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Another pacer looks set to take a step in the right direction for Mick Gadsden, who’s latest reclamation project strides on to the track at Shepparton tonight for her first start, an achievement that's no small feat. Supremely bred Sporting Model makes her debut in the Equine After Care 3YO Maiden Pace tonight, something of a milestone for her owners, including trainer Shaun McNaulty, who snapped her up at the 2018 Australian Pacing Gold sales. The Art Major filly is out of 27-time winning mare All Eyes On Me ($349,926), which makes her a full-sister to Breeders Crown Graduate winner All Eyes On Us ($307,515). However, that royal breeding hasn’t yet shone through. McNaulty recently handed the three-year-old to Gadsden, hoping the latter's extensive experience as a farrier could overcome the prospect’s early difficulties. “She had a few tries with Shaun and was getting on her knee a bit,” Gadsden said. “He decided to send her to me to try and get her sorted out.” Two months on and good progress has been made, including a competitive third placing in a Stawell trial on July 1. Gadsden said being a professional farrier made it much easier for him to continually experiment with different practices to overcome the pacer’s troubles. “I can work with her, make changes and little adjustments, trial and error,” he said. “I think we have got the knee knocking under control and am pleased she is starting to look like a racehorse.” It’s not an unfamiliar situation for the Charlton trainer, who is one half of Mickbeigh Racing, along with partner/driver Denbeigh Wade. “Nearly all the better horses we have had have come with foot issues, including King Denny and Ainthatrightmacca,” he said. “It’s definitely a challenge I enjoy and it can give you an edge to be able to shoe your own horses and fix things there and then.” Having said that, his expectations are modest for Sporting Model in tonight's third race, which streams at 6.23pm on Trots Vision. “She is quite a large horse for a three-year-old, well over six or seven hands, and is a little slow picking things up,” Gadsden said. “She definitely has a race in her, but it may take her four or five races to learn what it takes to be a racehorse. Being the size she is and the issues with her knee knocking she has lost a bit of conficence, but I feel she is improving each time.” Gadsden will also race Markleigh Caz tonight, with the consistent six-year-old mare contesting the Saddleword Shepparton Pace. “She’ll need the run. She lost out a bit when the Maryborough meeting was called off. She needs to race once a week to stay in race shape, so she’ll be a run short,” Gadsden said. “She draws awkward, but she will run an honest sort of race.” Markleigh Caz is a consistent race day presence for the stable, which has recently relocated to Charlton’s training centre and is thriving. “We’re up to working 12 now with another due to come back in,” Gadsden said. “We have had a few wins and King Denny was good first up and will be in at Shepparton on Saturday night. “There is a Charlton meeting next Monday and we are looking to have three or four there, and it will be good to get out on the new home track.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Tests have found Lochinvar Art was suffering a “minor viral infection” during Saturday night’s Ballarat defeat, with trainer-driver David Moran confident it will only be a short-term hiccup. The reinsman joined RSN927’s Gait Speed to reflect on the third placing behind Major Times and My Kiwi Mate in the Flying Horse Takeaway Pace, which was billed as a final hit-out before a superstar showdown with Ride High at Shepparton this Saturday. That clash is now on ice, with Moran saying Lochinvar Art required short-term treatment. “He was a bit flat on the night, he sort of wasn’t himself and obviously we found a few little issues that we need to rectify there,” Moran told RSN. “He had an elevated heart rate, which can mean a few things – can mean soreness, can also mean a virus or a respiratory problem. “Sunday morning we scoped him to make sure he hadn’t had a bleed and that came back all clear, done a bit of a lameness exam on him and that came back reasonably good. And then we also run a bloods and yesterday afternoon the bloods came back about five o’clock and they were a bit ordinary. “He’s got a viral infection. All we can do there is give him a few easy days and treat him accordingly with antibiotics and whatever else he needs, and get him right.” Moran said the setback had put immediate plans on hold, but “I’d say he will bounce back pretty quickly”, and that includes no ill effects for the approaching Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup on October 10. “It won’t affect him in anyway whatsoever, it’s a minor viral infection – it’s nothing too serious or too major. It’s not ideal, but something we can fix and probably a short-term fix rather than a long-term fix. He will be back very quick and doing everyone proud.” CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE TODAY’S EDITION OF GAIT SPEED     Harness Racing Victoria

Trainer-driver David Moran took Lochinvar Art behind enemy lines in Ballarat on Saturday night, but it proved a hostile experience for the four-year-old with local Major Times overpowering the Victorian record holder. Next weekend's planned showdown with superstar Ride High is now on hold after Moran's entire endured a tough run and was eventually beaten into third place in the Flying Horse Takeaway Pace. Moran told Adam Hamilton that Lochinvar Art had pulled up mildly lame in his off front leg and with an elevated heart rate following the 6.7-metre defeat. "I'll get him fully vetted tomorrow and we'll go from there," he said. It was a "teammate" of Ride High's Cardigan stables that landed the knockout blow. Emma Stewart-trained Major Times scored a long-odds triumph after pressing forward to sit outside Lochinvar Art at the bell and then out-toughing him in the run to the line. Driver Jodi Quinlan got to work early on Major Times, but he responded to head Moran's charge early in the home straight and then fended off a late challenge from My Kiwi Mate to score by three metres. The early burn might have been telling for Lochinvar Art, who was bustled forward early by Moran from barrier 12 and took until the end of the back straight the first time to eventually find the front. The lead time was a sharp 41.0 and he had nothing left in the tank after quarters of 29.3, 30.5 and 28.7 as the field zipped home in 27.7. "He did a power of work early. Didn't think we'd have to do that much. A 41 lead time is like a 26 quarter," Moran said. Major Times, who is raced in part by Ride High's owner Peter Gleeson, has now won three on the trot and taken his career record to 18 victories from 41 runs. Dubbed the smiling assassin in the post-race interview, Quinlan couldn't have been more proud of her horse. "This horse is a very good horse and (Stewart's partner) Clayton (Tonkin) has always said that. He told me basically to drive him fairly confident tonight and thought he was fairly forward," she said. "He was winning those races in (regional racing) at Melton and I think people just sort of thought he was probably beating second-raters, but he ran some phenomenal times when he did do that and he proved tonight that he's up there with the good ones, don't worry about that."   HRV - Tim O'Connor

There's been plenty of winning and potentially more to come but it's been an emotional few days for John Justice, who lost a special young pacer to a heart-breaking bacteria. Justice, who takes a team of four to Tabcorp Park today, forecast the health battles of Time Served last Friday and, despite receiving treatment in Werribee, the unraced colt lost his battle on Sunday. "He was a really promising young horse and it still brings a tear to my eye talking about him now. We were devastated on Sunday - it was a hard day to get through," Justice said. "They are like family in the end when you have them for so long. He just kicked out and got a little cut on his back leg and it was the end of his life. "It was a bacteria and it went through his system and we couldn't save him. He was in at Werribee on Friday morning and on Sunday morning they rang me and said he passed away." In an interview on TrotsVision last week at Tabcorp Park Melton, the Toolern Vale trainer-driver spoke about the irony of stablemate Justice Served putting in a courageous winning performance as his little brother fought for his life. And now he's hoping that horse can make it three wins on end in today's Allied Express Pace (1720m) at the same track. Justice Served, who is out of the same mare (Keepers Daughter) as the late Time Served, is likely to start favourite in the rating 68-79 event after back-to-back front-running triumphs in fast time. Justice has four runners engaged on Friday's card and there's plenty of hype around one of those in particular. Hatchback returned from a spell in dominant style at Melton last Friday and goes in search of career victory number seven in the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m). Justice said he gave the son of Angus Hall a break following his win at Melton in May with an eye towards some features races later in the year. "I just decided that it was a good time because otherwise he'd just keep racing and really there's no plan. We like to have a bit of a plan with him and that was put him out, bring him back, give him a few runs now and then maybe give him another little short break and have him ready for the good races if they eventually do go ahead," he said. "I wouldn't say he'd be the best one, but he's right up there and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he improved a bit more and he was dominant for a while. "I just think maybe as he gets a bit older that might happen, when he gets into the older feature races."   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Participants are advised that Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has adjusted its August racing calendar to minimise the requirement for travel within Stage 4 areas during curfew times. Tomorrow’s Mildura and Melton meetings have swapped timeslots, with Mildura to night and Melton to be run as a day meeting – and this will remain the new-look Friday setup for the remainder of August. Cranbourne’s Sunday times have also been adjusted to finish earlier. All Cranbourne and Melton meetings will be scheduled to finish before curfew. HRV takes this opportunity to ask participants to observe some simple measures that will minimise harness racing’s footprint in Stage 4 areas and help protect the community against the spread of the virus. If you must travel through a Stage 4 area, please: Ensure your vehicle has sufficient fuel before you enter a Stage 4 area to avoid unnecessary stops within that zone; Bring food with you to avoid unnecessary stops within that zone; Ensure you are always carrying your HRV licence card, permit, and letter from HRV as you are likely to be asked to produce this if stopped by police. Those participants living just outside Stage 4 areas who are required to travel through a Stage 4 area due to harness racing activities may require a letter from HRV confirming this. If you are one of those participants who will be frequently travelling through those areas and you have not yet received a “letter of registration confirmation” please contact the HRV Customer Service Team as soon as possible on hrvcustomerservice@hrv.org.au. Please continue to observe all HRV’s COVID-19 protocols, which can be viewed at our website. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to looking after each other and the community during this time.   Media enquiries: cwinnell@hrv.org.au   Harness Racing Victoria

Isn’t it nice when a plan just works. That’s certainly been the case for Shayne Eeles, who with family invested in a broodmare and two generations on continues to reap rewards. The Rochester trainer’s colt Allshookup continues an eye-catching three-year-old season tonight, when he steps out for the Saddleworld Shepparton 3YO Pace, which streams at 6.04pm on TrotsVision. A winner at consecutive starts before a last-start eighth when he overraced, Allshookup has impressed his trainer in his second campaign. “He seems to have a bit of bottom too him,” Eeles said. “I have a high opinion of what he can do.” It’s an educated opinion that was fostered under the tutelage of Barry Purdon, whose camp Eeles joined as an 18-year-old. He remained there for almost seven years, spending nearly half the year on the road helping Purdon rack up winners with the likes of Holmes D G and Surprise Package, before returning to Victoria and training in his own right from February 2001. A tick over six years later, with wife Roslyn and her parents Robert and Jenny Viney, Eeles purchased broodmare Teen Talk and her one-year-old foal, who would become Ballandella Baby, off breeder Peter Gleeson. “It’s a super family – that Hot Foot-Larrakeyah Lady family,” Eeles said. “The family keeps landing winners.” Teen Talk’s great grand-dam is Hot Foot, dam of Larrakeyah Lady, who has in turn produced rivers of pacing gold. Among her foals are Safe And Sound ($995,606), Massarua ($282,692), Gold Rocket ($393,387) and The Good Times ($201,024) to name a few, while descendants include Rocknroll Magic ($466,183), Major Secret ($464,872), Beauty Secret ($425,921), Lovelist ($222,889) and a five-year-old up and comer they call Ride High ($259,427).    In the case of Eeles’ purchase, Teen Talk’s produced eight winners, with Ballandella Baby the second most prolific for wins (11) and stakes ($84,000) before being retired for a broodmare career. “She did a good job, was a good mare for us,” Eeles said. “Getting her up and going, winning a few nice races and breeding a good one out of her, I enjoy that sort of thing – educating horses, giving them time, watching them develop. I get a kick out of it.” Ballandella Baby was pared with A Rocknroll Dance for her second foal, Allshookup, who has his 12th start today. His second campaign has delivered much of the $15,010 stakes his banked, having chased Vicbred Super Series success as a two-year-old but with a win on Humbletonian Day at Maryborough the only time he finished better than eighth in his initial six starts. “I probably made a blue and threw him in the deep end as a two-year-old,” Eeles said. “It probably didn’t help him, but he had qualified well and trialled well. “I only do a handful of horses and he hadn’t worked with other horses much. It was a little too much too early and he was chasing his tail a little. I battled with him last year, I always thought a lot of him, but he was never 100 per cent.” Allshookup had a tick over eight months on the sidelines before returning at Shepparton on June 19 with a fourth placing, which was followed by a second (June 29), two victories (July 6 and 19) and a last start eighth. “He had a really good break, I brought him up slow this time and got a proper preparation into him. He is not a big horse, but he is a strong little bloke, a good pacing horse and does his work well. “Doing a fair bit of work doesn’t bother him too much.” He led all-the-way to comfortably produce his two victories this time in, before overracing last start which he paid for late. “The occasion got to him a little too much the other night and he fired up and that cost him in the finish,” Eeles said. “I have changed gear a little bit, taken the block blinds off to get him to relax, switch off and do what (driver) Chris (Alford) wants him too.” Tonight Allshookup is drawn outside lead rivals Monterei Heaven and Hesty but still likely to advance to a forward post. “There is a little bit of depth there, a couple who go good enough. I think this little bloke, if he is on his game and relaxes, he will be right in it. “He will probably go forward. I don’t give Chris too many instructions, I wouldn’t worry if he relaxed him off the gate, but he will probably go forward.” And a good performance and continual maturation could have Eeles against chasing Vicbred Super Series success come year’s end. “He probably won’t have a lot of time off between now and the end of the year,” he said. “The sires stakes are the plan. He probably needs to get a bit more seasoned. I won’t overrace him and he might need a freshen up, but I would like to give him three to four more runs, get him more seasoned and build his confidence. “If he measures up to the better ones I will press on. I think he is pretty capable of doing a job. I like him, hopefully he keeps stepping up.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Harness racing will resume in Victoria tomorrow night with the scheduled Shepparton meeting. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will not reschedule today’s cancelled Maryborough meeting and participants who had horses engaged will receive compensation. HRV cancelled the Maryborough meeting immediately after being made aware of a potential participant COVID-19 close contact shortly before the first race. HRV CEO Dayle Brown explained there was only one option.  “We acted immediately. There is only one choice when you cannot be certain of the circumstances surrounding this virus – people’s health and wellbeing is top priority and will remain so,” Brown said. “We communicated to participants immediately and commenced enquiries. I am comfortable with the great work of our team conducting these enquiries and the processes that guide them.” After enquiring into the circumstances surrounding the participant who is a potential close contact, four people were identified as having had some incidental contact with this participant in recent days. The four individuals will not attend race meetings or interact with industry participants until the test result from the potential close contact is known. The potential close contact and the four individuals did not attend Maryborough today.  HRV takes this opportunity to remind all participants and staff that if they or their family members have any symptoms or are feeling unwell, getting tested and isolating are the only courses of action. HRV is comfortable after making enquiries that no other participant or staff member is at an increased risk of contracting the virus.   “Our protocols, which have guided us through this virus to this point, remain in place and must be adhered to all times. I cannot stress this enough. Our stewards are ensuring compliance and I thank the industry for the way they have looked after each other in recent months,” Brown said. Some of the protocols that have been in place at Victorian harness racing tracks in recent months include observing physical distancing measures at all times, restricting attendance to required licenced people only and essential staff, declaration forms upon entry, temperature testing and mandatory wearing of masks or a face cover at all times. The protocols can be viewed here. Media enquiries: cwinnell@hrv.org.au   Harness Racing Victoria

A night at Melton doesn't get much better for young up-and-coming drivers than the one Kyal Costello experienced on Friday. The 19-year-old ticked off three significant career milestones from his book of six drives at Victorian harness racing headquarters. Costello scored victory with Mario Azzopardi's Radical Major in the Woodlands Stud Pace (1720m) and then captured his first-ever double at a single meeting when taking out the Breckon Farms Maiden Pace (1720m) with odds-on favourite Charisma King for trainer Peter Peacock. Costello then picked up his maiden metropolitan winner aboard Delightful Jazz for his new master Freddy Taiba in the $20,000 TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m). That success also completed a breakthrough treble in the gig. Costello, who now lives and works at Taiba's Sunbury property, went awfully close to making it four with stablemate Zoliver, who just fell short in the Nevele R Stud Pace (1720m). "It was really good," Costello said of Friday night's results. "It was a shame I couldn't get the last over the line for the fourth, but what can you do?" Costello, whose father Brad is a hobby trainer, has been working for Taiba for the past fortnight and says he is keen to try and make a career in the sport. "If I can keep progressing the way that I've been going, I think I might be able to make a living out of it. That's the goal," he said. Costello's big night at the office didn't land him outright driving honours, however. He was forced to share that honour with John Justice, who scored victories with his horses Pippo Nien, Justice Served and Hatchback. Much was made about the return of Hatchback to the races and he didn't disappoint. After stepping cleanly from the standing start, the four-year-old Group 1 placegetter made a one act affair of the Alderbaran Park Trotters Handicap (2240m) with a dominant front-running success. His 14-metre triumph was the sixth of his career. The win of Justice Served, who narrowly held off Zoliver, was also a special one for the stable. "I reckon he did that run tonight for his little brother... he's in Werribee Hospital fighting for his life," Justice said on Friday. "It was ironic Justice Served went so good tonight for his brother." Justice's treble also secured him training honours on the eight-event card. Racing will return to Melton next Friday night.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

There’s a real swagger in the step of Sunbury trainer Freddy Taiba regarding the chances of his striking stallion Zoliver returning a winner this evening. The four-year-old horse has not been seen at the races since a fourth placing at Tabcorp Park Melton in early May, but his master is confident of a first-up success in the Nevele R Stud Pace (1720m). "He’s first up but the short trip will suit him and he’s got a good barrier. We’ve got a young up-and-coming driver on him (Kyal Costello) so he’s learning as well, but I’m quite bullish about his chances actually," Taiba said. "He’s been working pretty well at home against pretty good class horses and running time. He’ll be pretty spot on. Naturally he’ll improve, but I’m expecting a real forward race from him." Taiba said there hadn't been any issues with Zoliver during his time on the sidelines and expected him to roll to the front from his barrier two draw. "You've got to take advantage of the barrier so that would be most likely," he said. The horse is named after the children of Taiba's brother Hass, with Zoe and Oliver combined to make Zoliver. And while he has already won five races - most recently the listed J & A Mazzetti Eastern Challenge at Kilmore - Taiba is expecting plenty more from the bay son of Mach Three. "He's a smart animal and he's just taking a little bit of time, but he's definitely right up there with some of the better ones I've had," he said. "He's only a lightly raced four-year-old stallion so he's got a big future ahead. The penny is starting to drop with him now, he's just starting to learn what it's all about. "He was competitive against the likes of Lochinvar Art, Demon Delight, Malcolms Rhythm and all that, so he will definitely come back better and stronger this prep." While Taiba says Zoliver is the best chance of his five runners on Friday night's Melton card, he also likes stablemate Our Road To Mecca in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m). "I'm extremely confident she'll bounce back this week," he said.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Retiring Harness Racing Victoria steward Barry Delaney has had a wide-ranging chat with Paul Campbell for the latest edition of Tooth Be Told, which celebrates the much-respected steward's life in the trots. The must-listen interview takes us across three states and some memorable moments that have helped shaped this great sport in Australia.   CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN IN:   Trots Media - Harness Racing · Tooth Be Told: Barry Delaney   Harness Racing Victoria

Like a number one draft pick in the AFL, the title of ‘sales topper’ follows a horse throughout its career, with high expectations to match the considerable excitement about its progress. Muscle Hill colt Aldebaran Knox, out of Skyvalley’s half-sister Aldebaran Kyvalley, carries that crown, having lured a winning $90,000 bid at the 2018 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale from trainer-driver Matt Craven. Tonight at Ballarat the now three-year-old colt continues his mission of transforming potential into prizemoney when he steps out in the Decoglaze 3YO Trotters Handicap, which streams on Trots Vision at 5.58pm. “He stood out when I saw him (as a yearling) at the farm and I knew he would attract a lot of interest,” Craven recalls. “Muscle Hill’s were pretty hard to come by at that stage. I thought he was worth a decent crack and was lucky enough to secure him. “He has probably taken a little longer than I’d like, but I have been pretty patient. He is a big horse and is still growing.” His four starts to date have produced a debut win and a second placing early in his three-year-old season, before returning for a second campaign last week at Ballarat when fifth while struggling for a run in the dying stages. “You put the pressure on yourself because people trusted your judgment to invest in a horse like him and you want to get them a return,” Craven said. “He has terrific owners who have all been super patient, super supportive. “He shows some nice ability. Last week didn’t go to plan, this week will be a new scenario from the standing start. This campaign is all about racing craft and to season him for the better races coming up.” While Craven said he expected Aldebaran Knox would “start to come into his own” as a late four-year-old “because he is such a big horse”, he was already “more than capable of mixing it with the best horses” and so Derbys, Vicbred Super Series and Breeders Crown were all “on the radar”. But first there is tonight, which is not without its challenges, being Aldebaran Knox’s first standing start. “He has been OK at trials,” Craven said. “At home he has shown he can handle it, but with a full field it could be a different situation. As a rule he is a sensible horse. “I just want to see him get away safely and relax in the field and, unlike last week, have the opportunity to win.” Craven said his biggest threat would likely come from Emmett and Richard Brosnan’s last start winner Homonym, who’s “improved a lot and is very nicely bred”, being by Majestic Son and out of A Touch Of Sun, a half-sister to Sundon and mare of King Denny ($298,914). Craven will also take a trio of two-year-olds to Ballarat for the PETstock 2YO Pace, with October Reign, Vin Dan and Magic Masterpiece making up half the field. Notably, October Reign and Vin Dan ran third and fourth respectively in yesterday’s Sign Online 2YO Maiden Pace. Of October Reign, Craven said the “big, strong” Sportswriter colt “just needs racing” and had no concerns running him in consecutive days. “His racing’s been OK, nothing outstanding but OK,” he said. “He didn’t have a lot of luck (yesterday), but I expect him to back up and go well.” And of Vin Dan, he said the Captaintreacherous colt “is limited at this stage and needs favors in the run, but he will improve”. “The main aim is probably South Australia’s Southern Cross sires series.” And then there’s debutant Magic Masterpiece, an Artspeak colt out of Lady Blanchett. “He is an interesting little horse. He has got a lot of nice owners from around the district and he’s a top little coot, there’s something about him,” Craven said. “If he gets a bit of luck he will be running on.” Rating his three two-year-olds, he had October Reign on top for tonight's clash due to his “racing experience and then Magic Masterpiece, who could just be one out of the box”. TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Join hosts Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden serve up Talking Trots on Track from 11am-1pm on SENTrack on 1593AM in Melbourne, 1539AM in Sydney, 657AM in Perth, 801AM in Gosford, 96.9FM in Ingham, 99.1FM in Atherton and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app. The good oil from the Vic trials circuit Ballarat, R4 N6, Fightnfury Settled three back on the markers, moved away from the inside with 300m remaining and came out three horses wide on the home turn when he sprinted home too well. REPORT Ballarat, R5 N11, Machstique Undefeated in two starts and hasn’t raced since March. He took out the second trial from CROWN ROYALE. REPORT   HRV - Michael Howard  

Chicago Bull's extraordinary return to top flight form has fuelled anticipation of some terrific Grand Circuit showdowns and trainer Gary Hall Snr isn't shying away from a potential eastern seaboard assault with his star. Hall Snr joined Gareth Hall on RSN Central on Tuesday and flagged the possibility of Chicago Bull making a run at Victoria's A. G. Hunter Cup and New South Wales' Miracle Mile, buoyed by the eight-year-old's stunning return to form at Gloucester Park.   "Yes, there is" the master trainer said of Gareth's question as to whether there was a chance they'd take Chicago Bull across the Nullarbor. "I'd love to take him over after Christmas for sure," Hall Snr said. "The (October 10) Victoria Cup, I'd say, is off the radar now because of the restrictions that are going to be in place to get him there. "I'm thinking after Christmas we could go over to Sydney or to the Hunter Cup, those sorts of races. It's a definite possibility as long as he's in the form that he's in now, which I can't see why he wouldn't be." Chicago Bull has thrived in a series of enthralling battles in recent weeks, producing performances and setting times that has Hall Snr believing he's back to his best and has left behind the horrific injuries suffered in New Zealand, where he broke eight vertebrae. "Ever since I brought him back this time I thought he was going to get somewhere near his best," he told RSN 927. "He's now jogging in a straight line rather than crabbing, that fetlock hasn't bothered him at all again, he looks in really good shape and I don't think he's gone much better than in that race on Friday night." And for that reason the door's ajar for the horse he labels "a true champion", having won more than $1.85 million, to take on the likes of Victoria's Lochinvar Art and Ride High and New South Wales’ King Of Swing. Hall Snr spoke highly of the potential rivals, saying Lochinvar Art in particular had "proved himself". "He's a class horse, he's got speed, he can face the breeze - all the attributes of a champion," he said. "Ride High, we all know he's got the speed, he's had problems keeping up a preparation, that's because he goes that fast he's probably doing injuries to himself along the way, but he looks a magnificent horse. If he can sustain that sort of speed in a 2500-metre race like a Hunter Cup or something like that, there's no doubt he probably has the potential to be the best horse in Australia, but he's still got a way to prove that I feel. "We need those champions racing at the top level and plenty of them. We need all those big horses on the big stage, it would be a great race King Of Swing, Ride High, Lochinvar Art, Chicago Bull, all those types of horses, Self Assured, all of them in the same race would be phenomenal to watch.” CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW:   Harness Racing Victoria

Australasian Premier Trotting Sale 2013 graduate Agent Maori will line up for start No.148 at Menangle today. The eight-year-old gelding by Federal Flex out of Windsongs Maori has enjoyed a terrific career, which kicked off as a two-year-old. He is now ninth on the all-time list of APTS graduate earners. The juvenile quickly made an impact for trainer Ross Graham, winning his first two starts in 2014 before taking out a heat of the Foundation series at Menangle as a three-year-old, going on to run second in the $16,000 Final behind Fiery Mountain Girl. Agent Maori finished in the top-five money at 11 of his first 12 starts, winning five of those races and finishing fifth in the Group 1 New South Wales Trotters Derby. From July 31 to September 11 in 2018, Agent Maori won five races from seven starts – including a career-best 1:55.8 victory over The Male Model. In more recent times Agent Maori has placed at eight of his last 10 starts and is knocking on the door after a last-start second behind Major Thomas on Saturday night. Agent Maori’s record stands at 147 starts for 13 wins and 36 minor placings – for prizemoney of over $121,000. One of the secrets of trots ownership is the durability of the standardbred. You simply get more fun for your buck as most trotters when fit and in work can back up far more often than thoroughbreds. The best example of this in the business is mighty mare Fear Not – the fifth highest-earning APTS graduate. Fear Not (pictured below by Stuart McCormick) was purchased early at APTS 2014 – Lot 1 in fact – and she went for a song to Glenn Conroy for just $4000. The daughter of Skyvalley-Aldebaran Maori has gone on to earn $161,935 from 192 starts. On Thursday she lines up at Ballarat in Race 6. Fear Not is the queen of consistency. She has won seven races, placed second or third on 60 occasions and placed either fourth or fifth a further 73 times. So, 140 times out of 192 Fear Not has finished top-five. Bonny as. All the best to this week’s APTS graduates, a list of which you can view below this article. Note, this list updates daily and will continue to update as more fields are drawn. APTS graduates in action in coming days are:   Tuesday July 28 MELPARK MAGIC @ ALBION PARK (Race 2) ALDEBARAN LEROY @ BENDIGO (Race 2) KYVALLEY KYRIE @ BENDIGO (Race 2) KYVALLEY CATWALK @ BENDIGO (Race 4) ALDEBARAN CRESCENT @ BENDIGO (Race 6) GAP YEAR @ GLOUCESTER PARK (Race 6) HAMMERS LAW @ GLOUCESTER PARK (Race 6) JADE NIEN @ KILMORE (Race 1) QUICK WITTED @ KILMORE (Race 5) HEY LISTEN @ KILMORE (Race 6) COME AT ME @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 1) DO BALL @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 1) AGENT MAORI @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 3) Wednesday July 29 BLACK CAT CLAW @ SHEPPARTON (Race 6) MISS TIPSY @ SHEPPARTON (Race 6) ALDEBARAN ROCKY @ STAWELL (Race 5) DICKO DIXON @ STAWELL (Race 5) Thursday July 30 GLENGARRIFF @ BALLARAT (Race 2) CALEDONIAN SPIRIT @ BALLARAT (Race 2) ALDEBARAN KNOX @ BALLARAT (Race 2) THE GIRLS GOTFLAIR @ BALLARAT (Race 6) THE SUMMER CAT @ BALLARAT (Race 6) FEAR NOT @ BALLARAT (Race 6) Friday July 31 HATCHBACK @ TABCORP PARK MELTON (Race 8) Saturday August 01 BALL PARK @ BENDIGO (Race 2) MARVELLOUS MAX @ BENDIGO (Race 7) MAR PACIFICO @ BENDIGO (Race 7) HOTJANE BLING @ TABCORP PARK MENANGLE (Race 8) Visit the new-look APTS website for more information on the annual APTS sale, including Harness Racing Victoria's special 'sales day special', which sees yearlings purchased eligible for the industry leading Vicbred program, the Need for Speed series and the Breeders Crown for just $1000 – a saving of over $500. Earlier this year the Victorian Harness Racing Club announced it had signed a partnership with the APTS and Australian Pacing Gold which will deliver up to $900,000 in financial benefits shared between owners and trainers of APTS purchases.   HRV - Cody Winnell

The township’s more famed for its gold deposits than its orchards but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in Allendale. The Stephens have long called the central Victorian town home and they build on that family tradition tonight at Bendigo, with trainer Adam Stephens having connection to four runners, three bred by his dad, Allan, from mare Alberts Belle, three he trains and three who carry the family’s maternal name, Wingate. “It’s just something nice to build upon,” Adam said of the family’s traditions. “I wanted to keep the generation of Wingates going on, it’s a symbolic thing of who and what we are.” Adam’s trained in his own right since 2014 but, along with his brothers Jon and Jamie, helped his dad and trainer Allan long before that. Tonight’s sibling connections also extend to their horses. Mare Village Safari is something of a stable star but the odd one out, with two-year-old Ruby Wingate, four-year-old Wingate Guy and seven-year-old Iamawingate all lightly raced, all out of Alberts Belle and all bred from the family’s Allendale property. The farm was purchased by Allan 40 years ago, but the family had been ensconced at Allendale since long before. James Wingate departed Scotland in the 1880s and settled in the township, and the seamen’s chest he brought over on the ship now houses his great-great grandson Adam’s rugs. The harness racing involvement began almost 60 years ago with Adam’s father Allan, who was in turn well supported by his mum, Ruby. And it’s Ruby Wingate whose surname inspired the ‘Wingate’ brand that has been prominent since Wingate Boy, who was foaled in 1977 and winner of three of his 51 starts. The tradition continues tonight with three Wingate runners, including two-year-old Ruby Wingate, who will race for trainer-driver David Barbetti. “She’s a lovely little filly,” Adam said. “She’s been a little bit underrated. At Stawell she was checked three times in running and still ran on for fifth. I think she can go quite well (tonight).” Ruby Wingate (pictured) contests the Alabar Bloodstock 2YO Maiden Pace, to stream at 6.30pm on Trots Vision, building her racing education ahead of a tilt at the Vicbred Super Series at year’s end. The fact she carries the full name of Adam’s grandmother shows the regard the stable holds her in. “My grandmother was a very big-hearted woman,” he said. “She worked with dad and the horses into her 80s. “That was why I named her after my grandmother – for Dad. She is a very big-hearted filly and I thought she carried the heart of my grandmother, to be truthful.” Ruby Wingate is by Union Guy out of Alberts Belle, with the dam purchased in 2010 from John Campbell along with a foal at her foot. That foal would become Union Belle, winner of $76,835. Alberts Belle has produced three more foals since, all of whom race tonight. The oldest is seven-year-old Iamawingate, who is by the Stephens’ own stallion I Am The Way, a winner of 12 starts who marked Adam’s first big training assignment and helped the family through a tough time. “(I Am The Way's) potential is more than he showed on paper,” Adam said. “He is the first horse I trained. It was the bad part of the drought when I raced him. Our farm was nothing but dirt and his winnings kept us going.” Iamawingate steps out in the last tonight, the J L King & Co Pace, for his seventh start amid his first season of racing. The delay in debuting the seven-year-old has merely been a matter of time limitations, with Adam a shift worker, meaning when he is on shift training is performed by himself, Allan and brother Jamie from 4am. “He was always going to be raced,” Adam said of Iamawingate, “I just had to retire a few to create time, which is why he and Wingate Guy have started later.” In six starts from April 2 to June 11 Iamawingate placed twice and then he returned from a freshen up at Terang last start with a fast finishing third. “He has ability this horse, we’ve just nursed him. The break has helped him. He’ll just settle in the field and use his speed. “Everything will just have to fall into place and he’ll have to get a bit of luck. He has pulled up well and worked on well since Terang.” His little half-brother Wingate Guy returns from a spell for his second campaign, having made a winning debut in April. Adam predicts more success is in his path. “He is a magnificent little horse, I think he can go on and do great things,” he said. “I really like this horse. “I have been lucky enough to have Union Belle and Village Safari and you get the idea of a horse and what it’s going to become. I just feel with where he’s at he’s got the potential to go further. He’s very tough and a nice sit-sprint horse.” Wingate Guy will start from gate three of the Schweppes Pace at 8.45pm, while Village Safari will contest the Bendigo Ski Boat Central Pace from gate eight at 7.38pm. A winner of 13 starts and $128,600, Adam said “she’s been a lovely mare”. “I only paid $1000 for her. She’s no superstar, but has run superbly for me. Before we tipped her out last prep she got a touch of laminitis, but she has come back really well. “She didn’t get fully opened up (first up), but I thought she got home really strong.” She’s the only horse off the back row tonight and he said it was “the perfect draw” for the “nice sit-sprint mare”.   HRV - Michael Howard

Cash Lover's perfect preparation stretched to a fifth successive victory on Saturday night as she again stamped herself as one of the state's most promising trotters. Myrniong trainer Jess Tubbs has the daughter of Ready Cash airborne this time in and a dominant front-running success at Shepparton took her record to six wins from 12 career starts. Tubbs' husband Greg Sugars was at the controls and took the mare straight to the front where she was able to dictate terms over key rival C K Spur, who was forced to race on her outside for the 2190m trip. Cash Lover slipped clear of the field rounding the home turn and cruised in for an easy four-and-a-half metre triumph. "This prep she has sort of taken all before her and just got better with every run," Sugars said. "We tried to look after her for her first few runs as she was slowly stepping up in grade and (Saturday night) we had our main danger drawn to our outside, so we thought we better be a bit more positive and see if we could control things out in front. "We got good sectionals out in front, but she did it quite comfortably so I'm very pleased." Watch the video here. Sugars said there were no imminent major plans with the horse given the current regional racing structure, but hoped the Vicbred Super Series would be able to get up and going late in 2020. "We will just keep picking out races like this that are suitable and work our way through the grade," he said. "She is Vicbred, so if it eventuates that we can get that series up off the ground again, that's obviously where she will be aimed at later in the year." Bred by Yabby Dam Farms, Cash Lover is owned by Wayne Stewart, who bought the horse as a broodmare prospect and only decided to race her after she showed some ability in early training. The daughter of Lucky Love won one race during her first preparation and after galloping at her final start before a break in February, has gone on to score impressive wins in all five races this campaign. She has won at Melton, Ballarat (twice), Bendigo and now Shepparton to take her career prizemoney to over $30,000. It proved a good night at the office for Sugars, who backed up a race later with a superb winning drive aboard Kerryn Manning-trained Rupert Of Lincoln, who soared home from three-back the pegs to claim the Barastock Pace. Winning doubles also went the way of trainers Manning and David Miles and drivers Chris Alford and Jayden Barker. The brilliant return of David Moran's superstar Lochinvar Art stole the show on Saturday night, while Wobelee led and got the better of McLovin, and the long-odds win of Denis McIntyre-trained and Michael Bellman-driven Dot The Eye shocked many punters when he returned in excess of $90 in the last race of the evening.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has taken the precautionary step to postpone tomorrow’s Kilmore meeting. This decision follows a Tabcorp Park Melton non-racing hospitality staff member testing positive to COVID-19 last week.   HRV is awaiting further test results and will determine next steps regarding racing resuming in the Melbourne and Surrounds Region once they have been received. The status of Melton’s postponed Friday night meeting been changed to cancelled. “Unfortunately, we cannot push the postponed Melton meet any further back so that meeting has had to be cancelled,” HRV General Manager of Racing Stephen Bell said. “As Kilmore is in the same region as Melton, we will postpone that meeting and look to reschedule it to Tuesday night. An announcement on the Kilmore meet and the Melton Tuesday trials will be made tomorrow.”   Harness Racing Victoria

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