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The unofficial queen of Port Pirie Kate Gath returns home on Sunday to take part in the annual Elders Insurance Mid North Drivers Invitation. The entire six-race Port Pirie program are invitation races featuring a host of top drivers from across Australia. Wayne and Danielle Hill along with Jayden Brewin will represent South Australia competing against Victorians Michael Bellman, Anthony Butt and Kate Gath. Western Australia has Nathan Turvey and Shannon Suvaljko, Queensland’s rep is Pete McMullen and Chris Geary from New South Wales completes the invitation field. Gath tied with Ryan Hryhorec in the 2013 Elders Insurance Invitation and won outright in 2016.  Anthony Butt is a previous winner having scored in 2015. The 2018 version looks tight with no standout having scored the best of the drives, but Gath does look to have a good chance of taking out the series. She will partner the Heather Stevens-trained Bettorhavtime in heat one over 1609m which from gate two should get a good run and looks an each-way hope and an excellent chance of running into the placings. Gath drives Timansi for Greg Sims in heat three over 2050m and a place would appear the best hope. The Dale Afford-trained Cheersbigears is her drive in heat four over 2050 metres and again the gelding looks a place chance at best in a tough heat. Top Port Pirie trainer Lyndon Hall has Two Kays in heat five over 2050 metres. The three-year-old filly has failed to flatter in seven starts and is resuming from a break.  Two Kays did show improvement in a recent Port Pirie trial and might surprise. Gath will partner the Les Harding-trained The Shooting Star in the sixth and final event. The Shooting Star will come from gate five in a field of six where the Claire Goble-trained Clarenden Valour looks her strongest rival. Clarenden Valour will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, currently Western Australia’s leading reinsman. Suvaljko has a number of handy drives in the Elders Insurance series and must be considered as a possible victor. His other drives are Goodtime Scout (heat one), Hez Declan (heat three), Quadentate (heat four) and Little Growl (heat five). See how form expert Ben Harding has analyzed the Elders Insurance Mid North heats at trotsguide.com.au with comments, selections and speed maps for all six races. Graham Fischer

Top Victorian harness racing reinsman Michael Bellman will be reunited with local hope Major Crocker in Saturday’s $100,000 Group One Ubet South Australian Cup (2645m) at Globe Derby Park. Bellman has had two wins, including the Blacks A Fake Free For All at Melton, on Major Crocker from just five drives on the Justin Brewin-trained pacer. The seven-year-old Grand Circuit pacer had his first run for Brewin at Globe Derby Park last Saturday and scored a game photo-finish win. He will come a tough gate 11 on Saturday in the Cup and has been listed a $31 chance to take out the state’s premier event. The reason he is such good odds is the fact that the brilliant Emma Stewart-trained pacer Shadow Sax has been installed a $1.30 in Ubet markets. Shadow Sax, a winner of his last six starts, is number five but likely will start from gate four as the emergency, Duke Of Albany, is number four. Champion reinsman Gavin Lang will be in the sulky. For Stewart and Lang, they will be looking for their second SA Cup win having been successful with Guaranteed in 2015. Shadow Sax has good gate speed and it is expected the five-year-old will find the lead without too much trouble, and once in front, Lang will dictate the race. Lang said in an ideal world he could find the front on Shadow Sax. “He is a nice horse who has made the step up from his juvenile seasons,” Lang said. “He had an extended time on the sidelines and it might have worked in his favour as he has come back a nice horse.” Shadow Sax has won the Stawell and Geelong Cups at his most recent runs and Lang believes he has the potential to make it to Grand Circuit level. “One thing I have learned over time is in feature races always expect the unexpected. “Shadow Sax is a really nice horse on the way up, but horses such as Messini and Major Crocker have race well in top company and, despite their draws, have to be respected. “My horse has had the draws at his past two starts, and is well drawn again, so I’m thinking he will have a chance of leading again but I’m sure he is not one dimensional and will be able to peel off a good sprint with a sit.” The query to whether Shadow Sax has an easy lead could be the Jess Tubbs-trained Sams The Master which will come from gate three and has some gate speed but has also has a tendency to race keenly if fired up early. Cup market: $1.30 Shadow Sax; $5.50 Tee Cee Bee Macray; $6.50 Sams The Master; $11 Messini; $21 Our Jericho; $31 Major Crocker; $41 Lets Elope; $71 Futurist; $81 Bettor Party; $101 Lookofalegend, Whenmechief; $201 Duke Of Albany. Lang will be looking for his third win in the $30,000 Group 3 SA BOTRA South Australian Derby (2230m) when he partners the unbeaten Yankee Roller which will be seeking to give trainer Emma Stewart her first win in the classic. The champion reinsman was successful on The Sentry (2004) for Grant Crane, then again in 2008 on Maffioso for Peter Tonkin, father of Stewart’s partner Clayton. “Yankee Roller is a nice horse and Saturday will be a good chance for him to prove his quality,” Lang said. “Emma has a strong group of three-year-olds and I’m not sure where Yankee Roller is in the pecking order, but he can’t do any more than he has done. “He might not have raced since mid-September, but he has been ready to race but a few events had fallen away. He has trialled and while he will be better for the run has certainly done enough to run well.” Victorian trainer-driver Phillip Walters is looking forward to the Derby with former New Zealand three-year-old The Brooklyn Brawler. “We chased him for about four months before finalizing the sale,” Walters said. “We bought him for the Derbies in Australia and Saturday is his first chance. “He is a three-year-old which only does as much as he wants but I will be putting him into the race at some stage.” The Brooklyn Brawler had his first start for Walters at Melton on December 11 and led throughout to win comfortably. At his last start in New Zealand, the gelding sat parked over 1950 metres at Addington on Cup day and fought on strongly to win in a photo. SA Derby market: $1.50 Yankee Roller; $3.80 The Brooklyn Brawler; $9 Muscle Up Major; $11 No Alabi; $17 Don’t Tell William; $31 The Quick Shadow, Bulletproof Boy, Fruitdrops; $34 Our Front Page; $71 Culzean Castle, Clarenden Valour; $101 The Deal. Walters will be hoping for a training double as he prepares Daquiri, one of the best chances, in the $30,000 Group 2 Ubet SA Trotters Cup (2645m). “He is generally a very good beginner from the stand and I’m hoping he will be prominent throughout,” Walters said. “He is a free-going trotter and if he does lead will give them something to chase.” Daquiri will be driven by Austin Mifsud who has won two races on him. Daquiri has been in the Walters stable for six months and the trainer believes he is square gaiter on the improve. “A few people think he might be a query at the trip but I’m sure he will be fine and is getting stronger every time he goes to the track.” SA trotters have won two of the past three Cup with Rejuvenation successful in 2015 and Pocketfullofcash scoring last year. They are engaged again this year, but it might be the Greg Norman-trained Al Bundy which could be the state’s best chance. With a massive lift in handicaps, Al Bundy, to be driven by Greg Sugars, should be prominent early and he will have no worries with the trip. Norman also has the talented mare Rocknroll Baby engaged from gate one with Jock Dunlop to drive. The mare is giving away years of experience to her rivals but Norman and Dunlop both say the mare is capable of matching Al Bundy in trackwork. Ubet Trotters Cup market: $3.50 Daquiri; $4.20 Al Bundy, Our Twentyten; $6 Rocknroll Baby; $7 Al Paco; $10 Aintthatrightmacca; $26 Rejuvenation; $34 Emma Deville, Aldebaran Ten; $41 Hudson Law, Stuey D, Pocketfullofcash; $51 Bold Law. Read form expert Ben Harding’s thoughts on the Ubet SA Cup meeting at www.trotsguide.com.au where he has form analysis and selections for the nine-race meeting at Globe Derby Park. Graham Fischer

Rockstar Angel claimed the night’s premier prize and more glory could well be on its way after an eye-catching harness racing victory at Tabcorp Park Melton. A trip over the Tasman to contest New Zealand’s Jewels and an almighty crack at May’s lucrative mares races could be in Rockstar Angel’s path after David Aiken’s four-year-old mare saluted for driver Michael Bellman in the $40,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship. “She’s just unbelievable,” Bellman said. “She just keeps battling away and she just keeps running quarters.” And that was how she broke them down tonight, winning in a career best 1:53.0 mile rate after Bellman advanced from the second row of the draw, not settling until he found the breeze outside leader Ideal Lifestyle. There was little time to switch off, with a 28.3 first quarter spilling into a 29.5 second quarter. Rockstar Angel advanced on the leader amid a 27.2 third quarter that thwarted favourite Somerocksomeroll’s attempt to challenge. Come the last 100m there were only three left with gas in the tank and it was Rockstar Angel who separated herself from Beau Reve and Ideal Lifestyle. “(Trainer David Aiken) and (owner) Brendan James said we’ve got a plan, we’re going to stick to it and her grand final’s tonight, we will have her peaking,” Bellman said. “To team Aiken’s credit, they do a wonderful job and I’m just the lucky bugger that gets to drive her and repay Brendan and Anne (James) for their faith in me, so it’s nice to pick up a great race.” Having won five of her last 10 starts and placed in all runs, that careful planning is paying great dividends for the mare whose win tonight took her stakes north of $100,000. “She has just got better and better,” Bellman said. “Last week we just got beat for speed on the turn, but if you watched her she just kept coming and coming and coming. “Brendan said trust your judgment, go for broke and tonight’s our grand final, if we get beat we get beat trying.” Further good times appear to lay in her path. “She’s a lovely mare and she’s got an invite to the Jewels, so that’s on the tables now with that win,” he said. “The trip away, if Brendan decides to take it, would do her the world of good and just scope her for a better mare later in the season. She’s going to be a lovely cups horse and whatever he puts her in, Queen Of The Pacific and all the mares races, that’s all been part of this plan and she’s just putting it together beautifully.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Cardinia builder Phil Ellery has been a familiar face on trotting tracks in Gippsland and beyond for many years, but not only as a trainer and driver of horses. Phil is a regular driver of the mobile starting barrier at a handful of tracks. In fact he drove the vehicle for the first mobile start in many years of the famed A. G. Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton last month. Last Wednesday, Phil was on hand as usual piloting the starting car at the Warragul Pacing Bowl. And he managed to make the most of his "down time" during the running of the one standing start event on the program, the trotters handicap. Phil produced his trotter, Just Hold On, as one of the entrants in the race. And for good measure, he won the race too, ending a drought of almost 20 years since his last racetrack success. The majority of punters gave Just Hold On very little chance of victory on Wednesday afternoon, and the eight-year-old veteran of only seven race starts went around as the rank outsider in betting at odds of almost 60-1. But Phil knows his horse best, and proved that Just Hold On does have some ability. And just hold on the gelding did, defeating fellow local Innocent Fling by a narrow margin after a stirring battle for the length of the home straight. Another Gippsland horse, Gavlenn Sunset, ran third to produce a local trifecta. Pleasingly, the three placegetters have all given their local connections confidence that similar performances might occur in their upcoming starts. The trotting ranks are gradually strengthening again in Gippsland and Phil Ellery will be hoping his next winner is not too far away. His last success before Wednesday was with Carlewis at Moonee Valley in September 1998, although he has not had a lot of horses race since. Fellow local horseman Ray Mathews bred Just Hold On, raced by Phil and his partner Trish Lammens. The pair also secured a $1500 Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club bonus as lucky owners in one of the Sports Club's sponsored races last Wednesday. Talented junior reinsman Darby McGuigan will no doubt rank Warragul as his favourite track after a driving double on Wednesday. McGuigan, who drove two winners at the February meeting, after a further winner at the season opening program in December, steered Gozo Beach and Gozo Lighting to victory for trainer Bill Galea. Cranbourne trainer Jayne Davies produced the quinella in the third race with Soho Beijing beating Ravello Rock. Winning connections also received a $1500 VHRSC owners bonus for their win. Bongiorno Boys showed a welcome return to form in winning the first race for trainer Beau Tindale and driver Michael Bellman, while Graeme and Gavin Lang combined with Warminster to gain a narrow victory in the final event. Harness racing fans in Gippsland are now beginning to count down to the biggest day for the year at Warragul with the Pacing Bowl Cup meeting next along on Easter Sunday afternoon, April 16. Kyle Galley

Mateship was to the fore at Charlton yesterday when Glenn Douglas and Michael Bellman crossed the line in the same sulky after a harness racing collision in the finishing straight. Douglas’ drive Pocket The Deal galloped in the final 200m in the Cup Day Fanatics 3YO Classic, veering in on Michael Bellman’s Knight Sky Safari, who was hugging the pegs. Bellman takes up the commentary. “At the time, when I looked up, I saw it sort of gallop and it was holding its ground in a straight line and I thought I’m going to be all right,” he told RSN 927 this morning. “Josh Duggan (driving Islandspecialmajor) got through underneath it, only just, and once he cleared Josh he just took two bounds to the left and I was coming through at a fairly quick rate of knots and just couldn’t miss him in the end. “As he whipped across, I hit him with that much force I Shanghaied (Glen) into my cart.” While Douglas leapfrogged into the sulky from the right, Bellman was almost spat out to the left, with only quick reactions and a bit of teamwork preventing either from hitting the canvas. “I didn’t really even know at the time, because I had fallen to the left and was heading out of the cart,” Bellman said. “I was lucky I got hung up underneath the undercarriage of the sulky and hung on with my legs. “I pushed myself back up off the ground to get back in and as I looked back, here’s Glenn hanging on the other shaft. “He looked like he was planking for a second, he was laying right back. I’ve just got myself back in, reached down and grabbed him by the hand and pulled him back up in.” It was a great piece of drivers camaraderie, although that friendship only extends so far. “I’m just dirty if he hits me up for half my driving fee,” Bellman said. Most importantly, no drivers nor horses were harmed in the incident. Click here to see vision of the thrilling finish.

A veteran Portarlington harness racing hobby trainer is daring to dream tomorrow night at Geelong. Neville Henderson, 75, will saddle up stable star Cyrus – a well-named son of broodmare Billy Rae – in the Group 3 Flying Brick Cider Co. Geelong Pacing Cup. “It would be a dream to win it, that’s for sure,” Henderson said, acknowledging that his gelding was up against a bad barrier (gate seven – outside the front row) and a strong field of rivals. To be driven by Ararat-based Michael Bellman, one of Victoria’s leading reinsmen well-known for travelling far and wide to pilot a winner, Cyrus will meet a three-pronged attack from Victoria’s leading trainer, Emma Stewart. Stewart is a winner with her horses last year racking up $2.94 million in stakemoney nationally. Her Smythes Creek stable will have Metro Mike, Young Modern and Major Secret in tomorrow night’s Cup. Henderson’s horse will also have to overcome Geelong Cup hot-favourite Tee Cee Bee Macray from the Alan Tubbs camp with “Candyman” Greg Sugars in the cart. But Cyrus can break the favourites’ achy breaky hearts, according to his trainer at least. “I think he’s as good as any of these in this field if we get any luck,” he said. “He’s a fighter. He loves a stoush.” Cyrus was going to line up in last season’s Geelong Cup but suffered an injury and Henderson’s daughter, Mandie, who will drive stablemate Black Cougar in the first race tomorrow night, talked her father into having another crack this year. “His last couple (of starts) have been very good.  We won the Guineas at Terang with him as a three-year-old when he was three-wide the trip. He’s just got that trait and he won’t ever lie down,” Henderson said. Since taking up horse training in 1983 Henderson has produced 51 winners. Nowadays he says his daughter’s enthusiasm keeps him in the game, making it a family affair. TAB.com.au has Cyrus $51 to win the Cup, with Tee Cee Bee Macray the clear favourite at $2.20. The Geelong Cup is a leg of the Own the Moment Trots Country Cups Championship. By Cody Winnell

Further Breeders Crown glory is firmly in the eyeline of Major Crocker’s connections after their in-form five-year-old dominated a quality harness racing field at Tabcorp Park Melton. Amid resuming Grand Circuit quality entires Flaming Flutter and Messini, it was Major Crocker who found the front in Michael Bellman’s hands and never looked back, claiming the Blacks A Fake Free For All for trainer Vince Vallelonga with a bit of change in the bank. “Vince has done a great job with him, getting him back home and up and firing, and the best part about tonight was he did it pretty easy,” Bellman said. To the delight of owner Gary Crocker, manager of the Walk Proud syndicate who owns the five-year-old Art Major gelding, Major Crocker showed no ill effects of his Albion Park venture to contest the Group 2 Sunshine Sprint and Group 1 Ubet Blacks A Fake. He finished sixth and fourth in those respective races, and look seasoned and fit against rivals early in their campaigns to win by 3.6m from Metro Mike, with Messini a short-half-head third. Bellman took the ascendancy out of barrier five, taking the lead with Flaming Flutter on his back while Messini took the breeze. The group bunched when it came to hit the line, but Major Crocker maintained his lead for a 20th win to close in on the half-million stakes mark, rewarding loyal owner Gary Crocker. “Gary loves it, they all do – they all love winning and it’s just good to be a part of that ride,” Bellman said. “I always like to come any time that he races and I’ve been to Brisbane and Vince has done a fantastic job,” Crocker said. “Michael thought he could lead and he said he only just let him go about halfway down the straight. It was pretty good.” Plans are for Major Crocker to return to Tabcorp Park Melton for Breeders Crown, the stage that produced his shining moment in 2014 when he won the three-year-old classic. “That was unbelievable and he will be back here on the 26th of August,” Crocker said. Michael Howard

The big names in the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series two-year-old colts and geldings trotters' division have drawn the front row and are en route to a formiddable showdown in next Friday night's harness racing final. At Tabcorp Park Melton on the Super Series semi-final night for pacers, the trotters' barrier draw saw Deltasun claim the pole mark and Illawong Byron draw barrier six, giving a relatively direct route into their next big showdown. Fillies heat winners Yankee Redback (barrier two) and Illawong Shimmer (barrier five) also both drew the first row. Illawong Byron’s standing was only reaffirmed at last Tuesday night's heats at Ballarat when the two-year-old gelding by Muscle Mass out of Illawong Blush dominated and won by 41.6m. Showing gate speed from barrier six, the result was never in doubt for Bacchus Marsh trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. “I am very happy with him,” Quinlan said. “I was a little disappointed that he overraced, but he has always shown above average ability and I couldn’t be happier with him on that score, he is a classy animal.” Quinlan partly attributed Illawong Byron’s overracing to the gelding coming to the end of a very impressive campaign. “He is still quite green. He is a fairly reliable two-year-old trotter, but he probably overraces and in an ideal world he would probably go to the paddock, but he has a few important races to run yet,” she said. The other colts and geldings heat was won by Deltasun (Tennotrump/Deltasu), a $1.04 favourite who took the honours by 14.6m for Ararat trainer Terry Young and Bacchus Marsh driver Gavin Lang. “There’s no doubt the horse to beat is Deltasun and the barrier will be important," Quinlan said. "But (Illawong Byron) is a good, versatile horse and can also run well from behind.” While it could be argued the colts and geldings shapes as a two-horse race, the two-year-old fillies presents as much more open. Ross Sugars’ Illawong Shimmer (Muscle Mass/Shining Sun) was impressive in leading and winning the first heat by 3.4m from Maree and John Caldow’s hope Valsue. But heat two proved more open, particularly once Anton Golino’s $1.60 favourite Sval Queen broke in the running. Yankee Redback, the only horse in hobby trainer Michael Scandolera’s Kilmore stable, took advantage, with driver Michael Bellman drawing her off leader Kyvalley Kyrie’s back to win by 7.7m. “She had a lot of luck. I thought she was about the third or fourth best horse in the race, but the others galloped and she didn’t,” Scandolera said. “She has beautiful manners. She’s just a natural. “When we broke her in she had a lot of fire, and still has a lot of fire. She’s a very intelligent horse and I let her do her own thing.” Scandolera said if things fell Yankee Redback’s way in the final she could take advantage. “She goes away very quick and very safely, and if she leads she can make her own race, but if she doesn’t and has to go back she can still go all right.”   Barrier draws: Two-year-old colts and geldings 1: Deltasun 2: Prosthesis 3: Bootleg Bert 4: Kheiron 5: Me Pat Malone (emg) 6: Illawong Byron 7: Endsin A Party 8: Needabacardi 9: Aldebaran Pirate 10: Carnera 11: Just Oscar 12: Red Rustler (ODM)   Two-year-old fillies 1: White House Sweet 2: Yankee Redback 3: Ten Spanners 4: Watts Up Rainbow 5: Illawong Shimmer 6: Star In Sight 7: Downtown Miss 8: Kyvalley Kyrie 9: Derrie Aire 10: Midnightpinevale (ODM) 11: Myrniong Rainbow (ODM) 12: Betty Hall (ODM) 13: Valsue (ODM)

Pacing mare Whats Emma Got is a part of the family for Glenda and Neville Fuller. “She’s been a beautiful horse from the start,” Neville said at Tabcorp Park Melton last night after the bonny harness racing four-year-old broke her open-aged metropolitan maiden status in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720 metres. The Globe Derby-trained Grinfromeartoear pacer rated 1:57.0 on her way to win No.29 at career start No.44, leading for most of the trip with Ararat’s Michael Bellman in the sulky. RE-LIVE WHATS EMMA GOT WINNING AT MELTON “I wish she had come by a few years ago because it would have been easier for us to travel all over the place with her,” Glenda said before adding:  “But we’re really enjoying her and it gets us out of bed in the morning.” Both former professional trainers – Neville in Port Augusta and Glenda in Perth – the couple married and set up at Globe Derby Park, South Australia. “We’ve both done it professionally, but it’s just a hobby now. We really enjoy it,” Glenda said. Whats Emma Got is a “team effort”, says Glenda, whose name appears alongside daughter Sharon Newman in the racebook. “Sharon is our daughter and she fast works her a lot. We’re all working together,” Glenda said. The Fullers also have a long association with Bellman, who drove the mother of Whats Emma Got, Whativewegot, which too hailed from the Fuller stable. “Mick’s drive was terrific tonight,” Glenda said. Back in South Australia, where Whats Emma Got had scored 27 of her 28 wins leading into last night, top driver Danielle Hill usually takes the reins behind the bay pacer. “Dani has driven for us since she was about 16,” Glenda said. “She drove (Whats Emma Got's) mother who won 23 races for us. Dani would have driven two-thirds of those wins at least.” In fact Glenda says Hill has driven over 150 winners for the stable. Glenda and Neville are sure they will be back to Victoria chasing more metro success with Whats Emma Got in the future, but for now the Strathalbyn Pacing Cup in a fortnight at Globe Derby is top of the agenda.  Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

The country cups king from two seasons ago was back on his harness raciung throne today at Wedderburn as Arber reigned in the Graham Jacka Holden Wedderburn Pacing Cup. A little over a month since the track came alive with Hamish and Andy's Race That Slows The Nation, Wedderburn again felt the thunder of hooves return, this time of the trots variety. And it was Arber and an Ararat reinsman stealing the show. Driver Michael Bellman snared a winning treble, his successful steer aboard the pacing cup winner the standout effort. The win in the 2555-metre feature race was also the first leg of a winning double for Anakie trainer Tim Bolitho, who teamed with Bellman to claim the last race with All Eyes And Ears. Nine-year-old Arber, by Village Jasper out of Any Danger, held off Smo and Tere T at the finish, breaking the track reecord by 0.4secs a week after his Stawell record mark was bettered by Yankee Rockstar. Arber showed his customary early dash from behind the tapes to be vying for the lead early before eventually settling for the trail behind pacemaker Loong Nien. Around the final bend Bellman made his move sweeping around Loong Nien, continuing his momentum up the stretch as Smo darted into second place along the sprint lane. At the wire Arber had 1.6m to spare over Smo, with Tere T 6.6m off the winner in third and Loong Nien fourth. Arber has now won 20 races for almost $212,000 in stake money. Bellman began his treble in Race 2 with victory aboard Sheezawingate. Inglewood trainer Trevor Ralph and his six-year-old gelding Rumbustious (by Barcardi Lindy out of Perfect Report) took out the Richmond and Associates Wedderburn Trotters Cup, going all the way in the 2555m race from the stand start to defeat Dabbsey and Maorisfavouritesun. by Cody Winnell Video replays (Arber wins the Wedderburn Pacing Cup & Rumbustious wins the Trotters Cup)

South Merbein harness racing trainer Ian Watson and son reinsman Luke made the long trip south worthwhile by taking out the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final for two-year-old fillies at Melton on Saturday night. “I usually sit at home and watch these races on telly." "To win it is just an absolute miracle to me,” declared Luke after steering well-bred Flojos Gold to victory in the 2240-metre event. At odds of over 50-1, Flojos Gold – by Mach Three out of former smart race mare Jasper Jo – made it three wins from four career starts by upstaging hot favourite Soho Madeleine for Belinda and Luke McCarthy by a head in a mile rate of two minutes. “I thought she could run a good race if she landed like she did." "If you had have told me we’d land behind the leader then I’d say we’d end up in the top few,” the winner’s driver said shortly after the race when asked about his thoughts going in. “It definitely makes up for all those ones you think were good enough but might have had a little bit of bad luck here or there not to win a Group 1." "It’s definitely a great thrill.” Rocknroll Magic ran third for Emma Stewart and Gavin Lang, while Just Wantano was fourth for Kevin Brough and Michael Bellman. Luke Watson said the filly had only travelled down to Melton in the hours leading up to the race. “We arrived a couple of hours before we had to be here … with the babies we always reckon they’re best off at home in their own environment until they have to leave and I think it’s paid dividends,” he said. “I knew this filly got out pretty quick, we just wanted to come out early and find a spot." "To end up where we did was probably just good luck more than good management,” Luke said. Re-live Flojos Gold winning the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final Cody Winnell

Ararat freelance reinsman Michael Bellman took the honours for the night at the harness racing meeting at Terang on Tuesday June 23 with a driving treble – Babalaas Jack in the Noir Rover 3-Y-0 Pace over 1680 metres, Four Starzzz Fella in the Welcome Computers Pace for C1 class over the same journey and Sheza Party Doll in the Phonse Hickey Memorial Pace for C0 class over 2180 metres. Babalaas Jack a fully American bred Somebeachsomwhere/Western Tingira colt bred and raced by David Carpenter and trained at Great Western by Michelle Wight, spent most of the race at the tail of the field after starting from the extreme draw. Despite being five wide on the final bend, Babalaas Jack was too strong at the finish for a most unlucky Mister Chomp which was all set to win approaching the final bend only to go off stride before getting going again in the straight to fail by a head in 2-00.1. Cheersbigears finished third after trailing the weakening leader Aurelius. Five year old Four Starzzz Shark/Clarenden Diva gelding Four Starzzz Fella trained at Heywood by Kevin Brough coming off a victory at Mildura on June 12, was given an easy time three back in the moving lane after also starting from the extreme draw. Moving forward three wide uncovered in the final circuit, Four Starzzz Fella outstayed his rivals to score by 6.7 metres in advance of a death-seating Smoken Fields, with the pacemaker Emma Jade third. The mile rate 1-59.9. Michael Bellman was to finish the night on a high note after Holmes Hanover/Divine Lustre 5-Y-0 gelding Our Bold Lustre landed the Murfett & Whiting Pace for C1 class over 2180 metres, as he trains the winner. Using a concession for Denbeigh Wade, Our Bold Lustre began with a rush from outside the front line, but was unable to head off the speedy Jilliby Diablo (gate four). Taking cover on Our Uptown Girl mid-race, Our Bold Lustre switched down to the sprint lane on straightening to score by 1.9 metres over Jilliby Diablo in 2-02.2, with Destined To Take (three wide last lap from last) third. Sheza Party Doll a 4-Y-0 mare by Dream Away from Lombo Party Doll trained by Bec East at the Brough property, came from near last at the bell after starting from gate three on the second line to defeat Mister Untouchable which raced parked from the bell by 2.2 metres in 2-01.9. Dayraid (one/one at bell) finished third after switching down to trail the weakening pacemaker and odds-on favourite Jilliby Passion in the last lap.   Bec East landed a training double at the meeting, when Rocknroll Hanover/Best Of Wine gelding Dancin With Elvis greeted the judge in the Talisman Floats 3-Y-0 Pace over 1680 metres with Jayson Finnis in the sulky. Starting from gate two, Dancin With Elvis angled away from four back the markers to be one/one for the last lap, before running home strongly to account for Esspee Rockstar (gate three) which galloped away before circling the field to lead at the bell. Turbo Elly finished third after easing to face the breeze from three back the markers in the last lap. The mile rate 2-01.7.   Four year old Chief Marty/Quintessa Bromac gelding Our Supreme Guy gave veteran Glenburnie (Mt Gambier) trainer Ken Dihm a happy birthday present when successful in the Cooinda Work Crew Pace for C1 class over 2180 metres at Terang. Driven by local Glen Craven, Our Supreme Guy showed blistering speed from gate five to lead easily as the mobile moved away, before surrendering to the polemarker Nobetterthanthis which moved off his back to assume control. Using the sprint lane, Our Supreme Guy raced clear over the concluding stages to register a 2.3 metre victory over Nobetterthanthis and Top Trio which followed the pair. The mile rate 2-02. It was Our Supreme Guy’s 5th victory in 39 outings. Ken Dihm had enormous success in the nineties with a fabulous mare by the name of Helens Pleasure who won 32 races including several at Moonee Valley and Globe Derby Park.   Dunnstown brothers John and David Murphy snared the Terang Co-Op Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class over 2180 metres with honest 5-Y-0 Armbro Variable/Irish Tess gelding Tommy Kay in a mile rate of 2-08.2. Coming from 10 metres, Tommy Kay was sent forward by David to park in the open with The Night Wind leading from barrier two.  Gaining cover when Bee Arr Dee dashed to face the breeze at the bell from mid-field, Tommy Kay Joined Bee Arr Dee on the home turn and finished best to register a 13 metre victory (his third) over Veegee Bentley (four back the markers), with Bee Arr Dee holding down third. Long Forest duo Andy and Kate Gath’s Kiwi bred Bettor’s Delight/We Love To Party 4-Y-0 gelding Party Boy led throughout from the pole to land the Dick & Anne Box Pace for C4 to C5 class over 2180 metres. Allowed to dictate terms to suit without any challengers, Party Boy was untroubled to win by 7.9 metres from No Bettertime along the sprint lane from three back the markers, with Keayang Storm third after trailing the winner. The mile rate 2-01.1. Len Baker  

Port Pirie 2015 Elders Invitation Drivers Series Saturday night 20th June is one of the feature harness racing meetings in South Australia where five of the best drivers from Victoria challenge six drivers from South Australia. The series is run over four races on the night with the driver with the most points winning the title. This series has been going now for forty years and has brought together a good line up of drivers as you can see by their profiles. Ex Port Pirie driver Kate Gath is making a return, while local driver Brad Sims will be aiming to again win the series as he did in 2006 Victorians Lance Justice: Driven 2865 winners, started his career here in SA and was great supporter of Northern harness racing when he was here. Has had lots of success over the years here and in Victoria with many good horses with the best being Sokyola and Smokem up. Always loves coming back here, won this series back in the ninety’s, won the trainers and drivers premiership here in 2000 the year the new track was opened, loves talking with the locals. Anthony Butt: Formerly from New Zealand where he drove 1609 winners and now situated in Victoria where he has driven another 694 winners while coming to and fro. This is Anthony’s first time at Port Pirie and he would really like to increase on his winning tally. Will be a good draw card having someone very approachable from NZ come here Michael Bellman: Has driven 952 winners in his career, participated in this series in 2011 where he was runner up to Lisa Miles. Is currently having a great year, being fifth on the Victorian State driver’s premiership having driven ninety winners. Is prepared to travel all over the state, having had over 1000 drives in Victoria this season, and we welcome him back Kate Gath: Has driven 942 winners so far in her career, Born and raised here in Port Pirie where she won the Port Pirie Drivers Premiership in 2004. Currently having a very good season, driving 83 winners so far and sits sixth on the Victorian State Drivers Premiership. Has been a regular competitor in this series over the last ten years where she tied in first place in 2013. Family and friends are sure to cheer on Kate help increase the crowd. Lisa Miles: Has driven 498 winners in her career always puts her hand up to come here for the series where she has had good success winning in 2011where she came at a days notice and 2013. Does really well training her small team of horses but is a great who competitor and would really love win her third series going back to back. SA Drivers Ryan Hryhorec: Has currently driven 1380 winners, is a regular here at Port Pirie having won the Drivers Premiership in 2008, 2011, 2014 and currently well in front this season in the drivers premiership. Tied in first in this series in 2012 and 2013 and has driven 130 winners in SA and Victoria this coming season. Tough competitor and is sure to account himself well Mark Billinger: One of the state’s top drivers has had 1014 career driving wins has had 62 wins this season and is currently fourth on the states leading driving premiership table. Always gives his horses a great run and has a good strike rate in the sulky. Wayne Hill: He is another regular driver here at Port Pirie has had 768 career wins, is currently fifth on the state driving premiership having driven 52 winners for the season. Wayne has come through the junior ranks and is a good competitor who has been in the series before and will account himself well. Leah Harvey: Has had 666 career wins, now getting towards the veteran stage having won this series in 2002 and 2010. Was the leading driver here at Port Pirie in 2001 and 2012 so she well and truly knows her way around the track here. She has represented the region well over the years on and off the track and it would not surprise if Leah won her third series. Scott Ewen: Has driven has  660 winners throughout his career and has been a regular here at nearly every meeting over the past five years, winning the Port Pirie driving premiership in 2013. Is currently having a good season having driven 45 winners, has competed in the series for the last three years without much luck but this could be his year. Brad Sims: Has driven 86 winners in his career, was the leading young driver in 2005 here at Port Pirie and had good success in winning this Drivers Series in 2006. Has also driven many placing throughout his career, has taken a trainers licence out this season and has had success with that. With limited opportunity he has always given his drives every chance. Good luck to all the drivers competing and also to David Harding who would have been here if it was not for nasty fall that he had at Globe Derby on 8th June. by Neville Thomson, Port Pirie Harness Racing Club Related Links Fields for Port Pirie, Saturday 20 June 2015 Form guide for Port Pirie, Saturday 20 June 2015

“He’s a bloody ripper,” declared a beaming harness racing driver Michael Bellman after driving Uncle Wingnut to victory in Sunday’s Greggs Electrical Ouyen Pacing Cup. The Joe Costa-trained seven-year-old gelding broke the track record for the 2809-metre trip, his 7.3-metre win accompanied by a mile rate of 2:00.4 – bettering the previous mark by 0.7secs. Despite sitting in the sulky behind the best horse in the race Bellman still produced some magic, easing three-wide early to commence a move and flushing out South Australian Mister Styx, which allowed Bellman to jag into the coveted one-out-one-back trail. Michael Smith driving Mister Styx must have immediately regretted his move as fellow border-hopper Glenferrie Rustler declared the death seat not up for grabs, posting Mister Styx three-wide and in a bind for the remainder of the race. Entering the back straight the final time Bellman made his move, angling the $2 favourite three-wide when Mister Styx tailed out after a torrid run, Uncle Wingnut dashing to a clear lead at the top circle. Gollahman and Our Waldenbury had both enjoyed economical runs from their respective drivers, Zac Phillips and Damian Wilson, and both ran into the placings but there was no catching Uncle Wingnut. The son of Christian Cullen powered home, his last half clocked at 56.3secs. “When I lobbed the one-one I was quietly happy with things,” Bellman said. “He’s versatile. There’s no set way to drive him. Joe (Costa) and the team have done a great job with him.” Costa said Uncle Wingnut was “a great trier” who was “easy to train” and “laidback”. Meanwhile, the Alabar Bloodstock Northern Region Championship Final was taken out by Vince Vallelonga-trained Bonny Under Fire. The consistent mare found the lead from gate two, crossing stablemate Kissed Flush who eventually went off stride and had to be pulled up after breaking gear. Several runners put the pressure on Bonny Under Fire mid-race, but she was able to overcome it and respond tenaciously for a 3.3-metre win in a track-record run of 1:57.9 for the 2040m start. Madis Made finished second in the Championship Final for Bellman, with Dark Side third. It was a big day for Bellman, who finished with two winners – the cup aboard Uncle Wingnut and Race 2 with in-form Murranji Track. The Ararat reinsman also finished second with Scout Hall Road in Race 3, Life Of Ted in Race 4 and Rayner Storm in Race 6, and placed third on outsider One Knight Stand in the last race. A huge crowd was on hand at Ouyen, club president Graeme Mengler thrilled with how the day played out. “I’ve had people telling me how good the kids’ entertainment was and the crowd was excellent,” Mengler said. “It was a really positive day for the club.” Local Amanda Foster won $1000 from the TAB thanks to Harness Racing Victoria’s TAB Trots Selfies competition, while loads of other patrons walked away with prizes from the plethora of on-course giveaways that were offered. >> VIDEO: Watch Uncle Wingnut take out the Greggs Electrical Ouyen Pacing Cup by Cody Winnell

Xanderxav overcame an early speed duel to win the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Trotters Graduate at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. The Linton Power trained trotter had the pole draw, which helped him hold out the early challenge from fellow mobile-start firebrand squaregaiter Mister Gunsen. With regular driver David Moran in the spider Xanderxav, who hails from Marungi, continued his recent strong form, the wily eight-year-old racing more like a spritely four-year-old. At the 500-metre mark it became clear Xanderxav comfortably had the measure of race favourite Zedalite, which was beginning to struggle in the breeze. El Paco reaced by pulling out of the one-one to stake its claim three-wide, while Stoned I Am snagged back to the markers near the rear of the field and saved enormous ground around the final turn. But old Xanderxav is tougher than a cheap steak and the son of glorious trotter Wagon Apollo added a Group 2 victory to his kitbag, scoring a 4.9-metre win over runner-up Stoned I Am (Simone Walker). Xanderxav’s mile rate for the 2240-metre trip was 1:59.4. The Group 2 Breeders Crown Pacers’ Graduate was taken out by Keayang Cullen for Terang trainer Marg Lee and driver Jason Lee. The in-form free-for-all star is headed towards the Miracle Mile long-term and tonight he defeated Shane Tritton trained Suave Stuey Lombo by 2.1 metres, while the winner’s stablemate, Keayang Steamer, finished third for driver Glen Craven. Keayang Cullen zipped around the field early to find the lead and then kept on kicking for a good win in a rate of 1:56.0, with a last half-mile of 55.7secs. Earlier in the night Grant Dixon trained and driven Feel The Faith was too strong for Glenferrie Blade in the Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ consolation, while Boasson Hagen took out the American Ideal @ Woodlands two-year-old boys’ Breeders Crown consolation for Tasmanian trainer Christian Salter and leading reinsman Gavin Lang. Boasson Hagen beat runner-up Pompidou by a head with Hez The One third for Heywood trainer Bec East. John Justice delivered a perfect front-running drive aboard Shakti Bromac to land the Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pace over 2240 metres, too strong for runner-up Valley Of Diamonds, while Wounded ran third. Rockbank trainer Joe Vassallo enjoyed success in the Breeders Crown Graduate Trot with four-year-old Village Jasper gelding Stunning Jasper scoring a half-head win over race favourite Jeter with Speedy Rambo third. Michael Stanley, who has Soho Tokyo in the two-year-old fillies’ Breeders Crown Final on Sunday, captured the Breeders Crown Broodmare Noms Close 1 September Pace over 2240 metres with four-year-old Presidential Ball gelding Hilltop Hustler, which powered home by five metres over runner-up The Good Times and third placegetter Turnpike Cruiser. Four-year-old D M Dilinger gelding Crazy Dave broke his metropolitan maiden status in the eighth race, the TAB.COM.AU Pace over 2240m. The winner came from the Gary Bailey stable at Portarlington and was driven by Michael Bellman. Essbee Doubleyou ran second for Jodi Quinlan, while Tyler Bromac was third for Matthew Craven. Valley Ess Jay won the last race, the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown two-year-old trotting consolation. Trained and driven by trotting master Chris Lang, the Skyvalley gelding fought back doggedly after being headed by The Third Son late to win by 1.9 metres. The Third Son held on for second for John Caldow, while Glenferrie Belle was well beaten in third place. Racing returns to Tabcorp Park Melton on Sunday for the 10-Group 1 Breeders Crown Finals Day, where a huge crowd is expected. Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria  

An exciting night of trotting at the Nyah District Harness Racing Club was held at the Swan Hill Racing Centre on Thursday, with many races on the program named after those who have been associated with the club for a long period of time. This season’s state leading trainer, Mildura’s Shayne Cramp, had favourite punters cheering when he won the opening race – the Alta Christiano @ Alabar Stallions 2YO Pace over 1750 metres with Mach Three/Ally McBlossom filly Aldebaran Brandi. A winner on debut at Mildura on July 15, Aldebaran Brandi ($1.60) repeated the dose by leading throughout from outside the front line to easily account for Bright And Sonny (four wide last lap from last), with Our Work Of Art a stablemate of the winner coming from four back the markers at bell along the sprint lane to finish third. The mile rate was 1:57.2. Bendigo duo David Van Ryn and nephew Haydon Gray had an easy victory with Courage Under Fire/Delightful Emm 3Y0 gelding Courageous Emm in the Alan Branson Pace for C0 class over 1750 metres. Driven with aggression from gate two to retain the front running, Courageous Emm ($1.20) bounded away on the final bend to record a 10.9 metre victory in a rate of 1:57.5 over Another Approval (three back the markers) and Marcellus, which trailed the winner. Echuca trainer Wayne Lear is a regular at most Nyah meetings and landed the Max Slater Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 1750 metres with five year old Village Jasper/Macray Purple gelding Purple Village in a rate of 1:58.7. Taken back to the tail of the field from outside the front line by Bec Bartley, Purple Village ($2.90) came with a barnstorming finish on straightening to blouse the leader Illawong Lively right on the wire (the margin a runaway half-neck), with Parisian Ruler third after facing the open from the bell. Honest five-year-old Die Laughing/Lily Princess mare Misschinoise scored a well deserved victory in the Peter Coady Pace for C2 class over 1750 metres, chalking up her seventh success in 51 outings. Trained and driven by Ararat’s Michael Bellman, who travels many thousands of miles around the state each season, Misschinoise ($3.70) enjoyed a sweet passage from gate three three back along the markers, with the pole marker Soho Jagger driven desperately to hold out the second elect Attack On Command (gate four) which then eased to follow the pacemaker. Moving away from the inside in the last lap, Misschinoise cruised up to Soho Jagger on the home turn and when asked for an effort on straightening, coasted to the wire 5.5 metres in advance of Soho Jagger and Attack On Command in a mile rate of 1:59.8. Popular Mildura trainer Frank Cavallaro was in the winners stall following the victory of Tommys Song ($5.80) in the Arthur Graham Pace for C1 class over 2240 metres. Driven by Luke Watson, Tommys Song, a 4YO gelded son of P Forty Seven and Tell Laura began smartly from gate three to be outside the leader Gnarly at the start, before being eased to take one/one cover when Unfair Dismissal was driven forward to park in the open. Eased three-wide in the last lap, Tommys Song ran home strongly to gain the day from Boom Boom Hall, which rattled home from near last on turning, with Yankidoodledanvers using the sprint lane for third after following the weakening leader. The mile rate was 1:59.8. Mildura (Cardross) trainer Frank Merceica’s six-year-old Pass The Mustard/Princess Yum Yum gelding Sir Pickles Yum Yum loves competing at Swan Hill and registered his third victory on the circuit when successful in the Jim Roberts Pace for C3 to C5 class over 2240 metres. With Greg Sugars in the sulky after making the long trek from Melton, Sir Pickles Yum Yum ($12.50) settled four back in the running line from gate four, with Mind The Wire leading before handing up to Mick Bellman’s Ourcrownin. With a number of changes happening during the race, Sir Pickles Yum Yum had moved to be three back at the bell and when taken wide on turning, rattled home to score by 1.3 metres in a rate of 2:00.2. Well Oiled Lombo (four wide final bend) ran home from last to claim third place. The Blissful Hall @ Empire Stallions 3YO Pace, first leg of the Daily Double and second leg of the Quaddie was declared a no race following a fall by Warana Court on the first turn. Len Baker - Harness Racing Victoria  

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