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Gaining a start in an Inter Dominion, let alone winning one, is a great accomplishment for any trots horse and their connections. To see Love Ina Chevy pace up to the mobile in an ID18 heat on the first night in December would be nothing short of phenomenal. If the Lance Justice-trained gelding’s recovery from a snake bite in early 2016 wasn’t remarkable enough, the seven-year-old’s recent ultra-impressive wins at Trots HQ - over 1720m in 1:52.5 on August 17 and 1:54.0 on September 22, and over 2240m in 1:55.3 on August 24 - have elevated him to a genuine free-for-all competitor. The brave Colin Croft-owned pacer now faces the likes of Ameretto, Wrappers Delight and  Shadow Sax in Saturday night’s Group 2 TAB Multiplier Smoken Up Sprint, a race Justice said would be tough from outside the front row. “We would have liked a better barrier draw against those horses, as they are all really good, but he has shown he is up with the best,” Justice said. “If he can get a sit in somewhere he could still be a chance – he can sprint faster than most horses right now.” Love Ina Chevy looked like he could be almost anything as a youngster, with Justice himself confident the talented pacer would become a topliner. But, as has been well documented, disaster struck in January, 2016, when the then four-year-old was found collapsed in his paddock as the result of a suspected snake bite. Justice’s staff battled for three days to stabilise the son of Jeremes Jet, with the major operation including placing blow-up mattresses under the gelding, erecting a makeshift tent over him and constant massaging. Now Love Ina Chevy is being set for the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup on October 13 and TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship. “I’m pretty excited about him; he will run a really big race in the Victoria Cup and I would say he would rank very highly in the Inter Dominion, as he has been racing very consistently and very fast,” Justice said. “It would be great to make the final and get some money in it but they are good horses and I look at him and where he has come from … he couldn’t get up on his own for six weeks, we had to pick him up every day. It got to the stage where it was day 42 and I actually said to the horse, ‘mate, if you don’t start getting up by yourself, you may not survive’.” History shows Love Ina Chevy returned to the racetrack in October that year and has kept improving since. Justice said the gelding was now travelling better than ever. “He has gone past his personal best. He is just amazing that he has got to where he is,” he said. “He still has little issues (arising from the bite) – he has a depressed immune system and tends to pick up colds and bugs and stuff pretty easily – but he has a good constitution in himself, he is a strong-willed horse, he has a strong nature, so that helps him. “I am full of praise for him because he does it all on his own; he is just a great horse.” Justice said winning on Saturday night would be even more significant given the race is named after dual-Miracle Mile and Victoria Cup winner Smoken Up, who he trained to 74 wins and more than $3.6 million in prizemoney. “It would be satisfying (to win) but he has already had his first touch of bad luck with it by drawing the outside gate,” he said. “In saying that there are three really good speedy horses on the inside so if he comes out there is a good chance he could get a nice spot in the middle of the field – and he only has to be in the middle of the field to be a chance.” Shaun Campbell Trots Media

CHICAGO Bull just continues doing everything right heading towards the New Zealand Cup. The pint-sized superstar stretched his unbeaten run this season to seven wins with another easy and dominant display at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The horse they call “mini Quinny” in WA, has won 11 of his past 12 starts and was only beaten a whisker in the other. There is no doubt he’s the best pacer in this part of the world right now. And he’s only got one more run at home at Gloucester Park before heading to Melbourne for the Victoria Cup across the Tasman for the NZ Cup. “He runs again here on Friday week, then it’s across to Melbourne where we will stay with Daniel Jack for the Victoria Cup,’ Hall Sr said. After the October 13 Victoria Cup, Chicago Bull heads to NZ via Auckland for an Alexandra Park standing start on October 26. Hall Sr said he planned to run Chicago Bull in both the NZ Cup and the NZ Free-For-All on the Friday. “If he misses anything it will be the Inter Dominioon because is the money is not huge and he’s got the two big races at home in January,” Hall Sr said. “I’d love to run in the Inter Dom because the race means so much, but the prizemoney isn’t great and if something has to give, that’ll be it.” ____________________________________________________________________________________ TIGER Tara will need to do something and quickly to return to the NZ Cup after his fantastic placing last year. Kevin Pizzuto’s stable star has been winless in three runs this campaign and looked a shadow of himself in the free-for-all at Menangle last night. He drew wide, settled last in a hotly run race and made no impact before finishing 5.5m from the winner in seventh spot. The race was run by Steve Turnbull’s emerging talent Joes Star Of Mia, who gunned-down the in-form My Alpha Rock for an upset in a 1min50.3sec mile. My Alpha Rock worked hard to find the front from a wide draw in a 26.9sec opening quarter and kept finding for Lauren Tritton, but Joes Star Of Mia nabbed victory by a nose in the last stride. ____________________________________________________________________________________ NEW Zealand Cup plans for Queensland’s best pacer, Alleluia, will be a lot clearer by the end of this week. Owner Greg Mitchell has set Wednesday as D-Day. “It’s been a lifetime dream to have a runner in the NZ Cup. I’m really looking to experiencing the whole event,” he said. Alleluia won four on end at Albion Park before storming home from a bad draw and hopeless position for fourth in the free-for-all last night. It’s certainly the right year to chase the NZ Cup with some big names either having gone amiss or been sold to the US. WA’s Chicago Bull is the horse to beat and much interest will surround Ultimate Machete when he returns to racing next month for the All Stars barn. ____________________________________________________________________________________ IF you get the chance, take a look at Gods Spirit in the third race at Menangle on Tuesday. The former Kiwi, who won his only NZ start before being sold to Team Tritton, has looked fantastic winning all three runs for the new barn so far. Shane Tritton has declared him a serious Chariots of Fire horse. Gods Spirit’s three wins have been by an aggregate 53.9 metres and he’s paced miles in 1min51.0sec, 1min51.7sec and 1min50.9sec. “He’s something else. Now it’s about teaching to become a complete racehorse before he goes into the big races. The ability is there,” Tritton said. “The trick with our handicapping system now is that’s only four wins away from being in fast-class at Menangle. If he keeps winning he’ll get there after just eight runs. “That makes it tricky to teach him along the way.” ____________________________________________________________________________________ HE might be an 11-year-old now, but Kyvalley Blur may never have raced better. The US-bred member of Brent Lilley’s barn made a one-act affair of the Group 3 True Roman free-for-all at Melton in a 1min58.1sec mile rate for 2240m last night. It was his fourth win from his past five starts and the only defeat was a top second to the now sadly sidelined star Sparkling Success. Last night’s win capped a milestone for Kyvalley Road, who stormed past the $500,000 barrier. Lilley “owned” the race with the first four runners home. El Paco, Any Old Way and Conon Bridge were next across the line in order. Despite his years, Kyvalley Blur looks every bit a major player in the upcoming resurrection of the Inter Dominion trotting series in Victoria. ____________________________________________________________________________________ INTERESTING move in Tasmania with the state’s marquee race, the Tasmania Cup, switching back from a mobile to standing-start handicap on March 16, 2019. Horses will need to contest qualifying heats the week before to qualify. “There will be a 40m maximum backmark,” added Harness Racing Tasmanian spokesman Duncan Dornauf. ____________________________________________________________________________________ IT is amazing to think Love Ina Chevy was on death’s door for the best part of a week from a snake bite to his mouth less than three years ago. Trainer Lance Justice held 24-hour vigils, day after day, as his prospects of surviving continued to fluctuate. Eventually he turned the corner. Now he’s winning the fast-class races at Melton. Love Ina Chevy underlined his career-best form when he posted his third Melton win from his past five starts in the fifth event last night. And he did so after sitting behind the leader and main danger, Audi Hare, and still having enough “ping” to gun him down in a closing 26.8sec quarter at the end of a 1min54.0sec mile rate for 1720m. Unthinkably, Justice has every reason to aim for the Melbourne Inter Dominion series given Love Ina Chevy’s improvement, gate speed and versatility.   Adam Hamilton

Victorian trots drivers have revealed some of the most poisionous tweets and messages directed at them in a bid to draw the spotlight on the damage such attacks can have. The message #BeKindToYourDrivers has been reinforced today across Trots Media's digital channels with a video featuring drivers Rebecca Bartley, Greg Sugars, Chris Alford, Alex Ashwood, Ellen Tormey and David Miles, the result of a collaboration between Harness Racing Victoria and the Off And Pacing mobile harness racing game. Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association president Lance Justice said the negative impact of these text attacks was often significant. "As an industry we need to speak up and say abusing drivers on social media is not okay," Justice said. "It happens to all of us and there’s nothing worse than when you out there on the racetrack and things don’t go your way to then see a torrent of abuse, which wrecks your day, your night and your weekend. "Punters want to hear from drivers on social media, but they won’t get too if these drivers are being discouraged to use those channels by abuse. The VTDA is very supportive of the #BeKindToYourDrivers campaign.” Participants are reminded they have free access to the Industry Assistance Program offered by Harness Racing Victoria, which provides support for a range of personal or work-related issues. Watch the video here!   Michael Howard Trots Media

2004 – Sokyola delivers Justice his first Victoria Cup. “It’s the Aussie champ, Sokyola’s done it again!” Racecaller Dan Mielicki produced a trademark pearl for Race 7 at the Valley on 18 December 2004. Same can be said for Lance Justice, the straight-shooting harness racing horseman who put the hobbles on his superstar Sokyola that night and delighted favourite punters who took a ticket at the $2.10 on offer with the bagmen. The win came during a season of astronomical success for Sokyola, an eight-year-old son of Sokys Atom out of a one-start maiden Chiola Hanover mare named Maudola (12th at Winton in 1995 on debut). In fact, both 03-04 and 04-05 saw Sokyola unrivalled in the pacing game – named back-to-back Australian Harness Horse of the Year. Soky won both Miracle Miles in those seasons at the then dream factory of New South Wales trots, Harold Park. At the completion of his racetrack career, Sokyola had amassed $1,890,990 in stakemoney with 78 wins and 42 minor placings from 161 appearances. For trivia buffs, the first of those successes came for a Kiwi trainer, Mervyn Todd, who drove Sokyola home in a three-year-old handicap at Invercargill in March 2000. “Don McRae and Curly Thomas jacked up the sale for us,” Todd told the Southland Times in 2007. “(Australian trainer) Lance Justice flew over and trialled him on my wee track. He only ran him over a furlong and commented he was a natural.” That was enough for Justice to be won over. In Australia, Sokyola was raced by Colin Croft, who, like his trainer originated in South Australia. And Sokyola was not Croft’s first Horse of the Year, either. He famously raced Inter Dominion champion Markovina (1977’s premier trots performer). In terms of Soky’s achievements, the 2004 Vic Cup win is remembered as one of his most memorable. Working to the front early for Justice, who incidentally earlier that evening piloted outsider Cam Strike home in the opener – the Claimers Cup, Sokyola dictated the pace early (74.7secs lead time, 31.7 first split and 32.5 second). “It is going to be a big sprint home here,” said Mielicki. “Have they played into Lance’s hands?” They had. At the 500m Justice began to up the stakes, Just An Excuse was extended by reinsman Todd Mitchell in the breeze, and Flashing Red, the Queenslander for Ian McMahon, was three-wide. Hexus, for Nathan Giles, was following Justice’s every move behind Sokyola, waiting to strike. At full throttle Hexus worked home solidly along the inside but his late bid was always doomed to fail, with Sokyola having plenty in reserve up the stretch. Just An Excuse finished third and stuck to his guns but, in reality, Soky always had them licked in the run, winning by a metre and a half in 2:02.5 with a last quarter of 27-flat. The triumph was Justice’s first in a Vic Cup but wouldn’t be his last. In the 2011 renewal he combined with his next champion, the indomitable Smoken Up at Tabcorp Park Melton. And who’s to say there won’t be another?  Book your Allied Express Victoria Cup dining package today Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Next stop is Queensland for star former Kiwi pacer Tiger Tara.  Trainer Kevin Pizzuto moved-on quickly from a totally luckless Len Smith Mile run to back-up Tiger Tara for a dominant win, albeit against easier class, in the Group Three Coca Cola Pace (1609m) at Menangle last Saturday night.  In the Len Smith, Tiger Tara found himself back last in a top-start affair and was clocked to run a 52.5 last half off the track when finishing only eighth.  Driver Todd McCarthy was mindful of not getting too far off the pace this time.  Main danger Allblack Stride worked forward to find the lead from gate eight, but McCarthy quickly moved around the field to sit parked after settling near the rear.  McCarthy stepped-up the heat on Allblack Stride rounding the final bend, quickly hit the front, then Tiger Tara seemed to do just what he had to do for a 4.1m win in a 1.52.7 mile.  It will now be interesting whether Pizzuto heads to Brisbane for next Saturday night’s Group One Sunshine Sprint, or sticks to his original plan of bypassing it, and waits for the longer Group One Blacks A Fake the following week.  Lennytheshark, Hectorjayjay and My Field Marshal head the list of stars awaiting Tiger Tara in Queensland.  We’re in for a couple of great weeks of racing.      Still on Queensland and the Allstars barn quickly put their stamp on this year’s Winter Carnival.  Despite being small on numbers with just the two raiders, both of them won with authority.  First-up was The More The Better, who capped his preparation for the Queensland Derby with an effortless win in the $30,000 Group Three Premiers Cup with Natalie Rasmussen aboard.  Rasmussen also took the reins on star filly Partyon, who showed a return to her sparkling early season form, to win a very strong Provincial Oaks.  Another Kiwi filly, Delighful Memphis, was sent out a hot favourite and led as expected, but Partyon was too strong and classy in a 1.56.8 mile rate for 2138m, capped by closing splits of 55.9 and 26.9.  Former Kiwi filly Shartin, who has been grabbing the eye in easier races for Victorian train Dean Braun, ran a slashing second. My Casino Belle was third and Delightful Memphis fourth.  Another impressive winner on the night was Grant Dixon’s four-year-old Leos Best, who used gate three lead and was simply too fast for the promising stayer Mattgregor in the Group Three 4YO Championship. They flew home in 56.3 last half and 27.8 closing quarter for a 1.55.1 mile rate.  NSW raider Spare Me Days won the Mr Feelgood pace for open-class pacers narrowly but impressively.  Maybe one-time budding superstar Beaudiene Boaz can still be a Perth Inter-Dominion contender.  The Gary Hall snr-trained pacer looked a bit special last season, but his form has been indifferent since.  He posted just his fourth win in almost 18 months when he led throughout at Gloucester Park in the Past Presidents Cup (2130m) last Friday night.  It was a real line in the sand race and the five-year-old delivered. He came from gate five, sat parked early, worked to the front and won strongly by 1.8m in a slick 1.54.8 mile rate from Vulcan Tin and stablemate Run Oneover.  It was the second leg of a double for Hall Jr in the sulky, having taken advantage of a scorching early pacer to blow his rivals away on promising four-year-old Zach Maguire in a flying 1.52.6.    Advance Attack filly Cott Beach built on her impressive record with a dominant Westbred 2YO Fillies’ final win at Gloucester Park last Friday night.  Trained by Gary Elson and driven by Nathan Turvey, Cott Beach posted her sixth win from just eight starts when she led throughout to win the Group One $100,000 feature by a whopping 21.5m.  Cott Beach posted a 1.58.8 mile rate, while Highroller Joe (Roll With Joe-Illeagle) ran only marginally quicker at 1.58.6 in the colts and geldings final. It was a big night for Highroller Joe’s trainer-driver Justin Prentice, who also won the 3YO Fillies’ final with Allamerican Queen.  Handsandwheels capped a big season where he won the WA Derby and then added last Friday night’s $100,000 Westbred final for father-son team Andrew and Aiden De Campo.    Lance Justice has won bigger races, not many would have meant as much as last Saturday night’s $20,000 Popular Alm Sprint (1690m) at Kilmore.  That’s because he trained Love Ina Chevy to a fighting win, and he’s the gelding who narrowly cheated death so many times, when gravely ill at the start of last year. Incredibly, the five-year-old lost none of his fighting qualities as shown by his biggest career win in the Popular Alm.  Love Ina Chevy led and took a trail then used the sprint lane to snatch victory from Four Ex Dan by a half-head in a 1.55.9 mile rate.    Star former Kiwi mare Cyclone Kate was the first benefactor of Menangle’s trial of a new handicapping system.  The system allows horses to drop back in grades pending from over their past five starts and Cyclone Kate did just that and then used gate four to lead and win impressively in a 1.53.1 mile.  Another winner of note on the night was Shane Tritton’s Eh Ef El, who blazed a 1.52.1 mile in race nine.  Tritton has been singing Eh Ef El’s praises for much of this year, but he’s shown as many “tricks” as he has sparkling displays.  If he keeps doing it all right like last Saturday, Eh Ef El will roar through the grades.    No wonder former Kiwi youngster Jack Mac is prepost favourite to win WA’s biggest juvenile race, the Golden Slipper.  The son of Mach Three stretched his unbeaten Aussie record to five wins when he cruised around at Gloucester Park last Friday night.  Jack Mac was unplaced in five Kiwi runs before moving to Barry Howlett’s barn when he looked top shelf.  Another winner from last Saturday’s Gloucester Park meeting well known to Kiwis was recent All Stars’ export Motu Premier, who emphatically won his second run for trainer Ross Olivieri.  The Merv Butterworth-owned four-year-old has enjoyed a bumper season, first in NZ then with two wins and a close second from three Menangle runs (still with the All Stars) and now with Olivieri.  This season he’s raced 13 times for eight wins, two seconds and earned over $80,000. Adam Hamilton

Bad Boy Brad’s ascension continued on Saturday night in front of a large harness racing crowd at Tabcorp Park Melton, taking out the 2017 Exclusive Homes Maltese Cup. The Diane Giles trained six-year-old produced a withering sprint for driver Lance Justice to capture the silverware in a stirring four-way finish, with first through to fourth separated by not much more than a long head. The Gunbower Cup winner has already won six races from 21 starts this season, Bad Boy Brad’s assessment climbing from C7-M0 to M3-C12. Video: Re-live Bad Boy Brad's Maltese Cup win Bad Boy Brad (Righteous Hanover-Bubbas Babe) rated 1:54.1 to overhaul south-west Victorian pair Jivin Cullen (trained by Brad Hunt and driven by Glen Craven) in a photo finish officially by a half-head, with a head further back to Roy George (Matthew Craven) and another head to Upanatom (David Aiken/Mark Pitt) in fourth. Bad Boy Brad launched late down the outside against a 27.7 last quarter and a 28 secs third split and looks destined for bigger assignments again. Long Forest husband and wife team Andy and Kate Gath secured a winning double and three second placings for the night, successful with trotters Clover Mac (Dream Vacation-Clover Lass) in the SEW Eurodrive Trotters Handicap in 2:00.3 from the 2240-metre standing start and Posseidon (Fling It-Maori Acacia) in the Rayner Real Estate 3YO Trot over 1720m in 1:59.8. Click here to view all results from Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night Click here to listen to the winning drivers on HRV YouTube  Cody Winnell

Young South Australian harness racing trainer Chris Neilson achieved the ultimate when he supplied the trifecta in the $10,000 2017 Justice Family Plate (2645m) at Globe Derby Park. Machtwister ($6), a query at the trip, sprinted up the sprint lane to grab leader Im A Peregrine ($7.90) and scored by a long neck with Soho Monza ($19.40), 4-1/2 metres away third. Ironically, the son of Mach Three started his career as a two-year-old with champion trainer-driver Lance Justice who was on course at Globe Derby Park to be part of the presentation of the race named in honour of his family. “Lance said Machtwister was a bit of a rogue early and I can tell you age hasn’t improved him, but I love him because he has been a wonderful horse for my stable,” Neilson said. A son of prominent SA trainer Jill Neilson, Chris has been slowly building a handy team of pacers starting out by purchasing older horses and running them mainly in claimers. It is fair to say he was in a state of shock after training the trifecta in the Justice Family Plate. Neilson said he had to thank his mother for helping with his team. “I actually took a week’s holiday last week and none of the horses were fast worked in the lead up to tonight,” he said. “With the hot weather in Adelaide this week that might have been a good move.” Neilson prove he has an astute brain telling driver Wayne Hill to take a sit on Machtwister rather than leading which he had been expected to do from gate one. “He was a doubt at the trip and I knew if he led he would possibly fire up and over race,” Neilson said. “Sitting in behind he settled a lot better but when Im A Peregrine was able to lead I thought he would be the one to beat but Machtwister was good enough to sprint lane him.” Neilson owns Machtwister outright, shares ownership with fiancée Kristen Harris in Ima A Peregrine, and with business partner Byron O’Reilly in Soho Monza. “It was a big result,” Neilson said. “It is the first $10,000 race I’ve won, it was my first trifecta and I’m pretty sure it has never been done before in the Justice Family Plate.” The trainer celebrated hard on Saturday and admitted on Sunday he was “standing myself down on vet’s advice.” by Graham Fischer

TASMANIAN harness racing trainer Troy Hillier has made some handy purchases over the years but his latest venture is his best. Hillier claimed nine-year-old pacer Im Barney Rubble in a claiming race at Melton in Victoria at the end of October last year for $10,000 and yesterday at Luxbet Park the gelding scored an emphatic win in the $20,000 Hobart Pacing Cup over 3060 metres. Im Barney Rubble ($4.80) started off the front row in the standing start event and stepped straight to the front with the trainer's twin brother Rohan Hillier in the sulky. The gelding set a solid pace and when he was asked to extend turning for home he careered away from his rivals to score by 27 metres from Major Callum ($3 favourite) with Just Knew $4.90) a half-head away third. "I had my eye on the horse for a while before I bought him because I thought he might be able to win a few races here in Tasmania," Troy Hiller said. "He was with trainer Lance Justice and the horse wasn't going all that well having not won for about 30 starts, which is why he was put in claiming races over there. "But I'd watched replays of a few of his runs earlier in the year and I thought a change of scenery and different training environment might rejuvenate the horse so I took a punt and claimed him. "He ran second at is first start for me in Launceston in the Danbury Park Cup but two starts later he won his Hobart Pacing Cup heat and that almost paid for him. "He's led today and in the end he's absolutely blitzed them so hopefully he can retain this form and go on and win more races." Im Barney Rubble (Life Sign-Pebbles) has had 120 starts for 19 wins and 13 minor placings form $171,000 in prizemoney and Hillier confirmed his next main mission will be the Devonport Cup.   Peter Staples

Harness Racing Victoria Chairman Dale Monteith will join RSN Racing Ahead host Michael Felgate on Wednesday morning live from 9am. Trainer/driver Lance Justice (president of the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association) will also join the panel live in the studio to discuss Harness Racing Australia’s decision to ban the whip as a tool to make horses run faster from September 1, 2017. HRV today refuted ill-informed media reports that suggested the harness racing industry had no whip restrictions in place and tried to compare stock whips, such as those used in the cattle industry, to modern harness racing whips. Both of these remarks are completely misleading. Modern day harness whips are nothing like stock whips and the harness racing industry places strict restrictions on the use of the whip. Rule 156 (1) (a) of the Australian Harness Racing Rules states a driver shall only use a whip of a design and specification approved by the controlling body. Further, over 20 restrictions are placed on whip use as an extension of that rule. In Victoria these rules are strictly policed by stewards, who do not issue cautions or reprimands, but rather impose mandatory penalties starting at a fine for first offence ($200), doubled for a second offence ($400) and becomes a two-week suspension of licence for a third offence. HRV has committed to working closely with its trainers and drivers to ensure a smooth and safe transition to no-whip racing from September 1, 2017. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Harness racing legend Lance Justice led his Australian team to victory in yesterdays American Ideal Trans Tasman Drivers Challenge at invercargill. The competition pits teams of reinsmen from Australia, the North Island and South Island against each other in five heats with an individual and teams title up for grabs. In the previous two years the North Island had been victorious but after a strong start by the South Island in this year's competition the Australians hit the front when they scored the trifecta in the second heat and were never headed. Justice led the way with a tally of 25 points to take the Individual Trophy. He was ably backed up by John Caldow on 20 points with Lisa Miles and David Murphy adding a further ten points to amass a total of 55 points to record Australia's first win in the Challenge. Zac Butcher equalled Caldow's 20 points to be the equal second highest point scorer on the day but his North Island team mates, Joshua Dickie, Scott Phelan and David Butcher could only muster a further 9 points between them to finish last of the three teams. The South Islanders were very consistent with Nathan Williamson gathering 14 points, Ricky May and Blair Orange 12 each and Clark Barron 8 to finish runners-up on 46 points.    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Bruce Stewart

Harness racing trainers Gordon and Colin Lee have had a bit to do with Jackofdiamonds and two separate times they've trained him to win two of his races. The son of Majestic Son, he's owned by Sam Moore who's trained him for most of his twenty two starts. Moore has certainly done the ground work, and the gelding was coming into form under his guidance with a fifth, third and a second, prior to his win today at Ascot Park.  "We had him last year and he won a race for us at Forbury. I thought he'd improve by working in company at home. At Sam's place he's only got the one horse. He works with Moment Of Sun at home. He's not a top line trotter and he's not going to run around against those C5-C6 trotters but if we place him right he's going to be competitive," said Gordon after the win. Driver Lance Justice settled Jackofdiamonds behind the early leader Karlie Montana. The lead changed several times. With a lap to run he was five back on the inside. At the 600 metre mark Justice managed to get him off the inside running line but he still had a wall of horses in front of him. At the 400 he was running fourth and improving on the outside. He trotted nicely down the middle of the sodden track to beat Spotlight The Valley by three quarters of a length. The winning time was 3-43.5 - a mile rate of 2-13.2.  Jackofdiamonds returning to the birdcage                  Photo by Bruce Stewart "Probably the track suited him as he doesn't have high speed. Lance was fairly impressed and said he didn't feel like he'd be hard to beat inside the 1000." The Lees have had a long association with Justice, having sold horses to the Australian legend for thirty odd years, so it was a great result for all. Jackofdiamonds is out of the Sundon mare Aceofdiamonds which has been a very good broodmare for Moore. The mare's first foal Maidofdiamonds won a race. Her second foal is Jackofdiamonds while her third foal Sky Commander won three races here for Australian owners Merv and Meg Butterworth. He is now with Kerryn Manning in Australia where he's won another eight races. He's also been place in a number for Group races and has now won $97,446. Jackofdiamonds with winning connections in the birdcage              Photo Bruce Stewart The mare's next foal Ace Commander qualified at Forbury Park last month and is now with Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen at Rolleston.  Earlier in the programme today, Justice drove the Edendale trained River Patrol to a much deserved win in Race Four.  River Patrol winning easily for Lance Justice                                  Photo by Bruce Stewart The six year old Live Or Die gelding is trained by Craig Laurenson and owned by Ian Bennett. It was the horse's third win. Winning connections with Charlotte Mooney from Woodland Stud (left)  - Photo Bruce Stewart Meanwhile Lance Justice from Australia led his Australian team to victory in today's American Ideal Trans Tasman Drivers Challenge. The competition pits teams of reinsmen from Australia, the North Island and South Island against each other in five heats with an individual and teams title up for grabs. In the previous two years the North Island had been victorious but after a strong start by the South Island in thisyear's competition the Australians hit the front when they scored the trifecta in the second heat and were never headed. Justice led the way with a tally of 25 points to take the Individual Trophy. He was ably backed up by John Caldow on 20 points with Lisa Miles and David Murphy adding a further ten points to amass a total of 55 points to record Australia's first win in the Challenge. Zac Butcher equalled Caldow's 20 points to be the equal second highest point scorer on the day but his North Island team mates, Joshua Dickie, Scott Phelan and David Butcher could only muster a further 9 points between them to finish last of the three teams. The South Islanders were very consistent with Nathan Williamson gathering 14 points, Ricky May and Blair Orange 12 each and Clark Barron 8 to finish runners-up on 46 points.    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

The pacer nicknamed “Brad” after Brad Pitt for his “pretty face” has turned his “Pee-Wee Herman” body into the “all-round package”, says harness racing trainer/driver Lance Justice. After driving Bad Boy Brad to victory in yesterday’s Gunbower Family Hotel Gunbower Pacing Cup Justice said his partner Dianne Giles, who trains the six-year-old gelding, “had a taste for cups and would be targeting more of them”. Justice acknowledged the $25,000 Trots Country Cups bonus, powered by, describing it as “a pretty attractive bonus”. “I’d say they’re all on the radar now,” Justice said of the upcoming country cups. Bad Boy Brad settled back in the field in the 2630-metre race before Justice got on to the three-wide train in the last lap and was well within striking distance within 10m of the lead at the top turn. On straightening Chris Alford was throwing everything at Pepe Bromac first-up from a spell, but the fitter Bad Boy Brad flattened out strongly and found the line impressively. Pepe Bromac was 3m away second and Diamond Ace for John Newberry worked home for third, beaten 7.1m. “About three months ago Brian Kiesey actually said to me ‘that horse will make a cups horse … he’s got the speed’ and at the time (Bad Boy Brad) was only a C4. I said ‘I hope you’re right Brian’,” Justice said. “After he won so well at Melton the other night I said to Dianne I’ve never been to a Gunbower Cup so let’s put him in.” Justice admitted he had some difficulty finding the Gunbower track initially, the GPS not working as well as one would hope, but the victory made the five-hour road trip worthwhile. Justice spoke glowingly of the job Giles has done training Bad Boy Brad, the son of Righteous Hanover-Bubbas Babe overcoming several difficulties to get to this point in his career. “She’s made him really,” Justice said. “The horse has had more spells than races and he’s taken a fair bit of tinkering and lots of different training techniques at home to overcome a few things. Dianne has really sorted him out.” The Trots Country Cups Championship next heads to Stawell on December 4, followed by Geelong on December 10, Wedderburn on December 11 and Cobram on December 27. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

David Murphy from Ballarat in Victoria is the addition to the Australian team for the American Ideal Trans Tasman Drivers Challenge at Ascot Park on Sunday week (27 November). He joins John Caldow, Lance Justice and Lisa Miles from the 2015 team and takes the place of Kerryn Manning. Zac and David Butcher are returning for the North Island team but Peter Ferguson and Maurice McKendry have been replaced by Josh Dickie and Scott Phelan. The South Island representatives remain unchanged, being Dexter Dunn, Ricky May, Blair Orange and Nathan Williamson. Five of the 10 races have been set aside for the invited drivers, a handicap trot and four mobile start paces: C1 to C2 2700 metres handicap trot  C0 mobile (four old and older) 2200 metres C1 mobile (four old and older) 2200 metres C1 mobile (four old and older) 2700 metres C2 to C3 mobile (four old and older) 2700 metres The North won last year's challenge with the South Island runner-up and Australia third.   Mac Henry

Leading Victorian harness racing trainer Lance Justice is urging all racing participants to band together after the NSW government announced plans to outlaw greyhound racing within the state as of July 1, 2017. Justice is a highly respected figure in the harness world, having prepared champion pacer Smoken Up to 74 wins and 54 minor placings from 153 starts, with over $3.6 million in prize money earnings. Despite his stature within another code, Justice says he was distressed to hear of the ban earlier this month. “I was shocked,” Justice told Australian Racing Greyhound. “I have a lot of close friends who are involved in the greyhound industry and I really feel for them because it was callously handled. “It’s just so out of whack... to shut down an industry that so many people get so much enjoyment out of – I just don’t understand it. “I don’t care what industry you are involved in whether its gallops, dogs or the trots, there is always going to be people who are doing the wrong thing, but you don’t punish the whole population because of a small minority. “I just feel so sorry for the people who got up that morning and read ‘greyhounds banned’ – I cannot for the life of me see how Mike Baird thought it wasn’t going to upset people. “A lot of trainers live and breath for their animals... and now they have got nothing.” Justice said he could see parallels between the harness and greyhound racing codes and felt that there could have been alternatives to banning the sport altogether. “Don’t ask me to reinvent the wheel for the greyhound industry... but it looks to me that it is the same sort of problem as we have in harness racing in that not all the dogs bred to race are making it to the track. “In harness racing we have the problem that we don’t breed enough horses and we have some horses which are not quite fast enough. “Just because they aren’t capable of going as fast as the other horses it shouldn’t mean they can’t race – so we are trying to grade them so that even the really slow ones can have a career. “No-one cares if a greyhound runs 28.60 or 33.20 – as long as they are competitive in their own grade and they are looked after. “At the end of the day we all have to be welfare orientated... it is of the upmost importance that the dogs and horses are well looked after." Justice said a problem to overcome for all codes was to enforce to the public that racing animals are well cared for and love what they do. “It’s sad that a minority of people – the lefties and the greenies – can have such a loud voice and be so misinformed," he said. “They have such a single track mind, they want to believe the worst in everybody in everything. “They don’t understand that horses and dogs which are kept in a racing environment are actually finely tuned athletes and they are incredibly well looked after. “We love our animals... I sat up every night for a whole week after one of the horses got bitten by a snake and got real sick. “The vet came and looked at him and said we should put him down, but he still had a brightness and sparkle in his eyes that told me that he wanted to live. “We gave him a chance... we had to roll him over every two hours so fluid didn’t build up on his lungs and I went 10 days with only a couple of hours sleep, just trying to keep this horse alive. “Thankfully he made a full recovery and he is coming along nicely... he might even be racing soon. “If they were just a commodity like these people say then you wouldn’t go through all that…we all love our animals like our children.” Justice refuted claims harness and thoroughbred racing would be better off without the dishlickers, saying all three codes should be working together through the tough times. “It will have an affect on the other codes because if they shut the dogs down the greenies are going to go after the trots and the gallops and they wont stop there, after that they’ll target all the kids riding ponies," he said. “Some people are rubbing their hands together thinking that with dog racing gone it will be better for the horse racing industry, but they are looking at it wrong. “At the end of the day we are all racing industries – we are either chasing, or pacing or galloping... so I think we should all be sticking together.” By Katherine Ernst Reprinted with permission of site

A wet day couldn't douse the harness racing at Warragul Pacing Bowl on Monday afternoon, when Melton pacer Crockets Cullen set a solid tempo to be among the day's most eye-catching winners. Contesting the third heat of the Eastern Challenge race, Crockets Cullen's winning time was less than a second outside of the course record. Lance Justice bought up his second victory of the afternoon with Crockets Cullen, after Rosehill Rose Hill's earlier win. Crockets Cullen also created a big impression on Warragul Cup day, when the Kiwi-bred horse won his first Australian race by 24m. He won again at Warragul on Monday by 28m, and should win further races for Justice and owner Chris Mifsud. Croydon pacer Temporal Join scored an overdue victory in the sixth event. Paul Stokes trains the five year-old, who has only won two races from 31 starts, but has also recorded 17 minor placings, so the mare has probably been unlucky not to have won sooner. Temporal Join held off her rivals courtesy of an all-the-way victory by driver Matt Ablett. Local trainer Michael Hughes continued his recent run of success, when Mygoldengrinner won the two-year-old race. A most consistent youngster, courtesy of two victories and five minor placings from only nine starts, Mygoldengrinner scored a very easy victory after sprinting clear of his rivals at the 400m mark. Fellow local Courageous Desire turned in a good debut performance to finish second after making a mistake in the early stages of the race. Clyde trotter Soho Ledger ran his rivals ragged in the handicap. Well handled from a 40m handicap by driver Chris Alford, Soho Ledger dashed away from the field at the 400m mark and went on to record a 40m victory, one of the biggest seen at Warragul for some time. Giant Steps produced the upset of the day, winning the final race as a $20.50 chance with punters. The longest priced winner at Warragul so far this year, Giant Steps found the lead in the middle stages of Monday's race and kept on running for driver Troy McDonald, to score win seven at start 78. The next trots meeting at Warragul is on Monday, July 4. Kyle Galley

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has announced drivers will receive superannuation payments in accordance with legislative requirements. From July 1, drivers’ fees will be $71.18 per race, an increase from the current $65 payment to allow for a 9.5 per cent superannuation guarantee. The decision, made in conjunction with Harness Racing New South Wales, was welcomed by Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association president Lance Justice. “Drivers have been pushing for this for a long time. It’s great that it has got up,” Mr Justice said. “Driving is like any job. The industry is up and down and a driving career can come to a finish at any moment. Moving forward, it’s a great announcement and I applaud HRV’s effort to better support drivers.” HRV CEO John Anderson said whilst the decision to introduce superannuation payments was enforced on HRV, it would give drivers greater long-term financial surety. “HRV continues to support industry participants where possible and we have made changes to our processes within our finance system to cater for this,” Mr Anderson said. Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs CEO David Brick said support and care within the industry was “a core strength of Victorian harness racing”. “Assisting drivers to ensure they have savings for later in life is an extension of the industry’s support for one another,” Mr Brick said.  Michael Howard

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