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Two of the season’s greater trots tales added further chapters to their unlikely stories with feature victories at Echuca on Friday night. Gavin Lang’s average pacer turned top-line trotter Pantzup continues to take everything in her path, with the J A Connelly Crystal Bucket a seventh straight and ninth career victory after the mare showed her might against open class types. And Kima Frenning’s rapid rise in Victoria’s ranks continued unabated with her debut training project, Buster Brady, launched to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship with victory in the Moama Bowling Club Echuca Pacing Cup. “It’s crazy,” Frenning said post-race after her former Kiwi produced a fifth win and third country cup in his ninth Australian start. “To train a horse like him, to come here and win a race like this, it’s very exciting and I can’t thank everyone around me enough. “He was really good tonight. He’s a really nice horse and he does it pretty easy when he wants too.” Off the second row Frenning advanced three-wide for much of the first lap before taking the front, from where Buster Brady was too strong in the straight, saluting by seven metres from Shadow Reign and Gottashopearly. The victory would have brought more delight for Luke Stokie and his fellow owners, with Buster Brady now a point clear of San Carlo in the Trots Country Cups Championship, which carries a $25,000 cash prize. Only an hour earlier Pantzup entered the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship race when he scooped up the Crystal Bucket, a winning streak that has surprised even the most experienced and successful of trainer-drivers. “She’s amazing really,” Lang said “It’s well documented that we bought her cheaply as a pacer to win a couple of races and then probably flick her on, but she showed she had a propensity to trot from day one that she entered the stable. “I’d like to be able to say I did this and did that, but I haven’t done nothing – I’ve just trained her and fed her and she’s done the rest. “I’ve been in the game for a long long time, my Dad’s had plenty of trotters, I’ve had a couple of nice ones in the past, but every time I drive home from the races with this one I just shake my head because I can’t believe what she does. It’s a great story.” Drawn off 10m in the standing start, Pantzup advanced to the breeze with a lap and a half to go and found the front when leader Als Law dropped out about 500m from home. A 29-second final quarter was enough to keep all challengers at bay and salute by 5.4 from Fratellino, who picked up valuable points to leapfrog King Denny and take the lead in the $10,000 Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship.   Michael Howard for Trots Media

TIGER Tara’s stunning Hunter Cup win wasn’t Kevin Pizzuto’s only major win last night, Pizzuto’s four-year-old Picard made it two wins from as many starts this campaign and booked a spot in the Chariots Of Fire. Picard blasted to the front from gate nine, steadied through a 29sec second quarter then rocketed home in 53.3 (26.4 an d 26.9) to win the Group Hondo Grattan. “I told you he’s good,” Pizzuto said. “He’s the reason I missed races like Perth and the Ballarat Cup with Tiger … to get this guy ready for the Chariots.” The All Stars’ Ashley Locaz was the hardluck story, emerging too late from a three pegs pocket and storming home to run second, just 1.2m from the winner. The first four home qualified for the Chariots Of Fire, including Hail Christian (third) and The Black Prince (fourth). Poster Boy qualified through the 4YO Bonanza win at Melton last week, so five spots remain going into next Saturday’s Paleface Adios. That field include the likes of Spankem, Chase Auckland, Ignatius, Maraetai, Rackemup Tigerpie, All You Need Is Faith and Colt Thirty One. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ THERE is just no stopping Kima Frenning. The former Swede added to her golden past 12 months with another Group 1 win aboard emerging trotter Big Jack Hammer at Melton last night. Frenning used gate one to sit behind the leader and favourite Save Our Pennys and finished strongly along the sprint lane to win the $50,000 Group 1 Dullard Cup. It was her second Group 1 win, the other coming aboard Wrappers Delight in last season’s Vicbred 4YO final. “I’m lost for words. He’s such a lovely trotter, so fast and off a run like that I knew he’d be hard to beat,” Frenning said. “Aik (trainer David Aiken) has really liked this horse since came to the stable and that’s why we had a go at the Inter Dominion.” Big Jack Hammer posted a slick 1min57.5sec mile rate for 2240m. “To win this for Aik is great, but also for Dom (Martello, owner), who has been such a big supporter of mine,” Frenning said. Martello also owns Wrappers Delight. Save Our Pennys had its chance after leading, while Kiwi raider Temporale ran yet another minor placing (third) in Australia. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ A TOUGH Inter Dominion campaign certainly hasn’t jaded veteran Maximan. The 10-year-old has returned to Menangle in great style and ran down star speedster Majordan to win in a 1min50.4sec mile last night. Admittedly Majordan did have to burn a 25.9sec opening quarter to lead from the outside, but he still ran home in 26.4sec and was unable to hold-off Maximan. Maximan and Majordan are now expected to clash again in Friday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto said Majordan’s stablemate, Tiger Tara, also remains a chance of backing-up at Newcastle. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ CHASE Auckland did what was needed at Menangle last night. After missing a place when first-up from his long spell last week, Chase Auckland enjoyed the stretch from a mile to 2300m and finding the lead last night. Driver Luke McCarthy nursed him to the line to beat a gallant Franco Landry, who chased hard, by 2.7m in a 1min54.9sec mile. They ran home in 54.3 and 27.1sec. Chase Auckland get his one chance to qualify for the Chariots Of Fire, a race he was a long-time favourite for, in star-studded Paleface Adios at Menangle next Saturday night. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ NEXT stop Sydney for classy Kiwi mare Utmost Delight. The five-year-old gave Steven Reid his second win of the Summer of Glory when she lifted after looking beaten to win the Group 3 Pure Steel against the boys at Melton last night. And she’s into $5 for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile at Menangle. Utmost Delight settled midfield before stand-in driver Greg Sugars made the move to sit parked when leader Shadow Reign slowed the tempo. Utmost Delight looked beaten on the home bend, but just kept lifting and snatched victory by a whisker on the line in a slick 1min54.4sec mile rate for 2240m. “Greg Sugars gave her a good wrap and said he thought she was always going to win it,” Reid said. “I just want to get to Sydney on the big track and where they go hard in the races.” Reid said he would decide during the week who drives Utmost Delight in Sydney. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ SIDELINED superstar Chicago Bull got the all clear to resume training this week. The six-year-old has been sadly missed in the big league since a freakish stable mishap sidelined him during his time in Auckland back in October. One horse enjoying Chicago Bull’s absence has been popular WA pacer Vultan Tin, who made it back-to-back Gloucester Park wins last Friday night. The WA-bred gelding made the most of gate two to lead throughout and score easily over Team Bond’s El Jacko in a 1min57.7sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip in the $50,000 Group 2 City Of Perth Cup. Another winner of note at the Gloucester Park meeting was WA Derby hopeful Shockwave. Trained by Ryan Bell and driven by Gary Hall Jr, the son of Mach Three made it four wins from seven starts this season and seven from 17 lifetime.   Adam Hamilton

A perfectly timed swoop delivered Team Teal its first Victorian Group 1 when Kima Frenning guided Big Jack Hammer to the Hygain V L Dullard Cup. A plan paid off perfectly for trainer David Aiken, Frenning and owner Domenic Martello with the popular victory reward for an outstanding campaign by the six-year-old gelding.  “It’s crazy,” Frenning said. “He’s been racing so well during the Inter Dominion campaign, I think his best runs have definitely been off the speed and he proved that tonight. He’s a super quick horse and really consistent.” Frenning was able to implement plan A, ceding the lead to Gavin Lang and Save Our Pennys and then biding her time while others boxed on. Outside the leader Temporale and then Red Hot Tooth punched the breeze, but come the final straight none could muster the speed of Big Jack Hammer, who emerged down the sprint lane to score by 1.8m. “Now that he’s up in class a bit he’s probably best driven off the speed,” Frenning said. “He’s a super consistent horse, Aiks has done a really good job with him, Domenic’s given me so many opportunities. This is crazy.”   Michael Howard for Trots Media

Written off and forgotten, will tonight’s greatest race on the Victorian calendar be the night the local resistance returns? The Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup has long been Victoria’s most coveted trophy but the local hopes have been cast into the background behind a marauding Tiger and New Zealand’s brilliant pacers. It’s an all-too familiar tale, with Kerryn Manning and Arden Rooney’s win in 2015 the only Victorian triumph in the past 11 stagings of the $500,000 long distance classic. Five Victorian-trained contestants will step out tonight, of which only Flaming Flutter has won an open-age Group 1, that being the SA Cup back in January 2016. The trainer perhaps most likely to break that sequence is Swedish born Kima Frenning, the reinswoman whose first training experience with Buster Brady has secured country cups and a Hunter Cup start from gate four. “It’s ridiculous,” Frenning said of their rapid rise. “He’s been really, really good. He’s just such a cool horse to be around and I’m really appreciative to have him as my first horse. “I think he’s right up to this task here. It’s just going to depend on how this race is run.” Frenning said the winner of four of his seven Victorian starts was “super quick” and would likely roll forward from the draw, “find a spot and then see what happens from there”. It may well be a similar game plan for San Carlo and, like Frenning, Shepparton trainer Stephen O’Donoghue was optimistic about how his contender was situated for tonight’s pacing grand final. “He’s better than what he was this time last year, there’s no doubt about that,” O’Donoghue said. “He’s a bigger horse, a more mature horse, this is the race I probably set him for. All the way through, this is the one. It means so much to me. The longer distance, he’s a stayer, that’s not going to worry him.” Gate six certainly “makes it a little bit harder” but “you never know, whether we go forward, whether we go back, it’s hard to gauge”. The scenario will likely be simpler for fellow Victorian Wrappers Delight, who’s normally in Frenning’s hands but tonight will be driven by Gavin Lang for trainer David Aiken. Drawn gate eight, Wrappers Delight looks set for a soft pegs run behind Our Uncle Sam and likely leader Tiger Tara and then it’s a matter of taking your opportunities when they present. Similarly, long shot Victorians Flaming Flutter and Cant Refuse, the last of the locals, will likely look for every short cut before attempting to launch for the money late in the race. Michael Howard For Trots Media

THE rise and rise of Buster Brady will be tested in Saturday night’s PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup as Kima Frenning’s debutant training experience dips its toe into the top tier of Australasian pacing. Plucked from New Zealand by new owners Stokie Racing Group after a career on the edge of the Kiwi’s elite, including a fifth in the 2017 New Zealand Trotting Cup, Buster Brady burst on to Australia’s scene with Geelong and Cobram cup victories. The only horse in Frenning’s care, the six-year-old was held back from the TAB Inter Dominion despite a late rankings rise that earned qualification, making Saturday night’s Group 1 his Australian debut against the big boys. “It’s definitely going to be a test for him to go out in the Ballarat Cup against a couple of the best ones and just see where we’ve got him,” Frenning told RSN 927’s Gait Speed. She will steer Buster Brady from gate five, outside race favourite Thefixer and directly inside TAB Inter Dominion placegetter Cruz Bromac, with the All Stars pair dominant in the market. At $4.40 with tab.com.au fixed odds, Buster Brady is the shortest priced challenger in a field of Victorians eager to put their case as the next big thing and boost their chances of getting a start in the February 2 Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. “He’s pulled up really well from Cobram and seems really good,” Frenning said. “The draw looks a little bit tricky, but this probably gives us an opportunity to see if we can drive him with cover, just drive him for his speed and see how we go from there. He is very quick.” Frenning will also steer David Aiken-trainer pair Big Jack Hammer in the E B Cochran Trotters Cup and Malcolms Rhythm in the first Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby heat, the latter unbeaten in six starts since breaking his maiden status. “He’s just come through his races really, really well and keeps improving every single run,” Frenning said. “He’s still learning about racing, which is pretty scary. I would love to see when he actually switches on and starts to race. He’s just going really, really good and I’m super excited to go into the Derby heats with him.”   Trots Media

The morning after three of his horses secured berths in TAB Inter Dominion grand finals, passionate trots owner Dom Martello is both dreaming of an ID18 trophy and studying pedigrees for future sales. “I bought all these horses as yearlings,” he says proudly, pointing at the fact that last night and this morning he’s been delving into the breeding and studying the type of horses like Spankem as he plans for future members of his equine Hammer team. Martello will attend tomorrow morning’s TAB ID18 barrier draws at Zinc, Federation Square, where he’ll be hoping to draw successful gates for his two pacers, Wrappers Delight and Mach Doro, and his trotting star Big Jack Hammer for Saturday night’s grand finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. Martello said Wrappers Delight had especially been taking him on the ride of his life in recent times, the David Aiken-trained pacer securing feature wins such as the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final, the Hygain Breeders Crown Championship, TAB Smoken Up Sprint and Cogs Services 4YO & 5YO Championship. “Wrappers in particular has been going through the dream list and ticking them off one by one, but this race (the Inter Dominion) is different,” Martello said. “I feel like if you win a race like the Inter Dominion then you go down in history. This is one race that you actually dare to dream.” Martello reserved special praise for young driver Kima Frenning (pictured above with Wrappers Delight by Ashlea Brennan), who has piloted both Wrappers Delight and Big Jack Hammer throughout their ID18 heats and helped secure both grand final berths. “One thing I especially like about Kima Frenning is she doesn’t have an ego. She’s hard working, positive and has talent. People like that just need a chance,” he said. Mach Doro is trained by Craig Cross and driven by star Sydney based reinsman Luke McCarthy. Tomorrow’s barrier draw will be live on Sky Racing 1, RSN and Sky Sports Radio from 9am, hosted by Greg Hayes and Adam Hamilton. From 6am until 10am RSN will broadcast live from Federation Square for the ID18 event, with roving panels and guests, including a half-hour Super Panel from 9.30am of Michael Felgate, Dan Mielicki, Jason Bonnington, Andy Gath and Adam Hamilton deep-diving into the form for the deciders. Head to the banks of the Yarra near Zinc to check out the show live, which will also feature HRV HERO ambassadors.  Check out the final TAB ID18 Standings   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Buster Brady has announced himself as a contender in the Trots Country Cups Championship after an impressive win in the Flying Brick Cider Co. Geelong Pacing Cup. The six-year-old backed a convincing maiden Australian win at Cranbourne on November 17 with a hard-fought victory on Saturday night, when he punched the breeze for much of the 2570m race before running over the top of TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship entrant Cash N Flow (third) in the straight. It was Buster Brady’s first win of the championship after a disappointing first-up ninth in the St Arnaud cup earlier this month and the victory took driver Kima Frenning’s record to an impressive 21 wins from 73 starts this season and her second victory as trainer. Frenning said to take out a $50,000 cup for owners the Stokie Racing Group in just her third race as a trainer was “ridiculous”. “I’m still on cloud nine today,” she said. “I can’t believe it and I really, really want to thank Luke Stokie for giving me the opportunity but also David Aiken. I could not have done this without him. “He’s just been a great mentor and to be able to work alongside him for so long has just been amazing. He’s such a great trainer and I couldn’t have done any of this without him.” She said it hadn’t been the ideal run in the Geelong cup and had been concerned about Buster Brady being so open for much of the race, but he was proving to be a “tough” horse. “I was a bit worried throughout the run being without cover for that distance but you know he was just so strong the whole race and then, at the last turn, I was like, you know we might be able to finish this,” she said. Buster Brady finished just outside the ID18 rankings at 43 but Frenning said even if they had snuck through he’d already been scratched from the series. “He’s probably 12 months off that and there’s other races that we can target,” she said. “There’ll be a couple of country cups he’ll go in and I know there’s a free-for-all on Inter Dominion finals night that we’ll aim him for as well. There’s plenty of good races around for him.” In the Yabby Dam Racing McNamara Memorial Trotters Cup Endsin A Party held off a fast finishing Save Our Pennys for an impressive win for owner-trainer Brad Stevens. In Chris Svanosio's hands, Endsin A Party found the front from the standing start and held on to win by a head and gift Stevens his greatest stakes win. San Carlo and I’m the Boss (10 points each) continue to lead the 2018-19 Trots Country Cups Championship while King Denny (12 points) has pulled clear of the Maori's Idol Trotting Championship. The Trots Country Cups Championship reaches its 2018 conclusion with Sunday’s Barham Insurance Advisers Stawell Pacing Cup, which presents as a big day in Victoria’s west as the party continues after Saturday night’s first heats of the TAB Inter Dominion Pacing and Trotting Championships. A big day is planned, with more details here: http://www.trotscountry.com.au/meeting/stawell/   Mark Smith Trots Media

Having to choose between two live chances - and personal favourites - in a Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup is a nice problem to have, but it also brings a tinge of heartbreak. For rising star driver Kima Frenning, who less than four years ago relocated to Australia from Sweden as a monte rider, she never fathomed being in such a pleasant predicament. But this morning she made the call after seeking counsel from her team, siding with Wrappers Delight over Im The Boss for Saturday night's Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton and beyond. "It was a very, very hard decision but I'll be driving Wrappers," she said. "I talked with Aik (trainer David Aiken) and the owners of both horses, and that's the decision we've come up with. He's done so much for me that horse (Im The Boss), but you've got to pick one."  Five-year-old Wrappers Delight heads into the Victoria Cup having taken out last weekend’s Group 2 TAB Multiplier Smoken Up Sprint, finishing ahead of three of his Vic Cup rivals on that occasion. He also won the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series and Hygain Breeders Crown finals last season. “He’s the up-and-comer,” she said. “I’d say there will be improvement (from last weekend). This will be his third run back and the way he raced through the Vicbreds he just kept improving. The earplugs never came off in the Smoken Up Sprint, so he should have a bit left.” Im The Boss has been a revelation since joining the Aiken stable after being claimed for $11,000. He’s since won the Park Douglas Printing Mildura Cup, Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup and the Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup. Both horses will target the TAB Inter Dominion, which kicks off in Victoria on December 1. WA star Chicago Bull is the hot favourite for the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup. Frenning’s own rise in the sport in a short time has been nothing short of remarkable. She has transitioned from saddle to sulky with an ease that only comes from having an innate knowledge of standardbred horses. “It feels amazing. It’s just so special. I didn’t think I’d even be driving this much, let alone in the big races. I’ve got so many good people around me supporting me and I’m pinching myself,” she said. “It feels unreal. I’m loving it and just trying to take it all in.” Frenning hadn’t even heard of the Inter Dominion before moving Down Under, but now explains it to those back in Sweden as “the Australian version of the Elitlopp” “It’s clearly the biggest race here and to have four horses from the (Aiken) stable nominated, it’s crazy,” she said. Book your ID18 tickets today The confirmed starters for the 2018 Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup in alphabetical order are: AMERETTO CARLAS PIXEL CHICAGO BULL NZ FRANCO NELSON NZ GOTTA GO YA HU NZ IM THE BOSS MACH DORO MAJORDAN MY ALPHA ROCK NZ SHADOW SAX TIGER TARA NZ WRAPPERS DELIGHT THREE WAYS NZ (Em 1)   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA 

CHICAGO Bull will farewell his home state, at least for a couple of months, when he tackles Friday night’s $50,000 J P Stratton Cup at Gloucester Park. Trainer Gary Hall Sr confirmed he would run Chicago Bull this week, just eight days ahead of the Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton. “It’s a good race this week and he thrives on backing-up,” Hall Sr said. Chicago Bull will dominate betting regardless of draws on Friday given he’s won his past eight on end and 11 of his past 12 starts. Beyond the Victoria Cup, Hall Sr still has his sights on a 2200m standing-start handicap at Alexandra Park on October 26 for Chicago Bull. The Aussie TAB has Chicago Bull $3 favourite for the Victoria Cup and $4.50 favourite for the NZ Cup. __________________________________________________________________________________ EMERGING star Kima Frenning could face a big choice in a week or so. Frenning, the popular former Swede with the infectious smile, won her fourth Victorian country cup inside the past 12 months aboard former claimer Im The Boss last Thursday night. It the biggest of the four as well when Im The Boss led throughout to snare the $70,000 Group 2 Kilmore Cup, a race won by Lennytheshark and Soho Tribeca. It followed last season’s wins in the Cobram, Mildura and Shepparton Cups. The win, first-up from a spell and despite overracing at times in the lead, surely makes Saturday week’s Group 1 Victoria Cup a logical next target. But the same can be said for Im The Boss’ stablemate and another of Frenning’s regular drives, Wrappers Delight, who won well again at Melton last night. Frenning loves both horses, but has a special affinity for Im The Boss as he was her “breakthrough” horse. “I have got absolutely no words for this horse, he has just done so much for me. He just came to the end of his preparation last campaign and to come back and win a race like the Kilmore Cup against horses like that, he is just ridiculous,” she said. “When he is at his best he just goes to the front and keeps going and that is the way he races and that is what he does, he just knows it’s raceday.” Frenning admit to concern down the back straight the last time after Im The Boss had been so keen in front. “I was a bit worried as he’d been pulling a bit and then I saw I had My Kiwi Mate outside of me and Bettermatch out three-wide, but he just felt so strong on the bit and he just keeps boxing on and that is his best asset. He’s just got the biggest heart ever.” Im The Boss held-on to beat the rejuvenated Three Ways by 2.6m with another 1.9m away to Bad Billy in third spot. Favourite My Kiwi Mate didn’t enjoy doing the work outside the leader and tired late for seventh. __________________________________________________________________________________ A VICTORIA Cup tilt is next for classy sit-sprinter Mach Doro after his return to winning form at Menangle last night (Saturday). Owner Dom Martello looks set to have two runners in the Cup with his emerging pacer Wrappers Delight also right on target after winning at Melton last night. For Mach Doro, it won’t be his first Victoria Cup. Trainer Craig Cross took him down for the January, 2017 Cup won by Lazarus, but it was over at the start when Mach Doro galloped away. Cross looks to have timed his run at the race well with Mach Doro needing the run when first-up at Menangle two week’s back, then making the most of a gun run to beat quality rivals last night. Driver Luke McCarthy blasted Mach Doro off the gate to find the lead and then, sensibly, took the trail on seasoned Grand Circuit star Tiger Tara over the longer 2300m trip. Favourite Franco Nelson, first-up since June, had to work outside the leader, while Mach Doro had the cold trail. Tiger Tara sizzled a 26.9sec split from the 800-400m and still ran home in 27.7sec, but Mach Doro out-zipped him along the inside to win by 2.2m. Much-improved mare Village Witch ran a fantastic third, while Franco Nelson tried hard and was only beaten 3.8m in fourth spot in a slick 1min54sec mile rate. __________________________________________________________________________________ A DARING dip into open-class just failed to pay-off with emerging WA star King Of Swing last Friday night. With stable star Chicago Bull having a week off and knowing the Media Guild Cup was a preferential draw, trainer Gary Hall Sr threw King Of Swing into the race. The immensely talented former Kiwi drew the pole and led as expected, but was nabbed late by the tough and more seasoned Motu Premier. King Of Swing certainly had his chance with comfortable early splits and, although got a tad keen at times, driver Gary Hall Jr kicked away with what looked a winning break rounding the home bend. But Motu Premier, who did the work outside, just kept coming and snatched victory by a half-head over King Of Swing with Vampiro another head away in third spot in a 1min57.6sec mile rate for 2536m. It’s great to see Motu Premier, himself a former member of the All Stars’ barn, getting back to his best form for Merv Butterworth and trainer Ross Olivieri. __________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE Tritton has turned his unbeaten Chariots Of Fire hopeful Gods Spirit out for a spell. “He pulled-up with a bit of a cold after winning at Menangle last Tuesday so he can have a break now and come back around Christmas time to wind-up for the Chariots,” Tritton said. Gods Spirit won his first and only NZ run and, since being sold to Tritton, has won all four runs at Menangle by an aggregate of 65.1m. And he’s already paced a 1min50.9sec mile. __________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi trotter Father Christmas just keeps getting better for Brent Lilley. The eight-year-old posted his fourth and best win from just 12 Aussie runs – he’s been placed six times as well – when he made light work of a 10m handicap to thrash his rivals in the Group 3 Kilmore Trotters’ Cup last Thursday night. Lilley flexed his muscle with five runners in the race and also snared third spot with Kyvalley Barney.   Adam Hamilton

Im The Boss proved last night he is without doubt the boss of the country cups when powering to an all the way win in the 55th running of the Group 2 Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup. Last season’s Cobram, Mildura and Shepparton Cup champion, who was purchased as a claimer and has since also produced a narrow second at Warragul, went straight to the front and never saw another rival after that, leading all the way for the 2690m journey, as he did at Mildura. In what has been a stellar 12 months for Kima Frenning in the sulky, it was another big race success for the humble driver while it was trainer David Aiken’s second winner in the race after Lennytheshark saluted in 2017. Despite drifting all week in the TAB Fixed Odds market, Im The Boss was able to spear off the mobile at the start and see off all challengers. An emotional Kima Frenning was absolutely ecstatic on returning. “I have got absolutely no words for this horse, he has just done so much for me and he just came to end of his preparation last campaign and to come back and win a race like the Kilmore Cup like this against horses like that, he is just ridiculous,” Frenning told Trots Vision. “When he is at his best he just goes to the front and keeps going and that is the way he races and that is what he does, he just knows when it’s raceday. “At home we can barely get him to go because he is just so lazy and then he just knows exactly what to do when he comes out in the races. “I was a bit worried as he’d been pulling a bit and then I saw I had My Kiwi Mate outside of me and Bettermatch out three wide, but he just felt so strong on the bit and he just keeps boxing on and that is his best asset and he’s just got the biggest heart ever." It was one of two wins on the night for Frenning, who steered Makes Every Scents to win the J & A Mazzetti Pace, while trainer David Aiken had a training treble as he trained both of those horses and also Aldebaran Crescent to win the last. Aiken indicated the next target for Im The Boss would be the Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup on Saturday October 13 at Tabcorp Park Melton. Three Ways defied his ridiculous $41 odds to run another great race in second place while Bad Billy continued his good form under these conditions running third. Keep On Rocking enjoyed an economical run as expected and got through along the Jet Roofing Sprint Lane for fourth position ahead of Magical Marn. The two Sydney-Siders Ellmers Image and Bettermatch never really got into contention and finished sixth and eighth and My Kiwi Mate, who started a well backed favourite, weakened in the home straight to be beaten 13m into seventh spot after sitting outside the leader for the last two laps. The other feature on the program was the Group 3 McIvor Estate Kilmore Trotters Cup, which was won in fine style by Father Christmas, who proved once again in a country cup he was the best stayer. He won unextended by 10m for Greg Sugars over Margaret Ruth, who flashed home for second and Kyvalley Barney in third. La Grange was able to continue his progression by taking out the TAB Early Bird Special Trotters Handicap in a breeze, Winkanditsover caused a slight boilover in the Momentum Gaming Pace knocking out Diamonds N Cash and A Victor continued her progression in the Carlton & United Breweries Pace. It was a good crowd packed in for fine entertainment including photos and autographs with AFL stars Josh Jenkins and Michael Hurley. The next and second stage of the 2018/19 Trots Country Cups Championship will be on Friday October 19 at Swan Hill for the Group 3 Swan Hill Pacing Cup and Swan Hill Trotters Cup.   Luke Humphreys

Since being claimed for just $11,000, Im The Boss has secured harness racing connections in excess of $111,000 in seven months. The six-year-old’s remarkable rise continued at Shepparton last night in the $50,000 Group 11 Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup as the curtain came down on a successful 2017-18 Victorian Trots Country Cups Championship. Im The Boss set a new Shepparton record for the 2690m trip, the David Aiken-trained pacer overhauling champion stablemate Lennytheshark in the shadows of the post for a 1.5m win in a blistering mile rate of 1:56.1. An elated Swedish monte rider turned reinswoman Kima Frenning couldn’t speak higher of her champ post-race. “I just don’t know what to say,” she said. “To be able to run down a horse like Lennytheshark on a horse we claimed for $11,000 … he’s just the biggest fighter of all time. I’ve never driven a horse who tries as hard as him. It’s ridiculous.” Expected by many to be in front shortly after the start, Frenning’s plan A was thrown out of the cart when Nathan Jack and Cruz Bromac crossed from gate seven. Im The Boss trailed Cruz Bromac in the box seat until just inside the 400m when Lennytheshark, who had been punching the breeze for the previous mile, was driven to the front by David Aiken. Im The Boss got off the pegs and tracked his more celebrated stablemate – who literally had a huge tent full of supporters cheering him on – until the home straight when Frenning peeled to the outside. To use a cliché, Lennytheshark was as brave as Lennytheshark, fighting on like Lennytheshark right to the wire. But in the last 50m his death-seating efforts took effect and Im The Boss capitalised. The last quarter was in fact the slowest section of the race at 30.8secs, a rip-roaring 27.1secs down the back ensuring it game-on a fair way out. “I’m shaking my head. Even from Mildura, I was very edgy coming on to the track tonight – it’s always very nerve-racking against the good horses. You just hope you’re good enough and this horse does not stop trying,” Frenning said. And so the Inter Dominion discussion begins. With Victoria hosting the big dance for the first time in 10 years, it’s expected Im The Boss will target the riches. Since joining the Aiken camp in September last year, the six-year-old by Major In Art (out of Golden Navajo) has shown he’s adept at backing up. He won the Cobram Cup two days after his previous start, and followed a track record-breaking Mildura Cup heat win with a brutal victory in the Group 2 Final four days later. Meanwhile, Lennytheshark lost no admirers whatsoever. In fact, the superstar reached another career milestone, taking his career earnings past the $3 million mark by finishing second. Brallos Pass ran a super race for third, with Ellen Tormey in the sulky, narrowly defeating Cruz Bromac. Earlier Rickie Alchin trained and drove Tough Monarch to win the Alabar Shepparton Trotters Cup by 12.3m over runner-up Regal Pepperell, with Father Christmas third in 2:02.9. Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Avenel pacer Im The Boss has provided harness racing Swedish reinswoman Kima Frenning with her biggest win in Australia by taking Sunday’s Group 3 $30,000 Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup. Just when the favourite Major Secret was being hailed the winner halfway down the straight, the David Aiken trained Im The Boss rallied to snatch victory by a head in the last couple of strides in a thrilling climax to the 2678m marathon. Hickstead filled the minor placing while another of the local hopes, the Steve O’Donoghue trained and Bec Bartley driven mare Shakahari ran an honest race to finish fourth. The win was a bonus because the Harnes Racing Victoria vet was still tossing up half an hour before the first race as to whether he would cancel the meeting because of the 40°C-plus weather. But he didn’t and the rest was history for the Avenel-based trainer and driver. The first four placegetters raced on the pegs throughout the trip with only the leader and runner-up changing positions at the finishing line. Second favourite Milly Perez put some life into the race when she moved to the death seat mid-race but she was gone with 400m to run and finished second last. Driver of Major Secret, Mark Pitt, put the handle bars down at the start from outside the second row to take up the front running and leave punters, who had supported the Emma Stewart trained Art Major seven-year-old into a $1.90 favourite, on good terms with themselves before Im The Boss spoilt the party at the death knock. Frenning, who has been driving regularly with consistent success since March last year, was confident Im The Boss could run down Major Secret even though he had opened up what seemed a winning break around the home turn. ‘‘He never stops trying and he is a very tough horse,” Frenning said, describing the win as her biggest since arriving here and ‘‘up there’’ with her most memorable moments in the sulky. Im The Boss deserved his win, breaking a run of four consecutive seconds in the process to have his biggest payday, collecting $17000 for connections with the 15th win of his 73-start career. Frenning has driven Im The Boss in 12 of its past 13 starts since David Aiken took over the training of the six-year-old Art Major gelding and has now won four races on the pacer. But a Shepparton Cup appearance this Saturday night is not on his agenda because he has gone to the water walker for a week to freshen before plans for his next assignment are made. ‘‘As soon as the race started we lobbed in a good place just behind the leaders and throughout the race I thought he felt really good,’’ Frenning said. ‘‘As we came off the bend and into the straight I was sure we had the favourite covered but they weren’t going to give up,’’ she said. ‘‘But we got our head in front with about 50m to go and my horse wasn’t going to stop. ‘‘He is a super consistent horse and he has been a big part of my good season and I have also been given a lot of good horses to work with, giving me plenty of opportunity and I am really grateful for that.’’ Last season, which finished at the end of August, she had 12 winners. So far this season she already has 15. Reprinted with permission of The Telegraph  

On Melbourne radio station RSN a few weeks back, a discussion was raised around the possibility, that unbeaten juvenile thoroughbred Royal Symphony, might tackle this October’s Cox Plate.  That’s right, expert commentators openly toyed with the idea of an untried, untested baby racing against Winx, and perhaps even winning the Southern Hemisphere’s most revered WFA affair.  We don’t hear those conversations in Harness Racing. In fact, if a horse is anointed before their rightful time, both scribe and horse are in dire danger of being pilloried to within an inch of their lives.  That is why the San Carlo case confounds as much as it excites. Granted, San Carlo is no greenhorn; indeed he’s a somewhat seasoned, if incredibly lightly raced six-year-old, with the extraordinary record of 15 wins from just 17 race starts. But the fact media impresarios, and the general harness public are on the same page, in thinking this metropolitan maiden will inevitably stamp his imprimatur on Grand Circuit racing is unusual indeed.  Steve O’Donoghue and Beck Bartley’s gifted son, of the late Mach Three made his latest statement to those he means to face in coming months, easily winning on Saturday night at Shepparton.  Now it would seem he’ll finally look to bust his metro maiden status, via the Vicbred Championship series at Tabcorp Park both this week and next.  A crack at the Breeders Crown Graduate FFA potentially tackling Grand Circuit winner Hectorjayjay, then beckons before the new-look Vic Cup also looms large on the horizon.  So after an eternity of waiting we may know as soon as mid-October whether San Carlo, the horse that has united an industry of cynics, can actually match motors with the best Australia-wide.  For the second consecutive weekend Melton hosted a slew of semi-features on Friday night, one of those being the Group Three Melton Cup Final won by Ameretto.  Always a gifted commodity for owner and original trainer Ashley Grives, Ameretto was a three-time Group One placegetter in her formative years but has gone to a whole new level on Victorian soil.  Superbly trained and steered by the world’s most decorated horsewoman, Kerryn Manning, the headstrong mare led as expected from her polemarking draw and only got weary once the race was won. “She (Ameretto) has been in terrific form but there were plenty that wanted to come around and have a look at her mid-race, which led to the quick mid-race sectionals,” Manning said.  “I was really proud of her effort to hold on, given she was running up the track slightly and was rightfully getting a bit tired late.  “While she’s going well there are races for her here, and she will probably stay down here a little bit longer.  “I know she’s one of Ash’s favourite horses and she’s always calling after her, so it’s nice that she’s really racing well down here right now.  With most of Australia’s major mares’ races done for 2017, Manning refused to rule out a trip to Perth for their female features over the Inter-Dominion carnival.  Though Manning and her father Peter have had enormous success on Victoria’s Country Cup circuit, and there’s little reason to believe Ameretto, if she settles a little better, wouldn’t be suited to those kinds of races as well.    It's probably fair to say, the last 72 hours haven’t boosted New Zealand’s chances of winning Sunday afternoon’s Victoria Trotters Derby, during Redwood Day at Maryborough. As we all now know, NZ’s best 3YO squaregaiter Enghien officially folded his cards for the Derby on Sunday, but the rot set in for the Kiwis two days earlier at Melton. That, of course was when President Roydon, the former All-Star alumni recently transferred to Kerryn Manning was beaten at red-figure odds in a key Derby lead-up event. Having finished second to Enghien at four of his previous five outings, President Roydon was expected to dominate a gifted if not quite elite group of adversaries at Vic Harness HQ. Despite comfortably leading that wasn’t to be however as underrated Vicbred Super Series runner-up, Garshaway easily out-sprinted him in the closing stages. The news was slightly better but still somewhat surprising from the juvenile brigade, with ex-Kiwi More Shades Of Gold outgunning Jewels runner-up, One Muscle Hill in Melton’s final event. Unfortunately if gun reinsman Nathan Jack is right, that won’t help the Kiwi or ex-Kiwi brigade from making their mark, on the Redwood Classis as More Shades Than Gold is unlikely to go there. “He’s obviously come over with some pretty good wraps, and his best New Zealand form was right around some of their better two-year-old trotters,” Jack said. “This just didn’t suit him first-up; he was behind the leader at Stawell and they went pretty slowly, but tonight everything just worked out well for him. “He probably won’t go to the Redwood Classic, because I don’t think he gets away too well from the stand, so his main goal will likely be the Breeders Crown which is obviously coming up pretty quickly.”   While there were plenty of equine heroes at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night, the best story of the night was a human one. Roughly three years ago, a Swedish Monte rider of Middle Eastern heritage named, Kima Frenning moved to Australia, soon after joining Team Aiken in the hope of furthering her experience with horses.  At the time ridden-trots were gaining a foothold in Victoria and predictably Frenning has been the pre-eminent exponent of Monte riding in this part of the world.  Despite that success, the young horsewoman, who has also been in a long-term relationship with young gun Josh Aiken, decided she wanted to drive and not just ride her standardbred friends.  After an understandably slow start to her career in the cart, Frenning has improved out of sight in recent months and on Friday night she drove her first metropolitan winner.  Without any additional details that would be an incredible achievement, but the fact she recorded the milestone success on a catch drive for Emma Stewart made it even sweeter again.  Another former All Star pacer, Motu Premier further confirmed what a wonderful job he’ll do on Western Australian soil by winning the Chandon Final on Friday night at Gloucester Park.  Now with Ross Olivieri, the Merv Butterworth-trained four-year-old parked out and outclassed his adversaries at WA headquarters to bring his record to seven successes from nine starts on Aussie soil.  While he’s fast headed into some high quality company the way Motu Premier saluted on the weekend would suggest there’s still serious scope for improvement into the future.      As has been become standard transmission in recent years, Emma Stewart made the Southern Cross Finals at Globe Derby her own on Saturday night winning two of the four Group Two deciders.  Teaming with long-time stable owner Bruce Cameron who has made a committed effort to target South Australia’s richest futurity series, Stewart claimed wins with That’s Perfect and Perfect Look in the 2YO boys and 3YO girls’ finals respectively. Victoria pillaged even more folding from the SA coffers when the Nicole Molander-trained Saphirique won the freshman fillies final courtesy of a superb Gavin Lang drive. The locals were not left completely bereft however, as the Megan Gee owned-and driven Somebeachgift went spectacularly well to win the 3YO colts and geldings decider. The night was also notable for Belgian reinsman Sidney Van Den Brande collecting his biggest win on Aussie soil partnering the aforementioned Perfect Look for bosses Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Adam Hamilton

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