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Trainer Matthew Craven is plotting a return to the races with former top pacer Shadow Sax, who has recently joined his Ecklin South stable. Previously trained by Emma Stewart, and before that Peter Tonkin, the injury-plagued son of Shadow Play has not raced since September 2020 at Bendigo. That race was his first run since October the year prior. Craven trialed Shadow Sax on Tuesday night at Terang and was forced to pull him up the first time around due to a flat tyre. He was then placed in a later trial, which he won by 7m. “Obviously, he has had a few issues along the way. We have just been poking along quietly with him and taking him to the beach and things like that,” Craven said. “He’s not far away. He will probably just have another trial, maybe even next week, and then we will look to start him somewhere.” A first-up start in the Charlton Pacing Cup on March 14 looms as a likely target for the horse, who is owned by Pam and Russell Hockham and the Stable of Stars syndicate. Shadow Sax has won 23 of 42 career starts, including the 2015 Vicbred Super Series 2YO Colts and Geldings Final and the 2018 SA Pacing Cup.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

The Horsham Harness Racing Club has confirmed the line-up of stars that will contest the 31st edition of the Decron Horse Care Noel Smith Memorial Invitation Drivers Championship on March 8. Jack Laugher, James Herbertson and Josh Aiken will compete in their first Invitation, together with Chris Alford, John Caldow, Kerryn Manning, Jodi Quinlan, Greg Sugars, Kate Gath and Jason Lee. "Given the uncertainties of border crossings, we decided early on that 2021 would feature for the first time an all-Victorian field," Horsham club president Terry Lewis said. "10 invitees come from top down on the previous season's metropolitan premiership list and we have three new faces among the older brigade." While the 10 invitees might claim most of the spotlight at the Horsham Racing Centre on March 8, the event simply wouldn't happen without the ongoing contribution to harness racing made by trainers, owners, drivers, breeders, stablehands and their families. "This is our 11th year of incorporating Industry Participants Appreciation into the Drivers Championship race meeting," Lewis said. "We provide a hospitality area with the support of the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association and give away products, merchandise and vouchers donated by Decron Horse Care, Carbine Chemicals, Hygain-Mitavite, Mustad Australia, Oringi Protection Wear, Tabcorp Park Melton, Zilco, Claire Weston Photography, Roma Pocock, GrafxINC custom helmet design, Norton Estate Wines, Fly Veils by Deign and Virbac Australia." The invitational was staged for the first time in 1990. A few years later it was re-named in honour of Noel Smith, a past president and delegate of the Horsham club, who made an enormous contribution to harness racing through his tireless work for the M&CTA and South West Zone Clubs. The series consists of four $7000 ratings-exempt races with the invitees being randomly allocated a drive in each heat. Points are tallied to decide the winner and also the recipient of the dreaded wooden spoon. Nominations for all eight events close with HRV at 12noon on Wednesday, March 3.   Tony Logan

Past Australian 3YO Trotting Colt/Gelding of the Year Cruisin Around has run his last race, with connections making the decision to call time on a career that netted almost $300,000 in prizemoney. The Brent Lilley-trained squaregaiter was retired after his down-the-track finish in the South West Conveyancing Terang Trotters Cup on Saturday night. That decision brought an end to a journey that spanned 84 starts and included 19 wins, highlighted by a rare Group 1 double – the Vicbred Super Series and Breeders Crown Series finals – during a stunning three-year-old campaign. Cruisin Around, who is part of a vintage crop which includes Red Hot Tooth, Temporale, Sundons Courage, Maori Law, Big Jack Hammer and High Gait, was never quite able to recapture his best after suffering injury early in his four-year-old season. Michael Hughes mentored him to those big-race victories through his early years, before he was moved on to Lilley for whom he won a Kilmore Trotters Cup and as recently as last June set an Australian record at his favourite track Bendigo. Tanya McDermott, who runs the HRV HERO project that helps standardbreds transition to new lives off the racetrack, has agreed to take the son of Bacardi Lindy. "His last four or five runs he's just told us he doesn't want to race anymore," managing owner Bill Hutchison said. "He's done enough so he's going to Tanya and she does a good job rehoming all those horses. "He deserves a better life and that's what he will get.”   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Stawell trainer Chris Blake admits he was shocked by the performance of his mare Tic Tact, who produced an electric dash home to win in style at Ballarat last Thursday. The four-year-old is highlighted in this week's Time Is Money column, which focuses on standout performances from PJ Data’s valuable timing system. PJ Data covered both the Ballarat and Tabcorp Park Melton meetings last week. Tic Tact's win in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (NR up to 51) came thanks to a last 800m section of 55.86sec, which was clearly the fastest of the entire Bray Raceway card on February 18. In fact, Tic Tact was more than a second quicker home than any of her rivals in the race and proved the only horse to break 56sec all evening. The mare drew barrier 10 and was positioned nicely three back in the running line by driver Grant Campbell, who then let the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance go down the back straight and she cruised in for a 6.2m win. Blake said the run by Tic Tact was the best since he'd taken over as her trainer at the start of 2020. "Previously when she had drawn back in the field she really hadn't fired much at all, but to do what she did the other day was just a complete shock to us. We didn't think she was capable of doing that, but obviously she can," he said. Tic Tact, who formerly raced in Queensland, has now won four of her 28 starts.   THE NUMBERS TIC TACT TAB LONG MAY WE PLAY PACE (2200m) - 1st LEAD TIME: 43.96sec LAST MILE: 1:56.54min LAST 800m: 55.86sec LAST 400m: 28.20sec   WHERE TO NEXT? Blake is planning to return to Ballarat's Bray Raceway with Tic Tact on March 4 and hopes to use a mares allowance in a 4YO+ NR 51 to 54 event. "That's what I want to do to get her off the front again... I reckon if she draws nice as a 51 (rater) then she'll be extremely hard to beat again," he said. "She's got plenty of gate speed to get across and get to the front."   FASTEST FIVE BALLARAT, FEBRUARY 18 LAST 400m MYKORONA 26.79sec - 2nd DEL RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP 2YO MAIDEN PACE MASTER STRIDE 27.12sec - 3rd DEL RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP 2YO MAIDEN PACE VALOUR STRIDE 27.16sec - 1st DEL RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP 2YO MAIDEN PACE QUEEN ELIDA 27.23sec - 1st NEED FOR SPEED PRINCESS (HEAT) THE CHANCER 27.29sec - 2nd FLYING HORSE ENTERTAINMENT VENUE VICBRED PACE   LAST 800m TIC TACT 55.86sec - 1st TAB LONG MAY WE PLAY PACE QUEEN ELIDA 56.37sec - 1st NEED FOR SPEED PRINCESS (HEAT) LADY IN THE SKY 56.42sec - 4th NEED FOR SPEED PRINCESS (HEAT) IMA CHERISHED STRIDE 56.72sec - 3rd NEED FOR SPEED PRINCESS (HEAT) THE CHANCER 56.91sec - 2nd FLYING HORSE ENTERTAINMENT VENUE VICBRED PACE   CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SECTIONALS FOR EVERY RUNNER AT BALLARAT   TABCORP PARK MELTON, FEBRUARY 19 LAST 400m UNCLE JORD 27.65sec - 1st TAB LONG MAY WE PLAY PACE UNTITLED 27.66sec - 4th TAB LONG MAY WE PLAY PACE FOOLISH PLEASURE 27.69sec - 5th SEPPELT WINES PACE FLYING JO 27.86sec - 2nd HYLAND'S RACING COLOURS PACE FINAL ONA HIGHWAY TOHELL 28.00sec - 1st SEPPELT WINES PACE   LAST 800m UNCLE JORD 55.07sec - 1st TAB LONG MAY WE PLAY PACE UNTITLED 55.19sec - 4th TAB LONG MAY WE PLAY PACE FLYING JO 55.44sec - 2nd HYLAND'S RACING COLOURS PACE FINAL FRANKS VERY MUCH 55.65sec - 5th TAB LONG MAY WE PLAY PACE ASSASSINATOR 55.67sec - 3rd TAB LONG MAY WE PLAY PACE   CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SECTIONALS FOR EVERY RUNNER AT MELTON    

The TAB Australian Trotting Grand Prix shapes as a rematch of the Great Southern Star, with the first eight horses across the line in that event backing up in this Saturday night's Group 1. Andy Gath's star Tornado Valley tipped out Rob O'Connell-trained Magicool in a thrilling GSS on February 5, but will need to be at his very best to repeat the dose after drawing unfavourably on the back row in nine as the latter secured barrier four. New Zealander Majestic Man was third in that race and will find it tough from barrier 10, while fourth place-getter Pink Galahs, for Matthew Craven, has five. Monaro Mia (Wayne Potter), Robbie Royale (Brent Lilley), Sparkling Success (John Meade), Always Ready (Anton Golino and Jack MacKinnon), Sundons Courage (Brad Angove), Red Hot Tooth (Kari Males), McLovin (Andy Gath) and Tough Monarch (Rickie Alchin) have also accepted for the $100,000 event, which is one of four Group 1s on Saturday night's Tabcorp Park Melton card. The TAB opened Tornado Valley as a $2.40 favourite on Tuesday afternoon. Other highlights of the meeting include the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold Series Final, the IRT Australia Need For Speed Princess Final and the Alan Mance Need For Speed Prince Final. Of course, the night will be dominated by the WomenCan Team Teal 'Night at the Trots' function. Meanwhile, a strong field of nine sprinters have accepted for the Geelong Rocket on Friday night. Stars such as Shakamaker, Blatant Lie, Smoken Up and Melpark Major have won the race, which has not been contested since 2013. The 1609m dash will carry $24,000 in prizemoney and is for the fast class pacers rated between 90-120. After a stack of Victorian-trained horses tackle Group 1s in a big feature meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night, attention then turns to Sunday's Boort meeting. The eight-race card includes the Councillor Neil Beattie and Family Boort Pacing Cup and The Honourable Peter Walsh Boort Trotters Cup, both worth $14,500.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

A delicious Zac Phillips drive set up a dominant Wolf Stride victory in tonight’s Terang Co-Co Pacing Cup, and the winner's “miracle” early move to the front may well lead to a Miracle of another kind. Co-trained by Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith, the five-year-old gelding is on a path north to chase qualification in the $1 million Miracle Mile and will head in full of confidence after a peerless performance in tonight’s $50,000 Group 2. Watch the race replay click here Despite his gate 12 draw, Phillips had the race favourite in the lead within 500 metres of the green light going on in the 2680-metre Cup, having glided past Malcolms Rhythm and the latter’s stablemate Sirletic who were first to the pegs. Somewhere Secret emerged at Wolf Stride’s outside but there was little pressure throughout and when Phillips urged the leader on in a 55.1sec last 800 metres the win was always in hand. Accepting the trophy post-race for winning connections, Amanda Grieve told Trots Vision Phillips had declared his intentions to her in the lead-up and told her he was “either going to look like an idiot or I’m going to pull this off”. And pull it off he did. “He’s pretty special,” Phillips said of the winner, who’s now won 13 of his 27 starts. “Anthony and Sonya have done quite a remarkable job with him, it’s just really a credit to them. “I’ve really got to pay credit to all the staff at home, Anthony’s been away and Sonya and all the team have done a remarkable job, not just with this horse but the whole lot of them.” Butt is up north for Sydney’s Carnival Of Miracles and Phillips said he would soon be joined by Smith and Wolf Stride, who was chasing a place in the March 6 Miracle Mile. “(Wolf Stride will) head up Monday,” Phillips said. “Anthony’s up there at the moment, Sonya’s going to head up on Monday for the Miracle Mile qualifiers and fingers crossed he can get into that.” The victory propelled Wolf Stride to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship, having amassed 12 points this season courtesy of wins at Bendigo and Terang and a third at Ballarat. Terang also delivered a new leader in the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship, with Well Defined producing a perfect performance to back up his success at Ararat for trainer Kate Hargreaves and reinswoman Ellen Tormey. “It all worked out perfectly,” Tormey said of tonight’s win from the standing start. “After we went away and found the front it was always the first suitable one that we could hand up to and Robbie Royale was that – he’s a really good front runner and been in really good form, so he was a good one to follow.” While it was easy going out front, there was drama behind with local favourite Pink Galahs breaking gate early and having to spend much of the race recovering lost ground, while McLovin advanced to the breeze and kept things ticking over only to surprisingly tire and fade. That enabled Robbie Royale and Well Defined to clear out in the closing stages and the latter overrun Brent Lilley’s seven-year-old in the 28.6-sec last quarter to score. “He’s a little beauty to drive,” Tormey said. “He’s a little bit difficult in the warm up, but once those tapes go he just rockets away and then puts himself in such a good position every time. “I think he just makes you look good. He goes away that fast you are nearly in front or behind the leader every race. He’s got that nice little sprint, so when you are in that spot he’s going to run a nice little place or be near about. “These stands and the 2600, they suit him down to the ground. He runs them out really well. Whatever he does the owners and trainer are really rapt with the job he’s done.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Lochinvar Art needed some help from Club Menangle and Harness Racing NSW to force his way into Australia’s richest race next month. And he got it. The star Victorian was scratched from tonight’s Newcastle Mile, with trainer David Moran citing a foot injury as the reason behind the horse’s withdrawal from the Group 1 sprint. This decision looked as though it would have major repercussions for Lochinvar Art’s tilt at the $1million Miracle Mile on March 6, until a juggling of conditions on Friday afternoon. Due to his late scratching, the five-year-old incurred a mandatory 10-day ban from racing, which ruled him out of the last remaining qualifying races at Menangle on February 27. Those two races – the Schweppes Sprint and Allied Express Sprint – offer direct qualification to the Miracle Mile for the first and second placegetters. On top of the Newcastle Mile and Chariots of Fire winners, the balance of the field (eight plus two emergencies) was to be made from horses drawn into either the Schweppes Sprint, Allied Express Sprint or that competed in the Chariots. The Ladyship Mile victor can also be selected into the Miracle Mile due to an exceptional performance. Friday’s change in conditions now means a horse that has accepted for any direct qualifying race – such as the Newcastle Mile – can be considered for discretionary selection into the Miracle Mile. This has opened the door for Lochinvar Art to contest the race, which he had been favourite to win before TAB markets were suspended on Friday. He placed second in the Miracle Mile last year.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Sometimes race form doesn't tell the true story of a horse's ability, and that seems to be the case for a couple of the Tindale-trained runners that will step out at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday. The Berringa barn looks a good chance of securing a winning double at Victorian harness racing headquarters, with Whats Stanley Got well fancied over stablemate Smile Lyle in the Hygain Pony Trots Pace and Spacewriter finding himself in a winnable Empire Stallions Maiden Pace late in the night. Whats Stanley Got (pictured) hasn't won since April last year, but has been knocking on the door for victory with some eye-catching recent performances at Geelong and Ararat. Co-trainer AJ Tindale has been taken by both those efforts in defeat and reckons her gelding is well placed despite the difficult barrier seven draw. "I rate him a big chance in that field with luck, and a lot of luck is required from a bad draw at Melton," she said. Whats Stanley Got (James Herbertson) will come up against Smile Lyle (Ryan Duffy), and while the latter hasn't won since June 2019 and has only been within 10m of the winner in one of his eight starts for the stable, Tindale suggests there's plenty of underlying ability with the son of Grinfromeartoear. "At home on his work he's the pick of the bunch," she said. "But he's just not overly enthused race day - he's very casual. "I think he is probably better driven with inside runs, he seems to be a little bit more confident. So we'll see what he wants to do on the day. "He is working better than some of our good horses at home. He just disappoints us a bit race day. He just doesn't give 100 per cent." It seems a similar story for Spacewriter, who resumes from a spell in the last race of nine. The four-year-old has been a frustrating project for the Tindale team, with 10 placings but no wins from his 25 career starts to date. This includes close-up performances in his last five runs before going for a spell in October last year. "This horse has so much ability," AJ said. "He works the house down at home, but when he goes to the races, he is happy to let everyone else win. "His trial (third at Tabcorp Park on February 9) was okay. I think he's going to need the run, but you don't know. He's got a good draw and we've got a great driver (Chris Alford) on him, so he might surprise us." It's a big week for the stable, with four runners engaged at the Terang Pacing Cup meeting on Saturday night. And the best of those winning chances? Tindale leant the way of Rosarito Miss, who galloped in the concluding stages of a race at Melton last weekend and finished last. “She’s got a brilliant record at Terang and she was very unlucky to not run third the other night,” Tindale said. “I think she would have run a clear third at her first sort of crack at a city race and she warranted having another crack this weekend we thought.”   HRV - Tim O'Connor

There will be no delay in finding out how high Lady In The Sky can fly for trainer Amanda Grieve, with the newly arrived three-year-old filly to make her Australian debut tonight against some of the best her class has to offer. Having a second and a win to her credit in two New Zealand starts, the Muscle Mass filly formerly known as Lady Loins has joined Grieve’s stable to capitalise on Victoria’s wealth of racing for emerging trotters. That begins with tonight’s Need For Speed Princess heat at Ballarat, a $12,000 warm-up of sorts, with all runners qualifying for the February 27 $60,000 final. “They had a bit of an opinion about her,” Grieve said of her New Zealand camp, which included trainer Mark Jones and driver Samantha Ottley. “We will throw her in the deep end and get a good line on her. “She has only been here two weeks. Her work at home has been good. We will just see how she goes and get a guide.” Her two New Zealand starts were both against open-age competition, with Lady In The Sky (then named Lady Loins) running second on debut at Timaru when leading throughout and only being run past late by five-year-old Dudes Star. She then followed up with a maiden win, when she led all-the-way to score by two lengths in a 2:03.4 mile rate over 1980 metres. How does that measure up to what she’ll meet tonight? Time will tell, but Grieve’s well aware they are running into a classy bunch. “Bangles, John and Maree Caldow’s Breeders Crown winner Sangreal, Brent Lilley has a good one (in Queen Elida), Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith’s (Ima Cherished Stride) goes good. It is a handy field,” she said. Grieve would love to see a “top three” finish, optimistic “whatever she does she will improve on (for the final), but she’s not that far off”. The Need For Speed Princess Heat is race seven on tonight’s eight-race card, preceding the Need For Speed Prince Heat at 9.51pm, when favourite Kyvalley Hotspur clashes with the likes of Watts Up Majestic and Have No Fear. They will all advance to the February 27 finals, which shares the card with a heat of the $100,000 TAB Australian Trotting Grand Prix, part of the Aurora Australia Series. The Tabcorp Park Melton meeting also features the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed For Speed Gold, Silver and Bronze series finals, with horses qualifying from heats at Shepparton on February 10 and Bendigo last night. Sleepee reinforced her title claims at Bendigo with an impressive win for trainer Alison Alford and reinsman Chris Alford in the second Gold Series heat, leading from gate two and getting home in 56.7 seconds to score by 4.5 metres from Group 1 winner Moonshine Linda. Waiting for her in the final is Andy Gath’s Monaro Maro, who broke the Shepparton track record in winning heat one. Fear The Yankee came from the back of the field to win the Silver Series' second heat for trainer-driver Chris Svanosio, while the second Bronze heat was won by a half-neck by Wanda for trainer Faye McEwan and reinsman Josh Duggan. The first five across the line from each heat advance to the February 27 finals, part of an all-trotting card that also features the WomenCan Team Teal Night At The Trots function.

Effective from February 18, 2021, the following are to be observed at all Victorian harness and trial venues: All licensed persons, owners and officials must wear a properly fitted face mask at all times when indoors (including drivers’ rooms, stewards’ rooms and veterinary room and covered horse stalls such as Tabcorp Park Melton, Ballarat, Shepparton etc.), unless you have a government permitted exemption (i.e., medical condition). All persons are also required to wear a properly fitted face mask outdoors when directed by a club official or HRV steward and when they are unable to maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from other persons. All persons are reminded to exercise appropriate physical distancing protocols and to maintain 1.5-metre distancing wherever possible. QR Code has been implemented for use at all racetracks and trial venues, and all licensed participants and essential staff are encouraged to only use the QR Form, which gives HRV immediate data should it be required for any contract tracing requirements. Temperature testing remains in place at all race meetings for industry participants and essential staff until otherwise directed. Trainers, drivers and stablehands must leave race meeting as soon as possible upon fulfilling their obligations in accordance with the Australian Harness Racing Rules (i.e., after completion of swabbing procedures, attendance before stewards etc.). Participants should pre-pack enough food and supplies for the duration of their engagement at race meetings. There will no longer be restrictions regarding the number of stablehands permitted to attend racetracks with accompanied licensed trainers.  Stewards and officials will continue to monitor this situation at racetracks. All other industry protocols remain in effect and any non-compliance may be subject to action by HRV stewards. All persons are advised that should they fail to comply with any of these requirements, significant penalties, including periods of disqualification, may be imposed under AHRR 238. Children of licensed persons are strictly not permitted in the stabling area at racetracks. AHRR 238 states: A person shall not fail to comply with any order, direction or requirement of the Controlling Body or the Stewards relating to harness racing or to the harness racing industry. These measures have been put in place to ensure that harness racing complies with all bio-security requirements and must be adhered to ensure that harness racing in Victoria continues under the current State Government restrictions.    Harness Racing Victoria

For many involved in harness racing, the sport has been a passion from a young age or even a right of passage in a family addicted to the game. But that can't be said for Sofia Arvidsson, who in some ways is an unlikely contestant in Saturday night's Group 1 Chariots of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Swedish national had no background in the trots when she travelled to Australia in her early 20s, but a decision to head to western Victoria and work for Matthew Craven sparked love and a new-found thrill for racing. Arvidsson embarked on a stay with Craven in a bid to extend her Australian visa, and from there the rest is history. "I knew there was horses and knew there was trotters, but I wasn't really sure what to expect to be honest,” she said. "I grew up on a farm so I'm happy out on the countryside doing farm work. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do, but I was happy to have a go. "When I fast worked the first time, that's when I really got hooked. I started off just riding them and then I jogged a few, but when I had to fast work one, then I really started to enjoy it and just loved doing it." Things progressed to Arvidsson gaining her trial licence, then "all of a sudden I got very competitive" and driving in races became a reality. Since then, the 26-year-old has had close to 200 starts in the sulky and already collected 36 career wins, highlighted by the Group 2 Breeders Crown Graduate Trotters Free For All with her favourite horse, Gus An Maori. While racking up almost $300,000 for connections through her drives, Arvidsson has developed her training skills alongside Craven – now her partner - at his Ecklin South property. She is currently on assignment with three of the stable's horses for the New South Wales Carnival of Miracles. Arvidsson teams up with Kowalski Analysis in this Saturday's $200,000 Chariots of Fire, and although he's been ultra-competitive at the top level before - including a fifth in the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup and third in the DNR Logistics 4YO Bonanza - the task is expected to be difficult. "There's some really nice horses in this race so it will be pretty tough. He'd need every break to go his way and probably things to go a little bit wrong for the others," Arvidsson said. "But you have to be in it to win it so you never know." Stablemates Kimble and October Reign are being saved for the NSW Derby heats on February 27.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Monegeetta trainer-driver David Miles is over the moon with the performance of a new stable acquisition who reeled off a hot closing sectional at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. Kanena Provlima is the focus of this week’s Time Is Money column, which looks to highlight standout performances and coming winners from PJ Data’s valuable timing system. At just his first start for Miles since arriving from NSW trainer Ben Settree, the five-year-old produced a sizzling finale to finish second in the Nutrien Equine Pace (2240m) behind winner Rollova. Driver Jayden Barker settled the horse second last in the run – on the back of Rollova - and then let rip with a brilliant turn of foot in the home straight only to go down by a half-head. Watch the race replay click here! The son of A Rocknroll Dance clocked a best-of-the-night last 400m split of 26.18sec, as well as a race-fastest final 800m section of 55.58s. "We were absolutely stoked with the run," Miles said. "He just got a little bit lost when Jayden pulled him out. He pulled quite hard early and got the helmet, but just didn't track up in the run as good as we would have hoped. "We have just made a couple of gear changes this week to hopefully get him to travel a bit kinder and a bit more genuine." Kanena Provlima is set to compete on the Trots Country Cups Championship circuit in the coming weeks, but could be destined for bigger things down the track. "Pie in the sky stuff, but he could potentially be a Grand Circuit horse," Miles said. "He's got that feel at the moment and he's shown us that at the moment. We've only had him less than two weeks, so there's a lot of water to go under the bridge and he's got to handle the 2600m when we go there. "He's already won some regional country cups in western New South Wales and we are just taking a line through Dark Terror that Ben Settree sent us down last season. "Dark Terror was keeping up with Jamieson Steele and Louis Sedgwick and those sorts of horses, and he said this fellow is better. Fingers crossed he is, and if he is, we are going to have a lot of fun. He's going to be a genuine free for all horse." THE NUMBERS KANENA PROVLIMA NUTRIEN EQUINE PACE (2240m) - SECOND LEAD TIME: 49.18sec LAST MILE: 1:54.93min LAST 800m: 55.58sec LAST 400m: 26.18sec   WHERE TO NEXT? Miles is taking the horse to Terang on Saturday night for the Mt Noorat Freighters Pace, where he has drawn barrier one. Miles gives Kanena Provlima a good chance of success, even against the likes of last-start Ladyship Cup winner Our Princess Tiffany. "I'm happy to either lead or sit leaders back and I think he's a real genuine chance," he said. FASTEST FIVE TABCORP PARK MELTON, FEBRUARY 13 LAST 800m WATCH PULP FICTION 54.55sec - 2nd HERO CLAIMING PACE THE PANTHEIST 54.65sec - 4th THE BIG SCREEN COMPANY PACE VANITY BAY 54.74sec - 2nd PRYDE'S EASIFEED PACE SIX ELEMENTS 54.79sec - 5th THE BIG SCREEN COMPANY PACE GILTY HANOVER 54.89sec - 5th PRYDE'S EASIFEED PACE   LAST 400m KANENA PROVLIMA 26.18sec - 2nd NUTRIEN EQUINE PACE ROLLOVA 26.50sec - 1st NUTRIEN EQUINE PACE JOE NIEN 26.61sec - last NUTRIEN EQUINE PACE WATCH PULP FICTION 27.00sec - 2nd HERO CLAIMING PACE TYPHOON STRIDE 27.05sec - 3rd NUTRIEN EQUINE PACE   CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SECTIONALS FOR EVERY RUNNER AT MELTON ON SATURDAY NIGHT   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Trainer David Moran is warning punters his star Lochinvar Art won’t be at his top for Friday night’s Newcastle Mile, which has been made tougher following a tricky draw. The brilliant Victorian has the outside barrier 10 for the $100,000 Group 1, but is still a warm $1.40 favourite with the TAB. All horses will start off the front line. Lochinvar Art is currently staying with Belinda and Luke McCarthy at their Cobbitty property in New South Wales, with Moran having made the quick dash interstate on Friday last week. "He travelled up good and he's not going to be 100 per cent wound up this week, but I guess that's not the end of the world. The grand final (Miracle Mile) is really in a couple of weeks' time, so we'll try and get everything 100 per cent and just do the best we can," Moran told Sky Racing on Tuesday. "He missed a fast work there in the middle, which sort of wasn't the end of the world, and then we gave him a little hit-out up here Sunday, but nothing major. He'll go again tomorrow.” Moran said Lochinvar Art, who hasn’t been seen at the races since his big victory in the Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup on February 6, would need to be on top of his game to win on Friday night. "Fitness probably isn't going to be the issue, back to the short distance is not going to be the issue, it's probably more just the barrier draw now,” he said. "He is always better week-to-week. He's going to have to be good. "Turn It Up has been going really well… with Western Sonador and a couple of the others. "He's going to have to be good, but we'll see how we go. I'm sure he'll run a good race and be better again in a fortnight's time." Western Sonador has come up with a handy gate one draw for Kialla trainers Stephen O’Donoghue and Rebecca Bartley. Fellow Victorians Boots Electric and Kowalski Analysis will chase Group 1 glory in the Chariots of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. Trained by Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith, Boots Electric has drawn barrier three in the $200,000 race for four-year-olds, while Matthew Craven’s Kowalski Analysis will start from gate five. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TAB MARKET FOR THE NEWCASTLE MILE CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TAB MARKET FOR THE CHARIOTS OF FIRE   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Victoria's harness racing girls have put their foot on the accelerator and boosted the Team Teal coffers with an exceptional few days on the track. Female drivers dominated at Ararat on Friday night, taking out six of nine races. They followed up with another half dozen at headquarters on Saturday night, then added another two to the weekend tally on Sunday at Charlton. "We really hit form at the Ararat Cup meeting and then it continued the following night at Melton which was awesome because it's for a great cause," Team Teal ambassador Jodi Quinlan said. Across six weeks in February and March, all reinswomen across Australia and New Zealand don the WomenCan teal pants to raise awareness and much-needed funds for ovarian cancer. "The campaign is a partnership with the harness racing industry in Australia and New Zealand-and apart from being a great contributor to fundraising to support women with ovarian cancer and their families, it's also about women looking after their health," Quinlan said. This year joining Quinlan as HRV Team Teal ambassadors are Kate Gath, Kerryn Manning and Jackie Barker. For every winner they land, along with other Victorian reinswomen, HRV and wagering partner TABcorp each commit $200 when a race is won through the campaign. After last Wednesday night's Shepparton meeting (10 days into the campaign), 12 Victorian girls had combined to register 19 wins for a total of $3800. Then in a hectic flurry over just the next five days, they more than doubled this to land a further 22 victories - and drive their Team Teal tally to $8200. Heading the charge was champion Kate Gath, of Long Forest, who had singles at Melton on Thursday afternoon and then the Ararat Cup meeting, before a sensational treble at Saturday night's metropolitan Melton fixture. Gath landed early race-to-race winners in Majestic Hurricane and He's Under Wraps and later in the night got the money with Eureka. Quinlan and former world champion Kerryn Manning, who recently landed the 4000th win of her career, also played their part with three wins apiece. Six reinswomen added their names to the winners' table: Shannon O'Sullivan; Lisa Miles; Michelle Wight; Codie Rauchenberger; and mother and daughter duo Rita and Monique Burnett. They joined Laura Crossland, Olivia Weidenbach, Anne-Maree Conroy, Denbeigh Wade, Donna Castles and Juanita Breen, who also have one apiece. Wight, sister of Kerryn Manning, was an excited winner at her home track at Ararat when she was successful with three-year-old bay gelding Morsure Damour. The young trotter, known as "Benny" at home, was not only having just his second race start, but, at the generous odds of 30/1, downed the warm favorite. The Team Teal campaign was created by well-known Victorian industry supporter Duncan McPherson OAM who lost his wife Lyn to ovarian cancer in 2010. It expanded to NSW in 2016 and then all other states in 2017. The following year New Zealand got on board. The success of Team Teal just doesn't rely on sponsorship by principal sponsors, but also on the generosity of the wider harness racing community. Clubs are urged to match donations, while some trainers sponsor the wins of their drivers-whether it be male or female. There's also teal awareness ribbons and wristbands available, while the Mildura club has encouraged trainers and strappers to get into Team Teal T Shirts for the duration of the campaign. The initiative helps fund research and supports the Research Nurse Grant Program and the Survivors Teaching Students education and prevention program. To support the initiative, go to: https://www.womencan.org.au/event/team-teal-racing   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

THIS will be a night to treasure at Newcastle. The 30-year history of the club’s flagship race has seen some of the greats win and now the 'Arty Party' heads to town when the sport’s pin-up pacer Lochinvar Art tackles Saturday night’s Group 1 Newcastle Mile. Lochinvar Art’s owner-breeder Kevin Gordon is a local and has wanted to win the Newcastle Mile since his mate Vic Frost won it with the sublime Westburn Grant in 1990 & ’91. “That was such a great time when Vic brought his champ him to win those two Miles. Ever since, I’ve wanted to have a runner in the Mile and to try and win it … I’ve got the horse now with Lochinvar Art,” Gordon said. Since Westburn Grant’s back-to-back wins, Inter Dominion heroes like Our Sir Vancelot (1998), Jofess (2002) and Beautide (2013) along with other pacing heroes like Courage Under Fire (2000 and ’01), The Falcon Strike (2003) and Pay Me Christian (2006) have won the race. Lochinvar Art’s Newcastle detour enroute to the Miracle Mile will be up with the most special moments in the history of the track, let alone the race. Majordan set a track record 1min50.7sec winning last year’s race, but Lochinvar Art’s gone 1min48.6sec for 1720m around Melton, which points him to smashing the Newcastle record if trainer-driver David Moran wants to. Team McCarthy isn’t sending any of their big names to Newcastle, so it seems former star Kiwi and now Queensland-based Turn It Up looks the only top class rival Lochinvar Art will face. “I’m not worried about him coming to back to the sprints from a staying race like the Hunter Cup. He’s as fast as he is strong and he’s won a Chariots (over 1609m) and run second in a Miracle Mile already,” Moran said. Rather than risk any possibility of being stranded in Victoria because of the latest COVID-19 issues, Moran floated Lochinvar Art to NSW last Friday night. “I brought a few up, including Patsbeachstorm for the Derby, and coming early just means I’ll be up here a week longer than I’d first planned,” he said. Brittany Graham will be trackside at Newcastle for Sky Racing to capture all the action on the night and for In The Gig next Tuesday. ________________________________________________________________________________ LET’S hope last Friday Group 1 Golden Nugget winner Minstrel can get a suitable flight to Sydney. Co-trainer Greg Bond said connections have accepted the Chariots invite which goes with a Nugget win, but also been told they have to be in Sydney by Wednesday with all Chariots runners required to enter a retention barn at Menangle from Thursday. “Bob Peters (WA thoroughbred owner-breeder) has a crate booked Monday with three horses so if one of those doesn’t got, then that’s an option. Otherwise Tuesday is our last chance,” Bond said. “We’d love to get there. He was huge the other night. We think he’s right up with the very best horses we’ve had and he showed it in the Nugget.” Expensive Ego showed why he’s been a long-time Chariots favourite when he returned to his best, ripped home in a 25.9sec last quarter and won last Saturday night’s Group 2 Paleface Adios. A week earlier he struck early troubled, never looked comfortable around Melton and was then decked on the home bend when down the track in the Group 1 4YO Bonanza won by Boots Electric at Melton. ________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT an inspired move it’s been from Kiwi trainer Mark Jones to send his star mare Stylish Memphis across to Sydney. Jack Trainor’s playing caretaker trainer and driver and the young former Kiwi could now drive Stylish Memphis in Group 1 races the next two weekends. Stylish Memphis booked a spot in the Chariots Of Fire when second to Zeuss Bromac in the Paleface Adios last Saturday week. Then, she went better again, when she stormed home to win the Group 2 Sibelia Stakes which assured her of a spot in the Group 1 Ladyship Mile on February 27. ________________________________________________________________________________ AGE certainly isn’t slowing NSW’s best trotter Tough Monarch. This season is only six weeks old, but the nine-year-old has already won two Group 1 races in his three wins from four starts this term. Anthony Butt drove him to win a Group 1 heat of the What The Hill Great Southern Star last Saturday week before backing-up three hours later from a poor draw and finishing seventh in the final. With Butt in Sydney, Chris Svanosio grabbed the reins and pounced on the lead from gate five on Tough Monarch, who lifted after looking beaten late to win by a whisker in Saturday night’s Group 1 Aldebaran Park The Knight Pistol at Melton. Tough Monarch still has the Group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix to come at Melton on February 27 before returning to Sydney for the Group 1 NSW Trotters’ Mile at Menangle on the March 6 Miracle Mile card.   by Adam Hamilton

Following the Premier’s announcement today of circuit-breaker action from 11.59pm tonight to get ahead of the latest COVID-19 strain, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) advises that race meetings from tomorrow will proceed only with essential personnel permitted to attend. This means owners, general admission patrons and non-essential people will not be permitted to enter Victorian harness racing venues until further advised. HRV also asks that those living in metropolitan areas refrain from travelling to Ararat tonight for the cup meeting in the interest of the local Ararat community. HRV will reintroduce temperature testing at all licenced venues from tomorrow. Masks must be worn (inside and outside) while attending any HRV venue from tonight. If you are not feeling well, are displaying any symptoms, have been in close contact with symptomatic people, or have attended a confirmed exposure site, HRV urges you not to attend harness racing venues and immediately get tested for COVID-19. For a full list of updated protocols click here. “We have been in this position previously and I have been extremely proud of the way the industry has responded to the challenges presented by this pandemic,” HRV CEO Dayle Brown said. “The resilience shown by the industry has been amazing. And it is thanks to those efforts that we have been able to continue racing. “Our priority is to ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect the health and wellbeing of communities throughout Victoria as well as our participants and staff. “For that reason, we urge everyone to comply with the rules. Stewards and officials will increase their presence to ensure compliance. We’re all in this together and we will get through it together.” HRV will provide further updates as required. Stay in touch with HRV’s social media channels and COVID-19 information hub at thetrots.com.au for the latest news and advice.     Harness Racing Victoria

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