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Former New Zealander Geoffrey Clout first got interested in harness racing as a teenager and over 20 years on, he's making up for lost time. Clout is based at Tyabb on Victoria's picturesque Mornington Peninsular and recorded his first victory as a trainer early last month with four-year-old mare My Superannuation. The pair then repeated the dose at Cranbourne last Sunday. To watch a video replay click here. "Her latest win was a big surprise. I still can't believe it, but perhaps she's turned the corner. She went way better than I thought she would," Clout said. Clout grew up near the Hutt Park Raceway in Wellington on the south-western tip of the North Island of New Zealand. "We were just a few hundred metres from Hutt Park, and my brother Phil and I went walking down to the raceway one day with our mother," he said. "We got to know a few of the guys there, including trainer Robert Woolley, and we ended up regularly giving them a hand before and after school. "It was a lot of fun and looking back on it, I'm pretty sure it kept us out of trouble. "I got a trainer's licence as an 18-year-old when I was over there. You had to go to what was called a cadet school at Cambridge and complete stablehand training blocks over two years," he said. "That was over 20 years ago, but the timing to train horses myself was never quite right. I never lost my interest, but I had to be patient!" Clout, who runs his own solid plastering and rendering business, said for a long time he didn't have land to pursue his harness racing interest. "But virtually as soon as we bought our 10-acre block, I started looking for a broodmare to get involved. And it obviously happened quickly because we've been in our house for five years and the first horse we bred is now a four-year-old!" he said. "I got my NZ licence transferred across at the start of this season and thought I'd give it a go with taking over her training. Simone Walker had her as a two and three-year-old and did all the early work." Clout kicked off his training career with an impressive second placing at Yarra Valley in early December. It was nearly four weeks before the pair reappeared to post the first of two Cranbourne victories. Clout said My Superannuation had tied up badly after her first run and he then had to modify her feeding and training routine. "We've only got a small 350 metre jog track on our property, so I float into Cranbourne, which is half an hour away, probably two or three times a week just to work the horse," he said. "I've got to know trainers like Dylan Stratford, Rick Cashman and some others who have been fantastic, so I've had heaps of valuable help along the way." My Superannuation (Mr Feelgood-Honeyrose (Partywiththebigdog) is handled by much-travelled junior concession driver Kyal Costello. Clout recently produced another horse to the races in three-year-old Tyabb Wonder (Mr Feelgood-Ezy Lady (Nuke Of Earl). The brown filly wasn't on her best behavior and finished unplaced after galloping in the run. "I sort of rushed her into the races. It was like the last throw at the stumps because both of the horses have been turned out now-my wife Rosie is expecting our second child," he said. "She is actually due this Saturday so there's more exciting times ahead," he said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Despite still suffering from injuries received in a freak accident nearly 12 months ago, there's absolutely no stopping champion Victorian harness racing trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. The Parwan-based horsewoman showed her brilliance with a well-timed run to storm home and claim the 2019 Group Two $60,000 Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup on Saturday night-her fourth victory in the prestigious event. Quinlan was driving six-year-old Emma Stewart-trained Phoenix Prince (Somebeachsomewhere-Classic Cathy (Classic Garry) for the first time but overhauled some of the gelding's more fancied stablemates in the run to the wire. "He didn't handle some of the corners all that well. He sort of rolled about a bit, but I made sure he was balanced up when we went into the final corner," Quinlan said. "Gee he sprinted hard over the final stages when he hit top gear. It probably wasn't a complete surprise because he was always travelling well." Phoenix Prince won by nearly three metres from Tam Major and Code Black. Then followed Hurricane Harley and Maraetai - unbelievably that gave Ballarat trainer Emma Stewart all of the first top five placings. Quinlan was sidelined up until a month ago after being kicked by a horse that took fright in the float parking area at Tabcorp Park Melton last Christmas Eve. She suffered three fractures to her spine, a lacerated kidney, muscle damage on her left-hand side and other injuries. After extensive rehabilitation, Quinlan said she was still finding it harder to do things that she once took for granted. "I'm still building up my muscle strength as well as my overall fitness. I sometimes wonder if I'm improving, but my doctors think I'm going great so that's the main thing," she said. Quinlan said with her partner Craig Demmler away in New Zealand competing in the Inter Dominion series with My Kiwi Mate, the workload at the stables had increased. Jodi Quinlan "There's now a few more horses to do, so my longtime foreman David Punch has been very busy and we also have another worker who comes in to help out," she said. Quinlan has previously won the Cranbourne Cup with Our Millers Road, The Warp Drive and Sting Lika Bee. "I actually had my first-ever trials drive on the Cranbourne track. I grew up at Drouin so I guess I classified Cranbourne and Warragul as my 'home' tracks," she said. "My parents were into the gallopers. Dad died when I was only very young, and mum kept going with them for a while." Quinlan's interest in harness racing stems from two uncles in Gary Quinlan and Geoff Walker, both competent and successful horsemen. "I'm not pushing myself and doing all that much driving. I have now landed two winners on my return so I'm pretty excited with that. To be honest I'm just happy poking along the way I'm going," she said. "But in saying that it was nice to pick up the drive on Phoenix Prince for Emma. I haven't driven for her for a while. Probably the previous time was several years ago." Quinlan is now hoping the success rolls on to next Saturday night when My Kiwi Mate, who has drawn the pole for Demmler in the $500,000 Inter Dominion Final. "Craig's desperate to have me over there. He reckons some of my luck might help him out big time. I'm still thinking about it, but there's so much work to be done at home. We'll see when the time gets closer!"   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

THERE were so many layers to the Cranbourne Cup story, but none better than Jodi Quinlan. It’s only a few weeks since Quinlan, a former Miracle Mile-winning driver, returned from horrific injuries sustained when an out of control horse wiped her out. And she teamed with the state’s top trainer, Emma Stewart, and the super-speedy Phoenix Prince to win last night’s $60,000 Group 2 Cranbourne Cup. Stewart had five of the 10 runners and was expected to dominate, but more so with buzz four-year-old Hurricane Harley and the emerging star Tam Major. They had to be content with second (Tam Major) and fourth (Hurricane Harley) while Phoenix Prince stormed home late to snatch victory in a 1min56.5sec mile rate for the testing 2555m trip. Hurricane Harley, took a sit on Tam Major and looked the winner halfway down the straight, but his run was short-lived and Phoenix Prince powered past them all. It was a fitting and magical moment for Quinlan. And Stewart’s dominance was surreal with her runners filling the first five spots across the line. On the same cards, last year’s Inter Dominion champion Tornado Valley was simply too fast and classy for his rivals in the Group 3 Trotters’ Cup. While potential Victoria Derby player and regally-bred Soho Hamilton won the Group 3 Caduceus Club Cup, something his famous brother Soho Tribeca did a few years back. _____________________________________________________________________________________ AS we head towards the Inter Dominion final it’s fitting last year’s pacing final winner Tiger Tara is starting his comeback. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto is thrilled with the superstar veteran, who was struggling for form and missed this year’s series in Auckland. “Everything just went wrong last campaign so we had to turn him out and start again,” he said. “ Ultimately, that really hard run second-up in Brisbane knocked the stuffing out of him and he didn’t recover. “He’s really well now. I’ve got the old horse back and he’ll have a private trial this week.” Pizzuto confirmed plans to raid Perth’s January riches, headed by the Group 1 double of Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. “I’ll have him very fit when he goes to the races. He’ll just have the one lead-up race at Menangle, hopefully over 2300m, then we’ll go to Perth a week or so before the Freo Cup,” he said. Pizzuto also confirmed a change of ownership for one of his brightest stable stars, Commander Kirk, who boasts nine wins from just 14 starts and already a 1min49.7sec mile win at Menangle. Cruz Bromac’s managing-owner, Danny Zavitsanos, now has a half share in Commander Kirk, who was previously raced by high-profile US duo Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks. “He’s a lovely horse with so much speed,” Pizzuto said. “He came a long way quickly last time in work, so we’ve given him a good, long break. I think he’ll make a Miracle Mile horse, but this year might come around a bit too quickly for him. He’s only now about to come back in from the paddock.” _____________________________________________________________________________________ ANOTHER star possibly headed for Perth is 2018 Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal. Tim Butt’s star grabbed the eye in a Menangle trial last week and is set to resume at the same track on December 14. Butt wants to get through the first-up run before deciding whether to tackle Perth or stay in Sydney and build towards another Miracle Mile assault. _____________________________________________________________________________________ STILL in WA and their Carnival continued to hot-up with a hugely popular win by Gotta Go Gabbana in last Friday night’s $125,000 Group 1 Westral Mares’ Classic (2536m). Owner-trainers Annie and Colin Belton wear their passion for the sport loud and strong and were thrilled when Gotta Go Gabbana broke a long run of bad draws to snare the pole. Top freelancer driver Chris Voak did the rest. “When she led easily it was pretty much over,” he said. “She’s a really hard mare to get past and, although the second horse (Our Alfie Romeo) did a good job, my mare won easily.” Gotta Go Gabbana ripped home in 56.1 and 27.5sec to win by 7.2m in a 1min57.3sec mile rate for the long trip. “I’m just thrilled for Colin and Annie. They supported me strongly about 10 years ago when I first started driving and continued even after I’d lost my claim. “And they gave me the drive on this mare when she was three so it’s special to win this big one on so many levels.” Having just his second run back from almost a year out due to a breathing operation, Greg and Skye Bond’s seven-year-old was simply too strong and classy. Emerging star Ideal Liner, also on the comeback trail, led, but Ryan Warwick made a mid-race move to sit parked. “He’s strong and versatile and I wanted to get Ideal Liner out of his comfort zone after he got the lead so easily,” Warwick said Galactic Star crushed Ideal Liner, who tired for fifth, and staved-off late challenges from the classy Vultan Tin and Ana Malak to win in a brisk 1min56.1sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip. Warwick will soon have to decide between Galactic Star or the exciting stablemate Mighty Conqueror to partner in races like the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. “Let’s keep ‘em apart for now,” he smiled. _____________________________________________________________________________________ NSW’s devastating bushfires led to a massive number of scratchings from last night’s Menangle meeting, but the star Kiwi still shone brightly. Hail Christian narrowly but impressively posted his second win from as many runs back in NSW in the Group 3 John Binskin free-for all. The Paul Court-trained five year-old blasted off the gate with the other favourite, Alta Orlando, in a blistering 25.5sec opening quarter then sat behind that horse. Another former Kiwi, Letspendanitetogetha, came and sat parked and put paid to the leader, but just couldn’t hold-off Hail Christian in a 26.6sec closing quarter. _____________________________________________________________________________________ QUEENSLAND’S Summer Carnival got serious when the classy Mattgregor won the Group 3 Be Good Johnny Sprint (1660m) at Albion Park last night. Trained by Chantel Turpin and driven by Pete McMullen, Mattgregor took full advantage of the pole draw to lead and just held-off Dream To Share to win by a head in a 1min52.5sec mile rate. Veteran Mach Alert grabbed the eye in third spot. The other feature of the night, the Members’ Cup, was dominated by Grant Dixon, who rushed home from his luckless Inter Dominion campaign with Colt Thirty One. Dixon trained the trifecta and drove the winner, the exciting Governor Jujon, who ran down buzz recent Kiwi import Virgil in closing splits of a 55.5 and 27sec. _____________________________________________________________________________________ THE fantastic story that is Kima Frenning added another chapter last Friday. Frenning’s 250th driving win came aboard Rocknroll Ronnie at Melton, meaning she has out-driven her claim. Sure the claim helped Frenning get loads of early opportunities, but she’s now cemented with some of Victoria’s leading stables and success will continue to flow. It’s remarkable when you consider Frenning came to Australia from Sweden a few years back to work as a stablehand and, hopefully, drive in a few Monte (saddle trot) races. “I don’t know what to say. Of course I could never have imagined this and I have so many people to thank,” Frenning said. Frenning also just missed in the main Melton race of the night, being beaten a half-head aboard Emma Stewart’s Somerocksomeroll behind $31.90 outsider Keayang Ebonyrose in the Melton Mares’ Championship.   Adam Hamilton

Victoria’s training ranks will be bolstered by a welcome addition to the Cranbourne Training Centre, with experienced South Australian trainer Scott Ewen kicking off a new chapter from September. A chance meeting with vigilant Cranbourne club officials at the Mildura Cup Carnival in April this year planted the seed and it took only a few more conversations to seal the deal. “It was actually on the river cruise on the Friday night,” Ewen said. “We had a bit of a chat and went from there.” He is no stranger to Victoria, having only 10 years ago returned with his family to South Australia after a stint as stable foreman for trainer Lance Justice. “I just started having too many horses myself and the kids were getting homesick (for South Australia), so we went back,” Ewen said. “But one of my daughters is 19 and pretty advanced in her dancing career, so she probably needed to move to Melbourne or Sydney.” The advantages of the Cranbourne Training Centre made the decision an easy one. “The club made me an offer that was too good to refuse,” Ewen said. “There’s a treadmill, a bungee pool, fantastic walking machine, everything’s state of the art." He said the main track was available seven days a week for fast work, "which is great", and there are two other tracks to work on. "If you couldn’t train winners there there’s something wrong.” Only two horses will make the trip with the Scott and wife, Kylie, including stable star Bulletproof Boy. “He’s won 20 races; he’s our champion,” Ewen said. “He might have had to come here for the faster class races anyway.” The Cranbourne club will provide additional support, potentially giving the stable some of its Club 21 horses to train. “I think they have some babies I might be able to train,” Ewen said. “I’ve got a few other mates who are keen to race down here – we’re only likely to train about a dozen, then we can be more hands-on, so it won’t take long for the stable to fill up. “When you’re out there performing and the horses are doing well that’s all the advertising you need. We’re looking forward to the adventure.” Club president Bill Hutchison said it was “with great pleasure" they welcome Ewen to the Cranbourne Harness Training Centre. "Scott and his family are steeped in harness racing tradition and he has already made a significant impact in the training ranks in South Australia," Mr Hutchison said. "Our club wish them success with their new venture.”   Lucy McCormick HRV Trots Media

Popular Pearcedale trainer Bill Walker passed away at the weekend after battling serious health issues over the past few years. A talented horseman, Bill produced a string of top performers over many years including Lombo Sykrider, Stoned At Midnight, Charley’s Dream and Stoned I Am and is credited with putting the early polish on Hectorjayjay. He was also an active member of the local harness racing community and, fittingly, a funeral service celebrating Bill’s life will be held this Thursday February 14 commencing at 1.30pm on the first floor of the Cranbourne Racing Centre. Cranbourne Vice-President David Scott said "Bill was the consummate professional". "He was a quietly spoken man and was never one to get carried away even when his team got on a roll," Mr Scott said. “He always seemed to have a nice horse in his team and did so without ever having a barn full of expensive blue-blood types. I think that speaks volumes about his horsemanship. “Bill was also a wonderful supporter of our club and could always be relied on to throw in a late nom if we were struggling for fields or help out with a horse or two for a dual-seater sulky race when the need arose. “I’m sure that those who remember Bill fondly will join us at the track on Thursday to farewell one of harness racing’s gentlemen." The Cranbourne Harness Racing Club and Harness Racing Victoria extend their condolences to Bill’s wife Nell, his daughters Simone and Trudy, and all family and friends.   Trots Media  

As good as Pats Delight has been during this Inter Dominion series trainer Cran Dalgety admits he is probably running for second tonight. And that will be fine by him as the heats of the series draw to a conclusion at Cranbourne. All five heats, two for the trotters and three for the pacers, have red hot favourites and it is hard to make much of a case for any of them to get beaten. Tornado Valley (first trotting heat) and Speeding Spur (second) look set to lead and win, with more interest in which one draws inside the other for next Saturday's final when the draws are made on Monday morning. The pacing heats also have three hotpots, two of them Kiwi-trained in Spankem (first of tonight's pacing heats) and Cruz Bromac (last) while Tiger Tara looks like leading and winning the middle heat. But while Cruz Bromac is expected to do the same, he at least has a quality fellow Kiwi opponent in Im Pats Delight (Aust name), who has been one of the surprise packages of this series and has emerged as one of maybe only five winning chances in next Saturday's A$500,000 final. "He has been super and is thriving over here," says Dalgety about the Canterbury four-year-old. "I'm glad we made the choice to come, it was very up in the air at one stage, because he is loving the racing style here and I think the trip will make him." After smashing his opponents, and the clock, winning his heat at Ballarat on Tuesday it is impossible to completely dismiss Pats Delight even from his second line draw over the 2555m mobile but Dalgety is realistic about the task ahead. "Cruz Bromac looks the leader and to be honest the winner," he says. "And the way he is racing and knowing Natalie (Rasmussen) won't hand up there is no point us taking off and sticking it to him mid race. "So we might end up parked and if we did then second would probably be a good result." Cruz Bromac is looking to go through the heats unbeaten and his already high chances improved when veteran Franco Nelson, who looked his only rival for the lead, was scratched out of the series yesterday. While four of tonight's hotpots should lead and win the most interesting heat tonight should be watching how Spankem overcomes his second line draw. He has at least some genuine competition in fellow heat winners Wrappers Delight and Galactic Star but if he races up to his two huge performances in the series so far he should win and could even be close to favourite for the final should he draw well on Monday.   Michael Guerin

The door is slightly ajar. Queensland pacer Mattgregor still has a chance of qualifying for the Gr.1 $500,000 TAB Inter Dominion Grand Final at Melton next Saturday. He sits right on the precipice. But the Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen trained gelding needs a top three finish in the final round of heats at Cranbourne tomorrow night (Saturday) to stamp his ticket to the big dance next week. And then rely on other results. “I suppose we’re still in the mix to sneak into the final but he needs to race well this weekend to show he deserves his place in the final, a top three finish would propel our chances of qualifying. We’re in the final heat so at least we should know what’s required to get us into the final by that stage.” Turpin said. Mattgregor sits 16th, currently ranked on 14 points. On the opening night last weekend, Mattgregor was responsible for a tidy 7th after starting from a nasty second-line draw and covering ground over the concluding stages before finishing 5th on Tuesday night after having his chance on the speed. Mattgregor will start gate two in the 2555m event tomorrow night but faces series favourite Cruz Bromac  from the stables of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Cruz Bromac has drawn gate four and is listed at $1.09. “It was a pass mark for his opening heat but probably a shade disappointing on Tuesday night given the trip he got, Pete’s drive was extremely good and deserved a better result. “This is his best draw this weekend and hopefully we can sit handy on the pace again, an ideal scenario would be to lead and then hand over to Cruz Bromac which would give us every opportunity for a top three finish. “He’s handling the series quite well, we’ve always looked after him since he first arrived and we were a little unsure how he would cope but all signs are good right now. Three runs in a week at this level is intense. “If we qualify, well that’s great and a super proud moment for the family but if we don’t, the consolation will be the focus and hopefully we can take that home.” The last Queensland trained pacer to qualify for an Inter Dominion Grand Final was Avonnova; the triple Queensland Horse of the Year finished an unlucky 4th behind Lennytheshark at Gloucester Park back in 2015. The only Queensland trained Inter Dominion winner is four times champion Blacks A Fake, the greatest pacer of all time! Chris Barsby

Cranbourne hobby trainer Rick Cashman doesn’t have a TAB Inter Dominion runner tomorrow night, but if he wins the metro maiden (Race 1) with his gelding Dansbro, it’ll feel as good as a Group 1. “It’d be a huge thrill for three reasons,” Cashman said. “Firstly it’s at my home track. Secondly the fact that it’s an M0, that’d be an absolute dream. Thirdly, it’s Inter Dominion night and will be in front of a crowd.” Cashman is based at Cranbourne Training Centre, where harness trainers are based on-course with access to state of the art facilities and a knowledgeable training community. “It’s great, everyone there helps each other out,” Cashman said. Re-live Rick Cashman's winning salute from last month  Cashman has trained 15 winners and driven three in his career to date. In the sulky aboard Rosanna Raider, his most recent winner, Cashman gave one of the great salutes as he crossed the finishing line. “If you’re going to do it you have to do it properly,” he said. Cody Winnell Trots Media

NIGHT THREE - CRANBOURNE The heavy three nights of racing could have a vital effect on many of those horses wishing to make the Grand Finals on Saturday week December 15. Whilst a certain number have already earned enough points to make the cut, there are fringe liners who will be desperate to gain entry and MUST perform well on Saturday. PACERS:  HEAT ONE Judging on what has been seen on the first two nights, Spankem (9) looks head and shoulders above his rivals. His run at Ballarat on Tuesday was outstanding when a 2.4 metre third from mid-field to Wrappers Delight. This horse just keeps on improving. Galactic Star (10) was also a great effort when third to Cruz Bromac after going forward from last racing for the bell to park outside the leader Audi Hare entering the straight with a lap to travel, before taking a sit on Cruz Bromac. This tough WA stayer is certainly in the mix. Maximan (5) has been the surprise packet of the series and only needs to finish close up to make the final. He appears to be the leader from the nice gate and should be there at the finish. Joes Star Of Mia (1) will be given every opportunity to place from the pole and is in the mix for trifecta takers. Wrappers Delight (8) was an all the way winner on Tuesday and from his inside second line draw, should receive a sweet passage and is a distinctive place proposition. Magical Marn (5) had every chance to place on Tuesday after a cosy trip, finishing 18.2 metres in arrears of Wrappers Delight and is probably better suited over a shorter trip. HEAT TWO Two of the big guns are likely to fight out the finish of this heat, with ever reliable Tiger Tara (4) going forward to take the lead away from Audi Hare (2) which may have trouble with the journey. San Carlo (11) has had no luck whatsoever with the barrier draws and unfortunately has to contend with the extreme draw on this occasion. Bec Bartley will have no option but to circle the field at some stage and put him in the race. Avoiding bad luck, he looks likely to qualify. Cant Refuse (1) finished his race off well from three back the markers when a 3.7 metre second to Im Pats Delight after getting clear late. He too should receive a cosy passage on the markers and could easily make the final. Other rough place chances to Our Uncle Sam (8) which raced wide in the last lap on Tuesday and Mach Doro (9) who is usually close up in most races he contests. HEAT THREE Likely series favourite  Cruz Bromac (4) looks head and shoulders above his rivals in this heat. A most impressive victor in the two heats run so far, Natalie Rasmussen in all probability will aim for the front and should be able to get it with fast beginners Mattgregor (2) and Franco Nelson (3) inside him certain to take a trail. Im Pats Delight (8) should gain a soft trip along the markers and be running home strongly at the finish, looking the logical quinella chance. Multiple cups winner Im The Boss was a strong third to Im Pats Delight after breezing on Tuesday and may have to do the same here. Cash N Flow has been close up in both runs since a third in the Geelong Cup and shouldn’t be far away at the finish. Polemarker Hickstead can at times fly the gate and should he do so, is in with a rough place chance. TROTTERS: HEAT  ONE Unbeaten Tornado Valley (4) a flyer from the gate looks like leading once again and will take no end of running down. Maori Law (3) had no luck at all on Tuesday after being snookered four back the markers before breaking in the home straight when hampered. He must be forgiven for that outing and from the nice draw looks one of the main place chances. Polmarker Save Our Pennys now trained by veteran Graeme Lang  has performed well in both heats with two seconds and is again in the mix for quinella backers. He should receive the run of the race. Tough Monarch (9) will need luck to go his way after drawing behind a slow beginner, however his form through the series has been very good. Sky Petite (11) has drawn horribly, but this sharp sprinting mare could easily place after coming off a cold sit. Red Hot Tooth (6) was disappointing on Tuesday after a soft passage three back the markers when a 9.2 metre fifth to Tornado Valley. Alderbeck (8) is a rough trifecta hope. HEAT TWO Kiwi Speeding Spur (2) who will be at very short odds gets his chance to atone for a game 2.6 metre third to Tornado Valley on Tuesday after racing exposed following an all of the way victory on opening night. Old timer Kyvalley Blur (5) turned his dismal opening night performance around when a stylish winner at Ballarat, storming down the outside to prevail in a track record 1-55.6. Head strong Illawong Armstrong should receive a cosy trip from the pole, however the distance could tell over the concluding stages. Enrolled (3) battled on strongly when fourth beaten 3.6 metres by Kyvalley Blur after racing exposed. He can easily place here. The same could be said for Rompers Monarch (4), Kingdom Come (7), Big Jack Hammer (8), Fabrication (9) and Monty Python (11).   Harness Racing Australia

CRUZ Bromac will be raging hot favourite to complete a cleansweep of the Inter Dominion heats after drawing superbly for the third night at Cranbourne on Saturday. The All Stars’ runner led throughout on night one, made a midrace move to sit parked and win easily last night and should lead throughout again from gate four at Cranbourne. Another Kiwi, Im Pats Delight, looks the only real danger, but he will need plenty of luck from an inside back row draw (gate eight). Cran Dalgety’s four-year-old has looked terrific with a second on night one and fastest-of-the-night win at Ballarat last night. Cruz Bromac’s stablemate, Spankem, is flying, but faces another tricky draw (gate nine) in his Cranbourne heat. It’s a fascinating heat with the three class runners all drawing the back row. Wrappers Delight (gate eight) and Galactic Star (10) the others. Long-time Grand Final favourite Tiger Tara has finally drawn well in a heat and looks a standout in his Cranbourne heat from gate four. Audi Hare looks the early leader from gate two and would happily trail Tiger Tara, who will relish the draw and the 2555m trip. Major rival San Carlo drew awfully outside the back row (gate 11) and now needs a top four finish to be certain of making the final. In the trotting series, big guns Tornado Valley and Speeding Spur will dominate betting in their final round heats. Speeding Spur, who sat parked and ran a brave third to Tornado Valley at Ballarat last night, drew superbly in gate two over the longer 2555m trip and Cranbourne in a heat lacking depth. He looks set to either lead or work to the front with Kyvalley Blur (gate five) and the emerging, Big Jack Hammer (eight), the others with winning chances. The other Kiwi, Monty Python, drew awfully in gate 11. Tornado Valley should complete a cleansweep of the heats after drawing gate four in the second of Saturday night’s heats. Save Our Pennys, who has finished second to Tornado Valley in both heats so far, has the pole and should trail Tornado Valley again and the only real danger. The other key player in the heat is Maori Law, who ran a slashing second to Speeding Spur on night one then galloped and finished last on night two. Kiwi outsiders Alderbeck (gate eight) and Wilmas Mate (10) will struggle. Adam Hamilton Click here for the third night ID18 fields

KIWI trainers can breath a little easier with Australia’s top trotter Tornado Valley staying home instead of raiding Cup Week in Christchurch. Trainer Andy Gath and owner Norm Jenkin tossed the decision around for two days after Tornado Valley’s stunning Cranbourne win last Saturday night. “In the end, we’ve decided to stay home,” Gath said. “The two major reasons are he’s not a good traveller and it’s a big trip from Melbourne to Sydney by road then fly to Christchurch. And we’ve also got an Inter Dominion and the Great Southern Star still to come in our own backyard. “He travelled a better to Cranbourne (about two hours from Gath’s Long Forest stable last weekend), but it’s a lot bigger ask getting him across Christchurch. “You know me, I love to tackle the best races anywhere when we’ve got the right horse, but this time we’re better staying home and focusing on the Inter Dominion given it’s just around the corner.” Tornado Valley made it 12 wins from just 16 Aussie starts for Gath when he produced a career-best performance in the Group 3 Chris Howe Trotters’ Cup (2555m) at Cranbourne last Saturday night. Best known as a front-of-the-field horse, the gelding showed his versatility by sitting back and coming with a big, sustained run in the last lap to blow away many of Victoria’s best trotters. His speed blitz including a privately-time 26.9sec split from the 800-400m and powered clear to win by 13.5m over talented mare Sky Petite and top class veteran Kyvalley Blur. “We were thrilled with him. He’s come back really well. He had to do plenty of work in the last lap, but he ran away from them in the end. And that’s saying something given how well Kyvalley Blur has been going,” Gath said. Kyvalley Blur ran another solid race for third and his Christchurch raid remains on target. Adam Hamilton

Tiger Tara’s NZ Cup raid is bang on target despite a narrow defeat in last night’s $50,000 Group 2 Cranbourne Cup. The recent Victoria Cup winner did all the work outside the leader – the emerging San Carlo – and went down by a just half a neck in a blazing 54.8sec last half around a notoriously slow track. It was a mighty effort given it was Tiger Tara’s fourth start in as many weeks, including his second round trip from Sydney to Melbourne. And it came the same night he was crowned NSW Horse of the Year. Now it’s full-stream ahead to the NZ Cup. While most eyes were on Tiger Tara, the top prize went to emerging Victoria pacer San Carlo, who has been specifically set for the Inter Dominion by co-trainers Steve O’Donoghue and Bec Bartley. San Carlo won a heat of the Perth Inter Dominion last year and despite being an eight-year-old, has been sparingly raced, essentially because he’s been such a slow maturer. He’s won both runs back from a long spell and 23 of his 35 career runs. Bartley took the reins on San Carlo and showed intent from the start when she pushed forward to take the lead from speedster Audi Hare then steady the tempo, forcing Todd McCarthy to circle the field to sit parked on Tiger Tara. They scorched down the back straight in 27sec flat, but as hard as Tiger Tara tried, San Carlo kept answering and staved him off. Another emerging star, Shadow Sax, charged home from near the rear to finish a close third. It was a fantastic content and showed all three will be major Melbourne Inter Dominion players. ____________________________________________________________________________________ GOOD to hear powerful WA stable “Team Bond” is planning a two-horse raid on the Melbourne Inter Dominion. Greg and Skye Bond have been major players in the past three home state Gloucester Park Inter Dominions and have never been afraid to travel. Stable rep Ryan Warwick said proven open-class player Galactic Star and the emerging Vampiro had been set for Melbourne. Galactic Star, who won a heat of last year’s Inter Dominon and ran fifth to Lazarus in the final, is about to return from a short break. “He’ll be back in a week or so and, given he’s more experienced, he’s probably our main hope for Melbourne,” Warwick said. “Vampiro went through the grades really quickly and now, after a few runs at open-class, he’s settling into it. His last win was terrific.” The only issue for the Team Bond – and any other WA trainers – is the availability of suitable flights back to Perth after the Melbourne series given the December 15. Cargo space is at a premium with so much Christmas “luggage.” ____________________________________________________________________________________ A BRILLIANT Shannon Suvaljko drive helped Tommy Be Good to a big upset win in the feature race at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Suvaljko, renowned for his marker peg genius around the tight track, extricated Tommy Be Good from three pegs in a solidly-run Parliamentarians Cup to finish over the top of them and win as a $29.90 outsider. Heavily-backed favourite King Of Swing was in trouble soon after the start when unable to lead, then dragged back to last behind another horse trapped three-wide. Driver Stuey McDonald made a three-wide charge with a lap to go, but King Of Swing was spent before the home bend and dropped out sharply to run last. The other buzz runner, Mitch Maguire, was stuck in traffic, had no luck at all and charged home when the race was over for sixth spot. ____________________________________________________________________________________ TEAM Tritton’s fantastic strike rate with Kiwi imports continued at Menangle last week. Recent import Bridget Blue Chip looked fantastic winning at third run for the stable in slick time after sitting parked. She ran a 1min51.7sec mile. “She’s got better with each run and went super the other day. Not many can go that time sitting parked,” co-trainer Shane Tritton said. “She’s another one the owners just rang us and asked if they could send her across.” Team Tritton was also prominent at the NSW Horse of the Year awards in Sydney last night. They were the leading metro stable and picked up two of the horse categories: Muscle Factory 2YO colt/gelding of the year and My Rona Gold the Aged pacing mare.   Adam Hamilton

Jayne Davies has held aloft many cups on the trotting track during her hugely successful training career. This weekend, the massive Collingwood fan is hoping her beloved Magpies will do the same on the MCG. The Clyde horsewoman, a long-time Collingwood cheer squad member, said she would be at the ground cheering on the Pies in Saturday’s AFL decider after watching the team’s preliminary final win against Richmond on Friday night. “At half-time we were all just looking at each other – we were in shock, we couldn’t believe what we were doing to them, the reigning premiers, you know,” Davies said. “It was a big thrill, that’s for sure. But (this week) isn’t going to be easy (as West Coast) are a great side, it is going to take a mighty effort.” Davies’ connection to Collingwood is made even stronger by the fact she has trained several horses part-owned by former champion player and present coach Nathan Buckley. She said the pair, who have raced the likes of All I Can Be, Hurricane Jett (named after Buckley’s son Jett) and Stone of Destiny (with captain Scott Pendlebury), connected through an unlikely phone call – which meant Davies took some convincing she was actually talking to him. “One of my owners was playing in a charity game at (Crown) casino, we’re going back 20 years ago or so, and I had always been a Collingwood supporter and he rang me and said ‘I’m sitting next to one of your idols, Nathan Buckley’,” she said. “I said ‘oh yeah’ and he put him on. I thought it was a joke. So Bucks was talking away and I said ‘it’s not really Bucks is it’ and he was saying ‘yes it is’. “He was asking about the horses and said ‘I wouldn’t mind getting a share in one, I will give you a call tomorrow’. “I thought it was one big joke. The next morning he did ring me, we got talking, I realised it was him and I met him. I said I have a little two-year-old here (Hurricane Jett) that I owned and he was rapt to (buy) into him.” Davies said she had been a cheer squad member for “a long time” and often travelled with the group interstate. “I have made a lot of friends; there’s a group of us, we went to Perth and we sit behind old Joffa,” she said. “He is a nice guy who does a lot for charity that people don’t realise. He is very passionate. Bucks calls Eddie ‘Joffa in a suit’.” Regardless of the Grand Final result, Davies will be looking to make the weekend a winning one at Cranbourne trots, where she is racing four horses – Baccarat and Melchoir in the Hyland Harness Colours, British General (Seelite Windows & Doors Pace) and Magical Times (Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup Sat 27 October Pace). She said last start winner Melchoir was her best hope. “He is going really well; I couldn’t believe his odds last start, he was $34 in the paper, as he was always going to be in the trail and so was going to be every chance,” she said. “He won quite easily in the end, so he is probably our best chance.”   Shaun Campbell

The Queensland Derby plan remains in place.   Former New Zealand three-year-old Duplicated kept his unbeaten Australian record intact following a breathtaking victory at Cranbourne in the Woodlands Stud Heat Pace last week (Thursday).   The Dean Braun trained gelding obliterated the all aged track record when rating 1:55.8 for the 2080m event.   He posted sectionals of 30.4, 30.2, 28.2 and 28 seconds. With the winning margin posted officially at 34.5 metres, it could’ve easily been further if driver Nathan Jack chased him along or even pulled the ear plugs.   Duplicated will start this Saturday night at TABCORP Park, Melton in the $10,000 Nicola Pace Final and will again start a clear favourite after landing gate two in the 2240m event.   “That was pretty awesome last week because it wasn’t a good night weather wise and he definitely wasn’t full tilt given his plugs didn’t get popped. He’s got amazing speed and he’s very strong, the trip to Brisbane for the Queensland Derby next month is looking good.” Braun said.   Following three starts for Braun after being purchased from the All Stars stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen in Christchurch, Duplicated is shaping as one of the finds of the season with many features still to come.   The Queensland winter carnival is the obvious target followed by the Australasian Breeders Crown in August.   And given his heightening powers still rising, a trip west at the end of the year for the rich Perth four-year-old features at Gloucester Park is another possibility.   Braun is no stranger to success in Perth with feature race victories including the Gr.1 $125,000 McInerney Classic with Chancellor Cullen (2012) and Chilli Palmer (2013) plus the Gr.1 $125,000 Westral Mares Classic in 2015 with Nike Franco.   “He was purchased with the Queensland Derby as a primary target and things are progressing well, we’ll reassess things after he starts again this weekend.   “I’m happy, Nathan is happy and most importantly, the horse is happy so here’s hoping for a strong winter campaign. There’s no doubt that local star Colt Thirty One is the horse to beat in Brisbane.”   At this stage, Duplicated won’t start again after this weekend before heading north.   Interestingly, Nike Franco and Shartin, both graduates of the Braun stable will clash this weekend at Mohawk in Canada in the $370,000 Rose Are Red.   The mares feature is part of the undercard of the North America Cup program.   Both Nike Franco and Shartin enjoyed tremendous success with Braun and both previously won the Queensland Oaks.   Chris Barsby

Great camaraderie and access to first-class facilities make Cranbourne's trots training centre a terrific place to toil, Mick Hughes told Beyond The Gates. The leading Cranbourne trainer, who spoke to Jason Bonnington for Trots Media's program that takes viewers into trainers' stables, has spent four years at Cranbourne Harness Racing Club's facility and said "things are just building". "It has been really good," Hughes said. "We've got a good group. If you ever get stuck or need a hand or you want to work two or three together there is always a Simone or Terry or Casey or Rick to help out and jump in and drive one for you. If you are home alone, you often think gee I wish I had a couple more here to work with." WATCH: EPISODE FOUR OF BEYOND THE GATES FEATURING MICK HUGHES Hughes said since he arrived at the Cranbourne facility, which sits in the south-west corner of the tri-code racecourse, his stable had increased from 10 horses to 18 and he had benefitted from accessing the club's shared facilities. "They've got the swimming pool, walker and the treadmill, which (Cruisin Around) spends a bit of time on when he's jogging, otherwise you jog him in the cart he doesn't really relax as much. That's where having those things is very handy." Cruisin Around returned on Saturday night and ran a stoic sixth from his back row draw in his Tabcorp Park Melton trot, when he was returning from an almost seven months spell. Hughes spoke fondly of the five-year-old in Beyond The Gates. "Apart from the first week, he was just A1," he said. "As much as he can be a real pain in trying to gear him up ... as soon as you get him in the cart he is just a totally different horse. "Every time you wanted to do some work he just did it with ease. He gave you a really good feel and has gone on with the job." Previous episodes of Beyond The Gates: Episode one: Kari Males Episode two: Brent Lilley Episode three: Steve Cleave Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Due to a major electrical fire at Cranbourne, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) today advised Sunday’s trots meeting has been transferred to Tabcorp Park Melton. “Unfortunately the magnitude of the electrical fire at the club means we are not able to run Sunday’s meeting, so we appreciate the co-operation of Tabcorp Park Melton who have agreed to host the meeting in the interests of the industry,” Cranbourne Club CEO Neil Bainbridge said. Click here to view the alterations to race distances due to the transfer Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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