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A potentially historic day has dawned with champion reinsman Chris Alford within reach of setting a new Australian mark for most wins by a driver in a season. Alford ascended to a remarkable 387 wins last night with a treble of victories at Tabcorp Park Melton, including with Kyvalley Clichy and Joe Vassallo in the final races on the card. A victory today will see Alford tie Daryl Douglas's record setting 388 wins in 2007-2008, when  he brought up the magical milestone from 2063 starts. Before today's double-header at Stawell and Geelong, Alford had ventured on to the track 1410 times and smashed his previous best single-season winning rate, which had been the 336 wins he produced in 2011-12. “It would be pretty special. I keep an eye on it, if it comes it comes," Alford said of the landmark. "I just try and win as many races as I can." Speaking on the eve of an extraordinarily successful Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series finals night, when he piloted four winners, Alford typically attributed much of his success to the opportunities he'd been given.  “A big part of it is due to Emma (Stewart) and Clayton (Tonkin), and there are others whose horses I’m driving who have also been going well at the right time," he said. “I’ve been pretty lucky over the years to drive for most of the good stables. I think if you do the right thing by them they will stick with you." So when will the landmark win occur? Alford steers two at Stawell today and a further two at Geelong tonight. First up is Hot Breakfast for trainer Malcolm Phillips in the Hygain Micrspeed Pace at 2.55pm, who Good Form analyst Rob Auber has rated a $5 chance, second favourite behind Matt Craven's short-priced Wardan Express. "Wardan Express is a very smart horse that has taken his time to strike his best form this campaign," Auber said. "Clearly looks the class horse. Hot Breakfast has enjoyed a good season. Racing well and is a place hope." His other driver for the day is Sleepee, the raw but impressive two-year-old trotting filly who steps out in The Maori Legend at 3.33pm, a $14,000 race. Trained by Chris' wife Alison, it would be a fitting way to tie the record or set a new mark and Auber has Sleepee as the most likely winner, quoting him as a $1.80 pop. "Sleepee’s been very impressive at both starts to date and appears to be getting better," Auber said. "Runner-up in the Group 1 Vicbred final last start. Hard to beat." If the cards don't fall today, it's on to Geelong tonight, where Alford has a further three drives. Auber rates Dependlebury an $8 in the Flying Brick Original Cider Pace at 8pm, Bossanova Bay a $5 chance in the AON Business Insurance 3YO Pace at 8.30pm and Elteearr a $2 pop in the Jims Mowing pace at 9.30pm. And then it's on to Bendigo for a further seven drives tomorrow night. Michael Howard

Kheiron was “born in the backyard” at owner/trainer Peter Lane’s property and his wife, Anita, insists on purchasing every winning race photograph that the now Group 1 trotter earns. “It’s just a wonderful sport to be in and we’ve never had anything like this,” Lane said on this morning’s episode of RSN’s One Out, One Back, speaking after his trotter won Friday night’s Group 1 Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series Final at Tabcorp Park Melton. The enthusiasm and positivity was radiating from Lane, a man who clearly loves his horses and the game. “You go through lots of emotions with horses,” he said. “I was probably in the early days not really a lover of horses … when I joined up with Anita, and we’ve been here now for 11 years, we’ve had foals born in the backyard and in the last couple of years I’ve had to deliver a couple of my own. They really are like family.” Friday’s win took Kheiron’s career earnings to almost $150k, champion reinsman Chris Alford guiding the Majestic Son gelding to a head win over Next Thru. And here’s an interesting parallel that a quick flick through the results revealed. Lane previously trained Eisenhower, who ran second in the APG 3YO Trotters Final of 2009. Eisenhower ran second to Let Me Thru in that Group 1 event at Moonee Valley. Well, Lane has now produced a trotter to turn the tables on Let Me Thru’s brother! Lane admitted he was confident going in, but you’re never certain: “We were really expecting him to go well but there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of actually getting the job done,” he said. On Eisenhower, Lane said he still sees that horse every day. “He gets a pat or a kiss … we’re really close with him still”. Lane spoke of visits to the family farm during school holidays growing up where he was introduced to harness racing through a pacer trained by his uncle Eric. “I think with his very first drive my uncle won with a horse called Charity Boy in the 70s,” Lane recalled. “I got the bug and poked along wherever I could. I spent a bit of time with Leigh Kirby and we had horses stabled with Neville Welsh. “My first winner as a trainer was in 1987 … and my first winner as a driver was in 1991 with a horse called Our Folly at Horsham. My greatest thrill was turning around to go back to scales and I could hear my grandmother from about 50m away telling everybody! You never forget those things.” Cody Winnell

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

Chris Alford’s season of dominance will likely see him smash a longstanding national record and has also delivered some dilemmas. The champion reinsman looks on track to top Daryl Douglas’ 388 wins in a season, set in 2007-8, having amassed 369 victories with more appearing certain in tonight's Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series’ pacing finals. Alford attributes a good portion of that success to trainer Emma Stewart, who qualified a stunning 19 horses for tonight's racing. “A big part of it is due to Emma (Stewart) and (her partner) Clayton (Tonkin), and there are others whose horses I’m driving who have also been going well at the right time,” Alford said. “It would be pretty special (to record the most wins in a season).” But Alford will have to pull the right rein in more ways than one, having had to choose between a host of talented Stewart runners. He’s had plenty to rake through this week, in particular regarding the tonight’s Empire Stallions three-year-old colts and geldings’ final, with NSW Derby winner Poster Boy and new sensation Ride High in the picture. Alford said Tonkin “leaves it up to me” but had “a fair bit of input and “suggested I should stay with Poster Boy over Ride High, because I’ve driven Poster Boy most of the time”.   “If Ride High had have drawn the front I probably would have gone with him, but they will probably run 1:55.0 and Ride High will be off the track most of the way,” Alford said. “He is going to have to be every bit as good as we think he is.” Alford also had a difficult decision in the two-year-old colts and geldings, settling on Australian Pacing Gold winner Centenario (gate two) over well-hyped Stewart stablemate Hurricane Harley (gate one). “I’m probably on the wrong one there after the draw but I’ve driven him all the way through,” Alford said. “I started on Centenario and then Hurricane Harley improved, improved and improved. “It probably would have been easy to swap because of the barrier draw, but Clayton said in track work Centenario is a 20m better horse than Hurricane Harley, but Hurricane Harley improves on race day.” And then there’s decision three, where he’s stuck fat with last year’s Victorian filly of the year Nostra Villa over Speak No Evil. “Nostra Villa’s been good to me and is probably the more well-rounded filly. I drove her all last year, but come Breeders Crown it could be the other way around,” Alford said. “It’s a hard but it’s part of driving for a big stable, you can’t drive them all. I could have a really good night, I could go away disappointed, but all the horses got through their semis really well. These are the nights we all want to be a part of.”   Michael Howard

THEY'RE the superstars of Victorian harness racing at the moment. And it didn't take the powerful Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable long to leave their mark on today's Breeders Challenge finals with a lightning visit to Tabcorp Park Menangle. Beautifully-bred colt Hardhitter (Chris Alford) found the front and showed a tonne of courage to hold off his rivals and score the gutsiest of wins, scoring by two and a half metres from the unlucky Lochinvar Art (Luke McCarthy) with Muscle Factory (Lauren Tritton) a neck back in third place. Chris Alford doesn't know how to drive a bad race and had little hesitation working his youngster early to find the lead with a 28s first split of the mile. He then expertly backed off the speed with a 29.7 second split which left enough petrol in the tank for a sprint home in a last half of 53.9s (26.8 and 27.1s) for an impressive victory in the $100,000 Group One for two-year-old colts and geldings. Hardhitter (Mach Three-Grace Robinson) is owned by a big group of enthusiastic partners including former HR Victoria CEO John Anderson, who explained it was a special thrill to race a horse with such a fabulous group of owners. "There are so many people to thank, right from when Tanya and Ian Wood broke this horse in, Jacky Gibson and his mother Mary and the late John Gibson who bred this youngster and Peter Tonkin who put his hand up to buy him and keep all the other potential buyers at bay," grinned Anderson. "Actually I'm told this was the last horse that John Gibson bred before he sadly passed away. "Chris Alford, as usual, drove the perfect race and this was a special thrill to win on a day like this. "The Breeders Challenge and our own Breeders Crown day in Victoria are great days for the industry and success like this makes it ever more special."   Mandy Madern            

Having been given his name because he entered the world on wobbly legs Victoria’s leading three-year-old trotter’s title could become more associated with his behaviour. Despite chucking a wobbly out of the gates in last night’s Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series trotting heats, reigning champion Wobelee recovered to win his three-year-old colts and geldings’ heat. It was a challenging but ultimately satisfying result for trainer Alison Alford and driver Chris Alford, with the winner of 14 of 18 starts – who’s never failed to place – overcoming the early 20m advantage his mistake gifted his rivals at Bendigo. “He’s a bit difficult, but when he can go like he does you sort of put up with it,” Chris told Trots Vision post-race. “Bit more work to do to get him to be normal.” Wobelee was fractious in the lead-up to the race and galloped as soon as the gates opened but gradually recovered in the run to score by 3.8 metres from Anywhere Hugo and Aldebaran Pete. “We’ll just have to try and iron out some of his pre-race issues and go from there,” Alford said. “Ability-wise he’s as good as all the ones who have gone around and qualified tonight. Touch wood, apart from his canter out tonight when he just got a bit keen, his run was really good and if he does the same in the final he will be right there.” Chris Svanosio will also take a strong hand into the July 6 Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series trotting finals at Tabcorp Park, having not only had Anywhere Hugo the best of the rest behind Wobelee but also claimed the first boys’ heat with Kyvalley Finn. “Luckily this bloke was able to get out good enough to be able to get off the pegs after the start and work to the front,” Svanosio told Trots Vision. “He did it well. He’s never been out in front but he’s pretty tough and keeps fighting on. Now I just have to have him spot-on for the final.” The remaining colts and geldings' heat winner was Majestic Player, who led and held off favourite Lunchwitharthur, who recovered well after breaking stride early in the race. The victory was the first of a Majestic double for Yabby Dam Farms, with trainer Anton Golino producing a race-to-race double when another offspring of Majestic Son – Pretty Majestic – claimed the last of the night’s three-year-old trotting fillies' heats. Reinsman Jason Lee said Pretty Majestic, the Victoria Trotters Oaks winner, had a “good hit-out, she always improves after a run”. “She’s a pretty lazy type, which is a good thing to have, you don’t want to over-race them,” Lee told Trots Vision. “She did what she had to and hopefully she improves a bit – I’m confident she will.” The remaining fillies’ winners were two-year-old Vicbred champion Moonshine Linda for trainer-driver Gavin Lang and Moonlight Dream, who improved her record to six wins and five seconds from 14 starts with a win for trainer Andy Gath and reinswoman Kate Gath. “We decided to have a good crack,” Kate told Trots Vision after guiding Moonlight Dream to the front from the widest gate. “She has pretty good gate speed and as we know getting on the fence makes all the difference. “She has a habit of running pretty strong early. Once I crossed them I made sure I grabbed hold of her. I was really happy when I saw the lead time and the first quarter. “She’s a lovely little horse. It will be good to hopefully get things to go her way next week and she won’t be too far away." The Aldebaran Park Vicbred Super Series trotting heats conclude with Thursday night's four-year-old heats at Geelong before the attention turns towards Friday night's 12 pacing semi-finals in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series. Michael Howard

It may have been an all-too familiar sight for rivals at Maryborough today when reinsman Chris Alford and his two-year-old trotter produced an eye-catching win. Sleepee kicked off the Vicbred Super Series Aldebaran Park trotting heats at Maryborough on Monday with a romp from seventh at the bend to first at the line, with Alison and Chris Alford’s red-and-white silks making it impossible to avoid comparisons to last year's two-year-old Victorian trotter of the year Wobelee. Winner of the Redwood Classic at this track a little under 12 months ago, Wobelee’s owner-breeder Colin Murphy also bred Sleepee, who he has since leased to Alison and her mum, Vicki Woodhouse. Making her debut Sleepee was backed into $2.50 favourite for today’s opening heat and, after a quiet run at the back of the field, hit the line to win by a half-neck from Michael Hughes’ entrant Gatesys Alley. “It was a very big surprise,” Chris Alford told Trots Vision post-race. “She’s been trotting OK at the trials without showing a lot, but she sprinted home really well today, which will keep the wife and the mother-in-law very happy.” Expectations for the big filly, who is by Dejarmbro out of Safely Safely, were kept low-key despite the impressive win. “Hopefully she’s just a nice little racehorse and can pick up some prizemoney along the way,” Alford said. The remaining Aldebaran Park fillies' heat was won by Mario Magri’s polemarker and race favourite Georgias Pride, who beat Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic winner Fear The Yankee by a half-head. “She’s a lovely filly,” Georgias Pride’s reinsman John Caldow told Trots Vision post-race. “A natural two-year-old, she’s great to drive.” Today’s leading performers will advance to the VSS trotting finals at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday July 6, as will the victors of today’s colts and geldings heats. The first of those was claimed by Anton Golino’s Always Ready in Nathan Jack’s hands, having sat in in the breeze for the last lap and won by 6.8m from Zarem. It sets up a ripping final, with David Jack’s Home Grown Platinum winner Moreton Bay looming large having advanced to four wins from seven starts with today’s comfortable victory by 15.4m over Dream Mastar in the last heat. “Wide draw and I was quite happy with him,” Jack told Trots Vision. “He’s a big fella and he probably should be a better horse next year. He’s going on ability, not the manners yet that will come with it.” The Aledbaran Park Vicbred Super Series trotting heats continue tomorrow night at Bendigo when the three-year-olds step out, with the four-year-olds to follow at Geelong on Thursday. Michael Howard

Emma Stewart and Chris Alford launched into rare trots air with a stunning domination of tonight's Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series three-year-old heats. No Australian driver has bettered Alford's six winning drives at an Australian meet and Stewart's seven training wins see her join a shortlist that includes only Lance Justice (Globe Derby, 1989), John McCarthy (Albion Park, 2010) and Steve Turnbull (Parkes, 2014). Making the Stewart stable's feat all the more notable is that the dominance came just one night after she triumphed in five of the Vicbred Super Series' two-year-old heats. "It sort of speaks for itself, doesn't it," Alford told Trots Vision after Speak No Evil capped their magical night at Kilmore. "Probably four of those (12 wins) they had quinellas as well." It's the first time Alford has achieved six wins according to Harness Racing Australia records, making him the 20th driver to do so on Australian soil. Of those 20, none have matched Alford's six wins, two seconds and one third. But the first Southern Hemisphere reinsman to 6000 wins gave much credit to Stewart, her partner Clayton Tonkin and their tireless Ballarat team. "It just goes to show the work ethic and the way they present their horses," Alford said. "They have them right for these big series. "The owners pay a lot of money for these horses and want results. This is the time of year they have to be racing and they work really hard to get them right on these nights and the results are showing from last night and tonight." Stewart won four of the five colts and geldings' heats through Major Times, Liftntorque, Konan and Ride High, who produced a stunning 25.7-second final quarter to pip stablemate Poster Boy. It was Kasbah Kid who prevented the clean sweep of the boys' heats for Geoff Webster and Greg Sugars. "I nearly feel bad for upsetting the Stewart-Alford combination," Sugars joked to Trots Vision post-race. Nostra Beach, Nostra Villa and Speak No Evil won three of the four fillies' finals, with Ghadastar the exception, winning the first fillies' heat for Ahmed Taiba and Damien Wilson. CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT ALL THE WINNING DRIVERS HAD TO SAY   Michael Howard

It was yet another memorable meeting for Chris Alford at HQ tonight, the champion reinsman driving five winners on the 11-event card at Tabcorp Park Melton. “The Puppet” steered Big Jack Hammer home in the Yabby Dam Racing Trot for trainer Tim O’Brien, Anywhere Hugo to a stunning VHRSC Holmfield win for trainer Chris Svanosio, and a treble for champion trainer Emma Stewart – Kualoa in the Benstud Standardbreds Youthful Stakes for 2YO Fillies, Tell Me Tales in the Alabar Silver Chalice and Nostra Villa in the GBL Property Consultants Pace. “Driving horses like this makes it so much easier,” Alford said after the win aboard Nostra Villa in the last race of the night to cap his handful of wins. Nostra Villa was dominant in defeating a small field of three-year-old fillies, finishing 2.2m clear of Matthew Craven-trained My Harmony Blue in 1:57.4 for the 2240m. “She had it quite easy early but to break 27 on the way home is a pretty good job,” Alford said. Earlier, Alford had landed Group 2 success aboard Anywhere Hugo, which stormed home to score by a neck over Kyvalley Finn in the VHRSC Holmfield over 1720m. The Svanosio-trained trotter rated 1:59.1. Tell Me Tales never looked like losing the Alabar Silver Chalice, taking the lead off stablemate Flying Moth in the middle stages before holding that mare off in the home straight for a 1.8m win in a rate of 1:55.3 for the 2240m trip. Two-year-old Kualoa had 7.2m to spare on runner-up Larajay Macray in the Benstud Standardbreds Youthful Stakes over 1720m, the Stewart-trained daughter of Art Major defeating two valiant Jess Tubbs-trained youngsters – with Lady Rocknrolla (Larajay Macray’s stablemate) running third. The winner rated 1:55.8. Big Jack Hammer led from go to whoa in the Yabby Dam Racing Trot to hold off rank outsider Desert Flyer by 4.8m with Zhenya third, the mile rate for the race 2:00.9. Read why tonight's win of Rockabella Starz was so special to connections Other winners tonight were Stroke Of Luck for Kerryn Manning in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720m, holding off Dancingwithsierra by 3m in 1:56.2, Rockabella Starz in the Hygain Pace for Kari Males and Zac Phillips in 1:58.9 by a head over Platinum Power, Magical Marn in the Hyland Harness Colours Pace for trainer Adam Kelly and Phillips, producing an explosive finish to overhaul Solarsonic with Mach Cruiser in third (the rate for the 2240m trip 1:55.6), Moonrock in the Young Pedro Free for All for trainer Sonya Smith and reinsman Anthony Butt, who held off Bad Billy by a half-head in 1:54.6, boom two-year-old Lochinvar Art for Laura Crossland and David Moran in the Benstud Standardbreds Youthful Stakes for 2YO Colts and Geldings, which paced 1:57.3 for the 1720m trip to score by 3.2m over Fourbigmen, and Beach Skipper for Lance Justice in the TAB Multiplier Pace Final, going 1:56.4 over 1720m.   Cody Winnell

AUSTRALIA’S greatest pacer of the past decade, Lennytheshark, has run his last race. Connections made the call to bring down the curtain on his stellar career after the eight-year-old’s last-start third at Melton on May 26. They are deep in negotiations with at least three major studs for Lennytheshark’s next chapter in the breeding barn. Lennytheshark retires as one of the modern greats of the sport, a winner of 39 races, including the Inter Dominion, Miracle Mile and two Victoria Cups. And, remarkably, megastar driver Chris Alford has declared Lennytheshark the best horse he’s driven in his 35-year career … above even Golden Reign. “He’s the best. He stands alone now,” Alford said. “I’d always had him right up there with Golden Reign, but Lenny is the best because he came back year after year and did it at the top level. Golden Reign was cut down in his prime. “Look at that Miracle Mile. It’s up with the greatest wins I’ve been part of. He had Lazarus camped on his back and still held him off to win one of the world’s great sprint races. “I remember that race so clearly. Looking around and thinking to myself ‘uh oh, Lazarus is right on my back, how the heck can I beat him now.’ But Lenny found a way, it was incredible how deep he dug that night.” Lennytheshark started his career with John Justice and won a NSW Derby before going amiss and eventually making his comeback for David Aiken. Aiken zoomed him through the ranks, with Alford aboard, and into open-class where he was a key player for four years and THE dominant force for at least 12-18 months. Part-owner Martin Riseley said he, his father Kevin, and their family felt the time was right for retirement. “Dad (Kevin) and I are excited to confirm he’s been retired to stud,” Martin Riseley said. “What a ride it’s been and we can’t wait to see what Lenny can produce as a stallion on the back of his magnificent racing career. We hope that everyone can experience what it’s like to own a ‘Shark’.” “We are finalising where he will be standing at stud, so watch this space.” THE LENNYTHESHARK FILE 8YO entire. By Four Starzzz Shark out of Botswana (by Albert Albert) Record: 82 starts; 39 wins; 33 placings Prizemoney: $3,007,585 (6th highest all-time in Australasia) MAJOR WINS 2015 Perth Inter Dominion 2017 Miracle Mile 2016 and 2017 Victoria Cups 2013 NSW Derby   News Corp Australia Network Reprinted with permission of The Herald Sun

Wobelee is used to overcoming obstacles. Champion Aussie horseman Chris Alford says he can do that again from what looks a horror barrier at the Harness Jewels on Saturday at Cambridge. One of the best juvenile trotters produced in Australia, the now three-year-old will start from the outside of the front line in his $125,000 mobile mile, a draw almost certainly made worse by hot favourite Winterfell drawing the ace. But few Australian horsemen know more about beating the Kiwis, even on their home tracks, than Alford, who has won group ones at Addington and Alexandra Park as well as more than 6000 races in his homeland. And Alford is adamant Wobelee, trained by his wife Alison, can win. "I have watched a lot of videos of the locals and they are no better than him," says Alford in his matter-of-fact way. "Winterfell was good winning the Derby but went a 2:0 mile rate whereas my horse went the same mile rate winning the NSW Derby after galloping and losing 50m early. "I am not saying we are going to just turn up and win because it won't be easy but he is good enough to overcome that barrier." Wobelee has been overcoming obstacles his whole life. When he was born his legs were so badly conformed he couldn't stand for days. Hence, his name. He tends to need a little help along the way, as he can be cranky pre-start and will be spending the minutes before the score up on Saturday with an attendant or keeping the clerk of the course's horse company. "He is fine as long as he doesn't have to circle with the other horses and I have explained that to the stewards. "But he will be good as gold during the race and while we might have to sit parked to win, I think he can." Michael Guerin

It’s all about the ‘Young Guns’ of Tasmanian harness racing at present. Last week it was the state’s best bred three-year-old’s on display in the 6tyo Bandbox which was won by Nostra Beach and the Roberts Equine Supplies Globe Derby Stakes which was won brilliantly by Izaha. Both horses will be more than competitive in feature three-year-old races across Bass Straight in the final few months of the season. This week sees the “Young Guns” of the human variety in the spotlight with the first two heats of the 6tyo Youngbloods Challenge being held in Devonport on Friday evening before heats three and four in Hobart on Sunday night. The Stars Emma Stewart and Chris Alford – Victoria’s leading trainer and driver combined for five (including two track records) of the 11 winners in Launceston on Friday evening. It was the third time this season and the 11th time in his career that Alford has achieved the feat. It was the ninth time in Emma Stewart’s training career that she has prepared five winners on the one program. Nostra Beach – star three-year-old filly who easily won the Group 3 Bandbox. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere will be expecting her first foal this season by top sire American Ideal, after an embryo transfer took place during the past breeding season. Izaha (inside) holding of Feelin Dusty in the 2018 Globe Derby Final on Friday. Izaha – the Todd Rattray trained and driven pacer followed in the footsteps of his older half-brother Harjeet when he added the Group 3 Globe Derby Final to his resume. The son of Roll With Joe now boosts an impressive record of six wins from 11 starts. Mark Yole – told tasracing.com.au’s Live Stream audience that he was confident that he would hold the lead on Rocknrollhighlight and that the mare would be very hard to rundown. Yole’s plan paid off and the viewers that invested on the local tote would have been more than happy with the $20 starting price. Ricky Duggan – after driving four winners in Hobart the previous week, the master driver continued his brilliant form in Launceston with a driving double. Hannah Van dongen – warmed up for this week’s 6tyo Youngbloods Challenge with a win aboard Long Ago which now gives Van dongen a one-win lead in the states female drivers premiership. Multiple Winners Launceston – Friday Emma Stewart – five training wins and Chris Alford five driving wins; Ride High, Nostra Beach, Shes Magnetic, Another Safari and Perfect Major. Ricky Duggan – driving double; Falcon Harry and Mi Ju Dan. Ben Yole – training double; Rocknrollhighlight and Long Ago. Calculated Sectional Standouts Quickest last halves (800m) from last week’s action in Launceston on Friday. Nostra Bech 56.10, Ride High 56.70, Ideal Bliss 56.94, Feelin Dusty 56.99 and Shes Magnetic 57.01. View all Tasmanian Sectional Data here. Tasracing Official Price Launceston Hit’s: Izaha $2.60 into $2.00, Shes Magnetic $2.10 into $1.85 and Perfect Major $1.40 into $1.28. Defied The Drift: Rocknroll Highlights $13 out to $15, Another Safari $1.85 out to $2.50, Long Ago $7 out to $8 and Falcon Harry $4.40 out to $5.00 Missed: Scooterwillrev $3.20 into $2.80 and Regal Ashes $12 into $9.50. Black Booker Blossom Grant Debutant from the Scott Woods stable who has featured in the Trial File in previous weeks was a brave third on Friday evening. Driver Brady Woods positioned the daughter of Art Major one-out and one-back before making up good ground during the back straight quarter where she was recorded by the Tasracing Calculated Sectionals in 28.79secs. She battled on well in the home straight with her last quarter clocked in 29.12sec and was only defeated by a half head for second position by Karalta Moondance. Watch the replay here. Trial File Hobart on Monday Four-year-old entire Jaks Teller recorded an impressive 2:00.1 mile rate when winning the first trial of the night off a 40-meter handicap for the 2090-metre journey. The Juanita McKenzie trained pacer defeated Streetside Classic by 2 metres in a 59.5 last half mile. Other winners at the Hobart trials included; Resurgent Storm (2:01.6), Pezzamystic (2:09.2), Albayzin (2:02.9), Boris Bananas (2:05.7) and Dasher Houli (2:01.9). Devonport on Monday The Ben Yole trained Another Swinger resumed from a month away from the race track with a 2-metre win in a C2-C9 class trial. The mile rate 2:03.9 for the 2297-metre trip was clearly the quickest mile rate across the four trials held. The remaining three trial winners were; Hez The One (2:05.0), Smokey Mac (2:09.7) and Mister Last (2:07.9). Week Ahead The first two rounds of heats of the 6tyo Youngbloods Challenge will be held this weekend for the state’s best up and coming drivers. The first two heats will open the seven race card in Devonport on Friday evening. The drivers selected are Dylan Ford, Taylor Ford, Samantha Gangell, Matthew Howlett, Braden Howlett, Samantha Freeman, Wade Rattray (emergency), Hannah Van dongen, Brady Woods, Charlie Castles and Germain Boisrame. Boisrame is a 21-year-old driver who drove eight winners in his home country of France before moving out to Australia earlier this year where he has taken up employment with trainer-driver Todd Rattray. Alreadyy nicknamed “The French Man” amongst participants, Boisrame has been allocated the drive on the Craig Hayes trained Semowillrev in the opening heat. The talented three-year-old pacer has won seven races from 10 career starts and goes into Friday’s race off a last-start third in the Tasmanian Derby. Boisrame will drive the Kate MacLeod-trained Rattlenhum in Heat Two, who looks to be amongst the winning chances after the pacers top three placings in his last three starts. A further two heats of the 6tyo Youngbloods Challenge will be held on Sunday night in Hobart. The eyes of many harness racing fans will be tuned into the final race of the Hobart card to see the current star of Tasmanian harness racing, Harjeet, who is resuming to the race track for the first time since winning the Group 3 Raider Stakes in early May. The Todd Rattray trained and driven gelding is being aimed at the Vicbred Series which commences in late June. Rattray’s partner Lyrae Graham, owns star three-year-old Iganatius who will commence his NSW Breeders Challenge mission when he lines up in a heat at Penrith on Thursday evening. The James Rattray-trained and driven pacer has drawn barrier 2 on the second row in the eight-horse field that is due to start at 18:49. Havea look at horses with Tasmanian interest that are racing at metropolitan venues this weekend: Melton – Saturday night Race 2 – 12. Fowsands* Race 9 – 2. Isaac Menangle – Saturday night Race 6 – 4. Pachacuti* and 7. Blue Pointer* Race 8 – 6. Rykov Leis* *donates Tasbred horses.   Duncan Dornauf

Chris Alford didn’t just win the NSW Trotters’ Derby, but he learnt a lot about his megastar young trotter Wobelee ahead the Harness Jewels raid.  It was a rocky ride for punters who send Wobelee out a $1.60 favourite when he played-up just before the mobile start release point, galloped and lost more than 30m.  He quickly caught the field, weaved through some traffic and landed three back in the running line.  Alford launched Wobelee three-wide rounding the last bend and he zoomed clear to win by 7.7m in a 2min0.2sec mile rate for 2300m, capped by his own last quarter in 27.4sec.  “He’s got some tricks, but he’s never done that before at the start,” Alford said. “It might have been a blessing in disguise. It gave me the chance to follow them and drive him with a sit. That’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  “That could be the way to drive him going ahead.”  Wobelee certainly showed some sparkling change-up speed when Alford cut him loose on the final bend.  His return to winning form cements the NZ raid and Wobelee will join the other Victorian-based horses on a flight to Auckland the Thursday morning before the Jewels.  Wobelee won 12 races on end before a shock first-up defeat behind former Kiwi trotter Scallywag Sam at Kilmore last Friday week   Adam Hamilton

A shock first-up defeat has only fuelled Chris Alford’s desire to not only tackle the Harness Jewels, but win it with his superstar young trotter Wobelee. Wobelee’s 12-race winning streak came to an end when he found the lead early, but could not hold-off the winning sprint lane burst of former Kiwi trotter Scallywag Sam at Kilmore last Friday night. It wasn’t the lead-up fans expected going to Sydney for Saturday night’s $40,000 Group 1 NSW Trotters’ Derby at Menangle. “We’re confident he’ll be right this week. We’d been a bit behind with him going into Kilmore and he needed the run. It’ll bring him along nicely for Menangle,” Alford said. Wobelee is the Aussie TAB’s $1.80 favourite from gate six against a field lacking any real star power at Menangle. “There’s a group of locals, who don’t usually measure up, and Wobelee has had the measure of the other Victorians headed by One Muscle Hill,” Alford said. Speculation emerged after Wobelee’s first-up defeat that the Jewels trip could be in jeopardy, but Alford quickly dismissed it. “Nothing has changed. He’s going across. We’ve got everything in place,” Alford said. “He’s got the race in Sydney this week, comes home and then the plan goes to Auckland the Thursday before the Jewels.” Alford’s commitment with Wobelee at Menangle means he will again miss driving one of his favourites, champion old-timer Lennytheshark, at Cranbourne on Saturday night. Lennytheshark returned from a break with an epic second after doing all the work behind much-improved stablemate Im The Boss in the Shepparton Cup on April 28. David Aiken drove him at Shepparton and is expected to take the reins again from gate seven against a moderate bunch at Cranbourne. The race is sure to help shape Aiken’s mind around a possible Sydney trip for next month’s Len Smith Mile and even a Queensland Winter Carnival raid. Adam Hamilton

Even by champion driver Chris Alford’s stellar standards, this is a massive weekend coming up. Not only does Alford drive the odds-on favourite Centenario in harness racing’s version of the Golden Slipper, the $350,000 Group 1 Australian Gold final, but he also welcomes back his own stable star, young trotting sensation Wobelee. Wobelee is on a 12-race winning streak, ranks alongside any young trotters Australia has seen and is being set for a daring raid to tackle New Zealand’s best in the Harness Jewels at Cambridge on June 2. It is rare for young Aussie horses to race in NZ, but almost unheard for young trotters as opposed to pacers making the trip across the Tasman. “It’s an exciting opportunity. The NZ people have been fantastic to deal with and he’s going unless something unexpected happens in the next couple of weeks,” Alford said. Wobelee returns at Kilmore on Friday night then heads to Sydney the following weekend to chase his sixth Group 1 win in the NSW Trotters Derby at Menangle. “Then, all going well, it’s over to NZ from there,” Alford said. While Wobelee is firmly established as one of the best young trotters Australia has seen, Alford thinks two-year-old pacer Centenario possesses similar potential. “I’ve been asked where Centenario rates with the best babies I’ve driven and he’s right up with any one of them, that’s for sure. He’s a pleasure to drive. “Clayton (Tonkin, co-trainer) keeps telling me this is the race he’ll be primed for and I haven’t seen the best of him yet. “He’s drawn well in three, but you have to respect the two Sydney horses drawn inside him on their form (Hurricane Roy 1 and Muscle Factory 2).” Alford drove all four of Emma Stewart and Tonkin’s juveniles through their qualifying races for the Gold final. “I’m sure I’m on the horse to beat. I’d say Hardhitter is the second best of Emma and Clayton’s, but it won’t be easy for him from outside the back (row, gate 11).” TAB fixed odds on the APG Final at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night Trots Media - Adam Hamilton

Megastar Aussie trotter Wobelee kick-starts his Harness Jewels campaign when he returns from a spell at Kilmore on Friday night. Trainer-driver Chris Alford is adamant fans will see a more mature and sensible Wobelee than last season or his two-race cameo February/March this year. “He’s growing up and he’s not the handful he was,” he said. “It’ll be great to get him back to the races with some exciting times ahead. “He’s got this race then he heads to Sydney the week after for the NSW (Trotters’) Derby and then it’s over NZ for the Jewels. “He’s going to the Jewels. Something would have to go wrong over the next couple of weeks for that to chance.” Alford praised NZ officials for their contact and assistance around race starting procedures given Wobelee has been notoriously “tricky” in the score-up to his races. “They have been some professional and accommodating. They’ve promised an attendant will be allocated to Wobelee if that’s what we want. I wish all other clubs were as good to deal with,” he said. “Wobelee’s growing maturity, the assurances we’ve got from the NZ officials and the fact it’s pretty easy to get in and out of Auckland (for the Cambridge raceday) make the trip a very attractive one.” Wobelee boasts a 12-race winning streak – five of those at Group 1 level – but hasn’t started since saluting in the $60,000 Group 1 Need For Speed final (1720m) at Melton on March 10. Wobelee’s return launches yet another massive weekend for Alford, who also partners odds-on favourite Centenario in $350,000 Group 1 Australian Gold 2YO colts and geldings final (1720m) at Melton on Saturday night. Alford drove all four of Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s youngsters when they qualified for the final, but was always going to partner the unbeaten Centenario in the final. “He’s the best of their four and Clayton (Tonkin) keeps telling me we haven’t seen the best of him yet,” Alford said. “It’s like he’s been here before this horse. He’s such a complete package for a two-year-old. “I’ve been asked where Centenario rates with the best babies I’ve driven and he’s right up with anyone of them, that’s for sure. He’s a pleasure to drive. “He’s drawn well in three, but you have to respect the two Sydney horses drawn inside him on their form (Hurricane Roy 1 and Muscle Factory 2). “I’m sure on the horse to beat. I’d say Hardhitter is the second best of Emma and Clayton’s, but it won’t be easy for him from outside the back (row, gate 11).” Adam Hamitlon

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