,” said Lewis. “But I expect Motu Premier to perform well in the series.” Gary Hall Jnr said that Ohoka Punter also faced a difficult assignment from barrier six. “However, if he draws to lead in the remaining heats he will prove hard to catch,” he said. An interesting runner is the Greg Bond-trained nine-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, who has not raced for seven weeks, since finishing a well-beaten 11th behind Shandale at Gloucester Park. That followed a close-up second to Run Oneover at his previous outing, five weeks earlier.   Ken Casellas

History was rewritten when two-time Victorian Horse of the Year Lennytheshark obliterated a track record and captured the United Petroleum Yarra Valley Pacing Cup. With quality pacers My Field Marshall, Tee Cee Bee Macray and Messini breathing down his neck, David Aiken’s Perth-bound eight-year-old produced 26.9 and 27.3 third and fourth quarters to register a 1:55.4 mile rate. The mark slashed 4.7 seconds off the record set by Restrepo in last year’s cup, delighting Aiken who labelled it the perfect hit-out before Lennytheshark flies west on Sunday week to chase a second Inter Dominion. Champion reinsman Chris Alford improved Lennytheshark’s positioning from a second-row gate to the lead soon after the start and said “once he found the front he was always in control and travelled along nicely”. “He felt really sharp, he probably got to the front a little bit quicker than I expected,” Alford said. “He had them all off the bit at the bend but, as he sort of does, he had a walk around on the straight, looking at the big screen and that, and he was still going good on the line.” My Field Marshall sat parked for much of the race and hit the line just 3.9m shy of Lennytheshark while Messini tracked Tee Cee Bee Macray three-wide on the last lap and both ran on well to finish close in fourth and third positions respectively. Connections of all would have departed buoyed by their horse’s output, with the talented foursome gapping the chasing pack by almost 20m. And all four look set to have super summers ahead. Messini and My Field Marshall share the Trots Country Cups Championship lead with fellow cup winners Lennytheshark and San Carlo after three rounds, while Thursday delivered Tee Cee Bee Macray’s first points in the championship. For Lennytheshark, the focus now turns to Perth where he will attempt to replicate his 2015 triumph and avenge the disappointments of last season, when injury led to his scratching. “Different series, new horses to conquer like Lazarus etcetera, but I just go by how David talks about him at the moment,” Alford said. “He doesn’t think he’s ever had him any better. Going into the series, three runs – we know he can handle that and hopefully we have a bit of luck over there. “It’s just great to be associated with a horse like this. Little kids come up and want to give him a pat and get their sharks signed.  It gets a bit emotional, you don’t want to see him beaten, but hopefully we can go over to Perth and give it our best.” Michael Howard

Former Inter Dominion champion Lennytheshark is going to the country for his final lead-up race to this year’s series. David Aiken’s superstar will dominate the betting again despite a back row draw (gate nine) in Thursday’s $30,000 Group 3 Yarra Valley Cup (2650m). The preferential draw means Lennytheshark will start from outside the back row, but with just nine runners it’s actually ideal as he’s two-out on the back row and should trail through well. Main danger, former Kiwi star My Field Marshal, is drawn inside the back row (gate eight), which could prove tricky for driver Anthony Butt. The other class runners in the Cup are Messini (gate seven), who returned to form winning the easier Swan Hill Cup last start, and speedy Tee Cee Bee Macray (six). Driver Chris Alford reaffirmed his opinion that Lennytheshark was going as good as ever. “It’s actually amazing. He just feels so sharp. He’s got that brilliance back,” he said. “As good as he was going last season, he was a bit dour at times. He’s got that speed back now. “He doesn’t usually run away them, but he’s doing that now. It’s a great feeling. “David (Aiken) says he’s doing it at home as well and he did at the trials when he won by 20m and broke the track record at Shepparton last week.” Alford is equally thrilled about the barrier draw. “It’s helped my cause. I’d rather nine than eight where My Field Marshal has drawn,” he said.  The Yarra Valley Cup is race seven on Thursday at 6.49pm NZ time. Adam Hamilton

Top Victorian harness racing reinsman Chris Alford made a late charge to take out the 2017 Yabby Dam Racing Australian Drivers Championship at Luxbet Park Hobart last night. The ADC was made up two representatives from each state and boasted the best 12 drivers in Australia with the series contested over eight heats. The championship went down to the wire with Alford leading on 68 points going into the last of eight heats clear of Chris Geary (673) and Greg Sugars (61). But when Alford took the odds-on favourite Semowillrev ($1.30) to the front over a lap from home the championship medallion was his courtesy of three wins from the eight heats that each earned him the maximum 19 points. Alford had only 18 points after two heats but he made a charge when he partnered outsider Im Born To Rule ($59) to victory in a in a C6-C10 Pace over 2090 metres for Ken Rattray. The win took Alford's midway tally to 37 and only 10 points adrift of Geary with Victorian Sugars also making his way up the leader board with 39 points at the half-way mark. Geary set up an early lead in the series with wins in two of the first three heats. Geary, 19, delivered a stellar drive to win the opening heat aboard the Wayne Campbell-trained Buster William by sending the gelding to the front when the pace slackened 800m from home and he held on to win comfortably. But it was his cunning drive aboard outsider Itz Gemmas Delight ($55) that set the scene for the series as he took the mare from eighth turning for home to dash home along the sprint lane to score narrowly from Modern Chic and Call Her Julie. Queensland's Mathew Neilson partnered highly promising four-year-old Jaks Teller to an effortless win in heat two which was for C2-C3 pacers over 2090 metres. Neilson sent Jaks Teller around the field 1400 metres from home to take the lead and from there it was a procession with the gelded son of WashingtonVC forging clear 500 metres out and went on to win by 23 metres from Courageous Katee (Ellen Rixon) with Mersey Delight (Gareth Rattray) third. The win took Neilson's tally after two heats to 28 and one clear of Geary but Geary's third-heat win gave him a handy buffer close to the half-way mark while Neilson's drives struggled in the last half of the series. With two rounds remaining Geary had accrued 59 points to hold a slender lead over Western Australia's Chris Lewis (54) and Alford (53) but when Alford partnered odds-on favourite Goggo Gee Gee to victory in the penultimate heat it took his tally tom 68 and five points clear of Geary with Sugars close-up on 61. Peter Staples

Lennytheshark became a two-time harness racing Allied Express Victoria Cup champion tonight at Tabcorp Park Melton and will now turn his fin toward Perth in a bid to achieve a second Inter Dominion success. The most popular pacer in the southern hemisphere drew a rapturous reception from the big crowd at Tabcorp Park Melton following his domination in the Grand Circuit Classic, and his trainer, David Aiken, sounded a warning to his Inter Dominion rivals. “We’ve got unfinished business there.” “We’re really looking forward to Perth now. He’s my once-in-a-lifetime horse,” Aiken said. “I’m just so proud of him.” Driven by Chris Alford, Lennytheshark (by Four Starzzz Shark out of Albert Albert mare Botswana) led from the pole draw and defeated flying mare Ameretto by 3.6 metres in a slick mile rate of 1:53.2 for the 2240m trip. “He came up to the gate really good and they went full tilt for the first 100m, but once he held the front he always had it under control,” Alford said. The win was Lennytheshark’s 36th from 69 career starts, his stakemoney now at over $2.8 million. Following his gate one draw punters put their faith in Lennytheshark, the Inter Dominion, Miracle Mile and previous Victoria Cup hero sent out the shortest Victoria Cup favourite in years at $1.20. Allied Express Victoria Cup - Lennytheshark Due to the calendar change for the Victoria Cup that saw the race moved from January to October, owner Kevin Riseley, who also races reigning Vic Cup winner Lazarus, has amazingly now won the race twice in the same calendar year. Earlier on the program super mare Maori Time won the Bill Collins Trotters Sprint for trainer Brent Lilley and driver Gavin Lang in a thrilling finish, with a neck separating the winner from runner-up Sparkling Success and third placegetter Glenferrie Typhoon. OTHER COVERAGE Trots Media Pryde's Easifeed Pony Trots Videos https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481495280611/ https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481210860611/ https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481157135611/ Trots Media Facebook Live Coverage https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481176635611/ https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481250120611/ https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481346935611/ https://www.facebook.com/harnessracingvictoria/videos/10159481010860611/ Trots Media Photo Gallery of Winners https://www.facebook.com/10150118782730611/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10159481227135611 Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness racing driver Chris Alford’s first Group 1 success came in the sulky behind Golden Reign (pictured) in the 1993 Victoria Derby. That superstar would go on to provide “the Puppet” with Treuer Memorial and Tasmanian Pacing Championship success in 1994 and a South Australian Cup win in 1995. Also in ’95, Golden Reign and Alford would combine for what to this day Alford says is his greatest thrill in the sport – his first Inter Dominion Pacing Championship success in 1995 at Christchurch in New Zealand. Today though, we’re rewinding to Moonee Valley on Saturday the 4th of February in the summer of ’95, when Golden Reign as favourite held out another Grand Circuit superstar in Master Musician to win the Healthy Diet Try It Victoria Cup over 2380m. VIDEO: RE-LIVE GOLDEN REIGN'S VIC CUP GLORY It was a night which opened with Kenkara successful for Don Dove and finished with Damian Wilson combining with trainer Tom Kett to win the last, the Pacers Handicap, at 33-1! Other winners on the night were the talented Lucky Camilla for Grant Campbell and Mick Carroll as a 1/5 shot, Rookies Boy at any old odds in the trot for Graham Lee, Late Bid (another gun) in the Caduceus Club 3YO Cup for Peter Walsh, Dark Paul for Andrew Peace in the Vic Cup Consolation over odds-on pop Liberty Jay Jay, New York Jet for Joe and Peter Cavallaro and the mighty Pride Of Petite for Barry and Mark Purdon in the Trotters Sprint over a mile. But it was the night’s feature show that goes down as one of the great Victoria Cups, Alford, Alexander and Golden Reign delivering a stellar performance to hold off a brave Master Musician, and an even braver Sinbad Bay in third for Stephen Dove – when you consider Sinbad Bay was 11 years old and had the won the Vic Cup in both 1989 and 1999. He had returned from injury and rattled home. From a back-row draw, Golden Reign (10/9 favourite) balanced up midfield in the early stages. Alford commenced his move at about the 1800m, when Golden Reign loomed to the chair outside stablemate Knight Rainbow (John Caldow) before heading him off. Once Golden Reign found the front, Robert Dunn launched aboard Master Musician, and at the bell Dunn and the Musician audaciously tackled for the lead. While it wasn’t there, this last lap wasn’t simply going to be on Golden Reign’s terms, and it was game-on. The two lead combatants staged a battle royal, neither relenting an inch. But there had to be a winner. Golden Reign booted a length clear at the top of the home straight, but like any Musician worth his salt, the Master still had an encore. With Dunn driving hard, Master Musician found another gear and started eating into Golden Reign’s margin once again. At the line, they’d closed the gap to just a neck. Brave, but not brave enough. Alford’s excitement was clear as he crossed the finish post – a Golden moment for connections as their champion Reigned supreme. Twenty-one years later Alford would add a second Victoria Cup to his trophy cabinet thanks to modern-day superstar Lennytheshark. This Saturday night he and Lenny will again team up as a commanding favourite, Alford out to become a three-time Vic Cup winner, which would draw him closer to clubhouse leaders Vin Knight (five-time winner of the great race) and Brian Gath (four Vic Cup triumphs). Book your dining package at this year's Allied Express Victoria Cup Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Driver Chris Alford expects champion pacer Lennytheshark to win Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint (1720m) at Melton. David Aiken’s stable star is first-up since a brave fourth in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park in July. But Alford said he’s primed and the wide barrier draw (gate seven) is no major hurdle. “A lot’s been said about his trial last week when It Is Billy ran past him, but he didn’t have his shades on, it was daytime and I didn’t ask much of him at all. It was a trial, not a race and they still went a 1min53sec mile,” Alford said. “It’ll be a different Lenny this week. Shades on, under lights and he’s back at the races. I think he’ll win.” Alford thinks Lennytheshark will work across from the wide draw at the start and quickly land outside the likely early leader, Yayas Hot Spot. “If we get across quickly enough, I’ll have a look for the lead, but if I’ve got to sit parked then so be it,” he said. The Aussie TAB has opened Lennytheshark a $1.90 favourite, while Yayas Hot Spot has been backed from $14 into $9. Tim Butt’s star My Field Marshal will need luck from a back row draw (gate 10) in the 1720m scamper. In other news, trainer Kevin Pizzuto has opted for a trial rather than a race with Tiger Tara ahead of the Victoria Cup. Tiger Tara will go first-up into the $200,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup on Saturday week.   Adam Hamilton

For the 13th time in his decorated career harness racing reinsman Chris Alford is the SBG Accountants Victorian Metropolitan Premier Driver. Alford notched 51 metro wins in 2016-17 to finish 18 victories clear of nearest rival Gavin Lang (33 wins) with Greg Sugars finishing third on 31 wins. It is the fifth straight season that Alford, Lang and Sugars have shared podium honours in the metro title, and in fact that trio has also claimed top-three honours for the past five years straight in the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership. Alford also won the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership for the second straight season in 2016-17, giving him a dozen wins in that category throughout his career. Alford’s 51-win metro season was a career-best performance, eclipsing his previous personal best of 48 set in 2015-16. His 320 state winners was his second-biggest haul behind his 2011-12 season, which saw him claim the Vic honours with 327 victories. It is an amazing record for the man they dub ‘Puppet’, who won his first metropolitan drivers’ premiership back in 1993-94. Alford’s glorious season of achievements in the past 12 months also saw him pilot Lennytheshark to a memorable Miracle Mile win at Menangle in February, and steer his 6000th win in the sulky during May. Other highlight wins for Alford in season 2016-17 included… Group 1 VHRSC Victoria Derby aboard Our Little General in February Group 1 Canadian Club Sprint aboard Lennytheshark in February Group 1 Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks aboard Miss Graceland in April Group 1 Queen of the Pacific aboard The Orange Agent in May Group 1 Sportswriter Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Fillies Final aboard Molly Kelly in June Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trotting C&G Final aboard Wobelee in July Group 1 Pet Rock Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Pacing C&G Final aboard Poster Boy in July Group 1 Western Terror Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Fillies Final aboard Nostra Villa in July Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic aboard Wobelee in August Group 1 Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Trotting C&G Final aboard Wobelee in August Group 1 Always B Miki Breeders Crown 2YO Pacing Fillies Final aboard Nostra Villa in August Group 1 IRT Breeders Crown 3YO C&G Pacing Final aboard Our Little General in August Meanwhile, Emma Stewart completed a clean sweep in the Renown Silverware State Trainers Premiership and the Taylors Metropolitan Trainers Premiership, winning both categories. It is the third straight double-premiership win for Stewart, whose horses earned over $3million in stakemoney in 16-17, a stable record, eclipsing its previous best set in 15-16 of $2.95m. Stewart trained 54 Victorian metropolitan winners in 16-17 from 269 runners and a career-best 206 Vic state winners from 572 starters. Amazingly young gun Jason Lee won his fourth consecutive Alabar Concession Drivers Premiership, notching 110 Victorian winners in season 16-17 from 534 races, edging out runner-up Zac Phillips on 108 wins. Art Major won the Victorian Sires Premiership with 235 wins from his progeny. The super stallion also claimed the 2YO Sires Premiership with 37 wins. The 3YO Sires Premiership went to Somebeachsomewhere with 70 wins, while Safely Kept claimed honours in the Broodmare Sires Premiership category. Sundon took top honours in the Trotting Sires Premiership with 105 wins, while Angus Hall took out the Juvenile Trotting Sires Premiership with 20 wins. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Star Kiwi pacer My Field Marshal lost no fans in defeat when he resumed from a freshen-up at Menangle last Saturday night. Tim Butt’s stable star came from the extreme outside draw, punched the breeze from the middle half and went down fighting in slick time by a half-head to another former Kiwi, Little Rascal, who had a cosy trip. Just when it seemed My Field Marshal was sent for victory, driver Luke McCarthy extricated Little Rascal from a peg run to the running line, the three-wide to launch a late challenge and snatch the win. My Field Marshal couldn’t much more considering the closing splits of 54.7 and 27.3sec at the end of a 1min51.8sec mile. Butt’s plan is to give the classy pacer at least two more Menangle runs before heading south to chase the $200,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton on October 14. The win was Little Rascal’s biggest since making NSW home. He managed just three wins from 22 starts last term. ___________________________________________________________________________________ THE new season started just as the old one did for Chris Alford. Alford, who topped 6000 career wins and snatched a string of major races last season, bagged four wins at Melton last Saturday night. It took him a few races to hit top gear, but Alford won the last four races on the card, starting with the charming story of Emma Stewart’s comeback 11-year-old stayer Mister Onetwo. Alford’s other wins came aboard Maree Caldow’s trotting mare Miss Noelle, Dean Braun’s claimer Beach Boy Adios and Emma Stewart’s four-year-old mara A Victor. The other star of the opening Melton meeting of the season was Greg Sugars with three wins. He partnered claimers Washmepockets and Saint Flash to win heats of the Battle of the Claimers as well as veteran free-for-aller Flaming Flutter. Flaming Flutter showed a hint of his vintage best when he sustained a strong three-wide run to win in a slick 1min53sec mile rate in the My Lightning Blue free-for-all (1720m). ___________________________________________________________________________________ VETERAN Queenslander Avonnova continues to amaze. Trainer Ian Gurney retired him after a feature win at Albion Park late last year, but opted to bring him back because he “simply too unhappy in hid paddock.” Avonnova won two of five comeback runs between April and July, then had a let-up. The 11-year-old opened this season with a scorching Albion Park win last Saturday night, beating the classy Ultimate Art in a 1min51.5sec mile rate for 1660m. It was his 52nd win with another 49 placings from 160 starts and took his earnings to a thumping $913,769. ___________________________________________________________________________________ CLASSY former Kiwi pacer Shandale continues to make his mark in Western Australia. Now with the Mike Reed stable, Shandale won impressively when second-up from a spell in a 1min55.8sec mile rate for 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The five-year-old son of Art Major has raced six times for Reed for four wins, a second a seventh. The test will come over the next few weeks when he steps into open grade against the likes of Chicago Bull, Ohoka Punter, Beaudiene Boaz, Run Oneover  and others. Adam Hamilton

Top harness racing driver Chris Alford has won the Warragul Driver of the Year award for the fourteenth time, after the final meeting of the 2016/17 racing season was held recently. Alford drove 17 winners for the season at Warragul, seven more than runner-up Greg Sugars. He only missed a place 10 times from 41 drives on the track across Warragul's nine meetings. He first won the award in 1992/93, but still has a way to go to pass the most successful reinsman to compete at Warragul, Ted Demmler, who won the premiership 20 times. Drouin West horseman Gary Quinlan was leading trainer across the season at Warragul, the first time his stable has won the award since 2005. Gary's stable has now collected the award six times. He prepared 13 winners and 11 placegetters for the season, from 38 starters. Runner-up was Jayne Davies, who had won the award 11 times in the past 12 seasons. Consistent young reinsman Darby McGuigan won the Concession Driver of the Year award, landing five winners and seven minor placings from 33 starts at Warragul during the season. Most consistent horse of the year at Warragul was Hurricane Stride, from the Jayne Davies stable at Clyde. Three wins and one second from five starts at Warragul earned Hurricane Stride the award narrowly from stablemate Ravello Rock, and trotter Omy Son, which both tied for second on 12 points. Hurricane Stride won the Traralgon Pacing Cup at the Warragul club's July race meeting. The Victorian harness racing season is conducted from September 1 to August 31 each year, and the Warragul award winners will be honoured at the club's first meeting of the 2017/18 racing season on Monday, October 16. Kyle Galley    

Canterbury trainer Cran Dalgety didn’t have to wait long for his Victorian fortunes to change in an Australasian Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Heat at Shepparton on Tuesday night. The Dalgety-trained second favourite Our Bettor Joy charged home along the sprint lane for driver Anthony Butt to defeat front-running favourite Molly Kelly (Chris Alford) in the $A10,000 heat. The two favourites had the most speed early, crossing to lead and trail, with the pace buttoning off in the middle stages. Our Bettor Joy, a daughter of champion sire Bettor's Delight and Joyfulbelle, won going away at the line by 2.5 metres. The NZ Delightful Lady Classic winner rated a comfortable 2:02.3 for the full 2190m in her Australian debut, the lead time for the last 800m being cut out in 58.3s, with the final 400m off the front in a swift 27.5s. Dalgety’s three-year-old trotting filly Chevron Express flopped in the Victoria Trotting Derby on Sunday, but the Breeders Crown 3YO Final on August 26 remains her main target. NZ Harness News    

If there was one box left to tick to reaffirm Wobelee’s status as the finest two-year-old trotter of the season consider it ticked, marked and crossed. The Alison Alford trained, Chris Alford driven and Colin Murphy owned Down Under Muscles two-year-old was in a class of his own in winning the $50,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Redwood Classic, a third Group 1 victory of the harness racing season. Since running second to One Muscle Hill in his first start, coincidentally named the 157 Days To Seelite Redwood handicap, and then third in his second start, Wobelee has reeled off eight consecutive victories including Vicbred and now Redwood acclaim. It’s been enough to surprise even the most seasoned of drivers. “After his first trials we thought at least he’s going to make it to the races and he’s just improved and improved and improved the further the year has gone along,” Chris Alford said. “It’s pretty amazing really." Many considered the Classic – having blemished many a two-year-olds spectacular debut season – a key test of Wobelee’s standing, but the inside back row draw was no barrier. Wobelee burst from the standing start to lead in a matter of meters, capitalising on the polemarker (Whizzbang Dan) leaving a door open. “Pretty lucky really at the start,” Alford said. “In the warm-up Christopher Shinn’s horse, he gave it a practice and as it jumped it did a right-hand turn and went out about three carts and I thought, this couldn’t be true. If this happens and we are moving forward we will just go straight through. “Thankfully it happened and the professional little thing that he is he just trotted away.” And from there it was all she wrote. A 48.2 lead time set an honest pace and no challenger could threaten as Wobelee, as is his custom, used his high cruising speed to churn out 29.9 and 30.9 first and second quarters. “He was just rolling along, when I saw 29.9 I thought I might be going a bit quick here, but he just likes to run.” With 29.6 and 30.5 quarters he closed out a 2:04.4 mile rate, matching Illawong Byron’s race/age/sex record set in last year’s Classic and clearing out by a colossal 32.6m. It was a heck of a statement and connections, in particular owner Colin Murphy, will be hoping the Down Under Muslces gelding can extend his winning ways to Breeders Crown’s super Sunday. “He’s had a long year,” Alford said. “He’s starting to tire a little bit, we will just try and keep him ticking over. “The good thing is he doesn’t do a lot at home, so he’s got two more runs and then he can have a rest, so hopefully he can keep it up.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Team Tritton is hoping to put the disappointment of last year’s Breeders Crown behind them with their latest boom juvenile. Exciting lass My Sweetchilliphilly was a flawless Crown heat winner at Menangle today, enhancing her career ledger to 5/5 with a 1:57.4 win from the front. Reinsman Chris Geary only had to give the daughter of Betterthancheddar the tiniest of urging up the Menangle stretch as the filly notched 28 and 27.2 late splits for an 8.8-metre win over runner-up Love My Sister. “The best way to describe her would be to say she’s the classiest two-year-old I’ve ever had,” co-trainer Shane Tritton said. And while confidence is clearly high in the camp given the filly’s burgeoning superiority against her Sydney rivals, Tritton is loathed to declare her – or anything in fact – a certainty on Crown Super Sunday after the racing gods refused to shine on the pink power at Tabcorp Park Melton last August. Team Tritton, consisting of Shane and his wife Lauren, produced Tingira Beach in the colts and geldings’ final as a $1.6 favourite. But to say nothing went right for the budding star would be somewhat of an understatement. After being squeezed underneath the pegs early, Tingira Beach jumped off stride before being buried away on the markers where he found more trouble half a mile later and all hope was gone. “We got knocked over … so you can never be too confident going into the big Group 1s, but she (My Sweetchilliphilly) is going to take some serious beating,” Tritton said. “I’d say it’s hers to lose at this stage. All the signs are there that she’s going to be something special.” My Sweetchilliphilly is already a Group 1 winner, having taken the Bathurst Gold Tiara ($104,000) in March in extraordinary fashion. The firebrand filly breezed throughout and from the 500m scorched her main rival, Lady Chatto, which was unbeaten to that point. Philly won by over 20m in 1:54.7. “She’s as tough as she is fast,” Tritton said. The plan between now and Race to Royalty grand final day is simple enough in theory, but of course Breeders Crown trophies aren’t won on theories. “We’ll go straight to the Semis then the final,” Tritton said. “We considered the Tatlow Stakes (at Melton) and taking her to New Zealand. And if she wasn’t as good as she is then we probably would have seriously looked at the Tatlow, but we’re taking it slowly with her. She’s never let us down. “She went 53 in a trial a few weeks ago and I’ve barely done anything with her since.” And so this year’s Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ section is shaping as an absolute classic – cliché to say, I know. But this is fair dinkum because Nostra Villa and My Sweetchilliphilly are both unbeaten to this point. Villa won last weekend’s Racing Hill Tatlow Stakes Final at Tabcorp Park Melton in 1:58.7 from the breeze, edging Amelias Courage, which sprint-laned, and stablemate Molly Kelly, which led and had the services of champion reinsman Chris Alford. The win made it six-out-of-six for Nostra Villa, a daughter of Art Major, who swept the recent Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series and also captured the Youthful Stakes in June. Let’s hope both remain sound and well and we witness an absolute classic Semi-Final/Grand Final stoush next month. And, an important footnote: Congratulations to Shane and Lauren Tritton for another reason, welcoming their first child, Levi Shane, into the world overnight. Cody Winnell

Champion horseman Chris Alford won his fifth Traralgon Pacing Cup on Sunday. In front of a good crowd despite windy and wet conditions Alford partnered Hurricane Stride to a strong victory in the $7000 race. While Alford is used to victory in the feature event Clyde trainers Jayne Davies and Noel Alexander had never won the race before Sunday, despite having won many races in the district over more than three decades. The Traralgon Pacing Cup remembers trotting held in the Latrobe Valley from 1975 to 1995. Alford won the last race on the Traralgon track in 1995. Gippsland horses collected plenty of success at the Sunday meeting. Trafalgar pacer Choosa Cruiser landed win one at start four in the three-year-old event, surprising many punters. Choosa Cruiser held the lead from barrier one on the wet track and scored at odds of $41. Glenn Hunter drove Choosa Cruiser for his father Chris, who trains the filly for Thorpdale owner/breeders Pete Ransom and Rowan Blackshaw. Most Happy Cullen scored an impressive 13-metre victory for trainer Gary Quinlan and a big syndicate of local owners in the third race. The four-year-old stallion's victory was the second winning drive of Chris Alford's treble for the day. Alford also teamed up with trainer Ray Mathews to win the second race with Jackmichaels. Mathews has been patient with the five-year-old gelding, who scored his first race win on Sunday at start 38. Ten-year-old gelding Outpunch Enchanter won the Trotters Handicap, his eighth victory from an incredible 222 race starts. The trotter has also finished in the minor placings on 47 occasions. She Can Rock led throughout to win the first race, while Irish Player won his second race for the year at Warragul in the final event of the day, gaining the major prize in an exciting three-way finish. Warragul trots return on Monday, August 28. Kyle Galley

1 to 16 of 452
1 2 3 4 5 Next »