Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 376
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Things have been more than a little unorthodox but Rickie Alchin’s trotters continue to pack a punch and the stable's harness racing superstar, Tough Monarch, hopes to give it a full flex in tonight's Group 1 Schweppes Australasian Trotting Championship. The $50,000 long distance haul from the standing start headlines the Tabcorp Park Melton program and marks Alchin’s return to the home of Australian trotting, with border restrictions previously limiting the New South Wales trainer's movements. “It’s been a bit hard with the borders closed for everybody, not just myself,” he told Trots Talk, having watched on as Tough Monarch battled valiantly during a Kiwi campaign and then last Saturday as his gelding Watts Up Majestic won a Breeders Crown for Chris Svanosio. With elements of life as usual returning, so too does Alchin and with him Tough Monarch, seasoned from three New Zealand starts in which he finished fourth at Kakoura, eighth in the NZ Trotting Free For All and third in the $286,200 Dominion, which more than compensated for the trip. “It was very hard with the covid restrictions not being able to be in New Zealand with the horse,” Alchin said. “The first couple of runs things just weren’t going right – the Kakoura run he didn’t quite handle the track. Then in the New Zealand Trotters Free For All he made a break at the start, ended up last in a very fast run race. I actually still thought his run was very good that day because he was wide on the track. “And then in the Dominion handicap, the main one, he couldn’t have gone any better. They trotted four minutes for the two miles and broke the New Zealand track record. He was the only horse hitting the line from out wide.” It’s form that holds him in good stead for tomorrow’s stamina testing battle over 2760 metres, with Tough Monarch to start off 10 metres along with McLovin, Savannah Jay Jay and Red Hot Tooth. “He hasn’t drawn the best but they will know he’s there. The distance will suit my horse, being a stand and the 2700,” Alchin said. “It’s definitely going to be tough from the barrier draw. A horse I once trained and sold to Andy Gath, Majestuoso, I think he’s clearly the horse to beat. He’s an up and coming star. “(But) anything can happen in these standing start races. One thing is that my horse has been there and done all that, the moment doesn’t worry him, he’s as safe as off the tapes, where as some of those up and comers you just never know. Sometimes they can be a bit vulnerable off the stand. “We will just have to wait and see how it pans out, but he will be running home strongly.” The stable’s full of confidence after Watts Up Majestic’s impressive win in last Saturday’s Skyvalley @ Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown final for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. For owner-breeder Bradley Watts, Alchin's Majestic Son gelding was impressive while in Svanosio’s hands. “Chris did a fantastic job to get him absolutely spot on on the night,” Alchin said. “It was great, I was up her in Sydney with the owner. We were at a barbecue at his place and it all worked out perfectly. “The longer he had been down there he just really came along in leaps and bounds. He was spot on on the night thanks to Chris and his team.” The Schweppes Australasian Trotting Championship streams at 9.40pm on Trots Vision, with Dan Mielicki and Rob Auber on course to guide viewers from the VHRC Parade Ring to the Winners Circle. Other highlights include the TAB Blacks A Fake Free For All which follows at 10.12pm, with Out To Play favourite in a field that also includes well-drawn pair Bettor Be The Bomb and Mister Wickham, last start winner Bulletproof Boy, king of Mildura Bernie Winkle, Inter Dominion finalist Sicario and Arden Voyager. The night also features the Group 3 Alabar Vicbred Platinum Pace and the $24,000 HERO Claiming Masters, including the likes of Somewhere Secret, Ample Power, Star of Memphis and The Crimson Prince, who all have the maximum $50,000 claiming price. HRV - Michael Howard TALKING TROTS ON SENTRACK: Join Cody Winnell and Tim O'Connor from 6pm on SENTrack, which airs on 1593AM in Melbourne, 1539AM in Sydney, 657AM in Perth, 801AM in Gosford, 96.9FM in Ingham, 99.1FM in Atherton and 1575AM in Wollongong. Click here to listen live and for links to download the SEN app.

Two first starters at Ararat tonight is perhaps the first sign of a lot of firsts to come for trainer Mick Cole, who’s in the throes of a considerable stable expansion. The Bannockburn trainer-driver will debut Jasperine in the Ararat Pony Club 3YO Maiden Pace and Rocknroll Upton in the Pinky Point 2YO Pace, optimistic both will give a good show but also improve with racing. And they’ll soon be given every opportunity to flourish, with Cole moving stables at year’s end to greatly ramp up his training along with partner Laura Burnside (pictured with Rocknroll Upton) and stable manager Paul Warnock. “I am pretty excited about the next few years really,” Cole said, having recently purchased a new property to allow him to greatly upgrade his stables. “When I was kid growing up I was involved in harness racing. It was something I always wanted to get into later on in life as I slowed down with work.” Along with Burnside, his “partner of 11 years”, he did just that, establishing at Bannockburn and since 2014-15 training 269 starters for 28 wins, aided also by Warnock, who Cole said had been a “Godsend” and had a great “passion for harness racing”. “After five or six years in the industry (Laura and I) settled on this is what we want to do for the rest of our lives,” he said. “We are setting up a new training facility, which is five minutes up the road and we hope to be moving into that at Christmas time. “Over the next couple of years I want to expand the training business and the new property will give us the capacity to train 20-odd horses.” With their existing property recently sold, Cole plans to soon permanently relocate to the new stables at what was formerly Pinaroo Park’s breeding complex. In addition to the existing stabling they’ve built an 1100-metre fast track and most notably an 800-metre straight track, a crucial item on Cole’s wish list that was spawned after he spent a working holiday at Mark Purdon’s stables to “learn from the best”. “He was amazing,” Cole said. “He had a straight track and he showed us how to work on it. You can get the work into the horses without putting the stress into their legs and with the young horses you can teach them to stay in gait in the straight line.” Further time with the likes of Kerryn Manning, Geoff Webster and Anton Golino has also proven beneficial, learnings that Cole is ready to put into practice on a grand scale. It’s an uptick in activity that kicks off tonight. “I’d only had one or two horses racing recently, but seven have been at trials the last few weeks and five are racing this week, so it’s nice to be back at the track.” Cole’s first Ararat debutant is Jasperine, a three-year-old Artistic Fella filly out of Tiny Treasure for late owner-breeder Phillip Nott. Jasperine joined Cole’s team via trainer Tim Bolitho. “Tim had a fair few in work and asked me to get her ready to trial, which I did and so he said to keep and race her,” Cole said. “She is a really fast horse, she just has some manner problems that let her down a bit and she can get hot-headed in her runs. I just need to keep calm and the more experience she has racing the better she will get.” That education kicks off in race one tonight, which streams on Trots Vision at 6pm. “I wasn’t disappointed to see her off the second row. Hopefully she will settle down. We won’t be bustling her until there is a gap in the final straight,” Cole said. “If she’s holding it all together we’ll let her use her speed. It just depends on how she works on the day.” It will be a somewhat similar scenario for Rocknroll Upton, who has drawn inside the back row and will likely also be following others through with a quiet run before making his charge late. By A Rocknroll Dance out of Upton, the two-year-old gelding was sold by Rickie Alchin to Cole, who had previously snapped up and raced her sister, four-time winner Upton Girl. “She took a bit of time to come on but she raced really well until she had a stress fracture in her shoulder and had to be sent to the paddock,” Cole said. “I expect he will go better as he develops. He has shown already that he will probably be a better horse than his sister is. “He’s had two trials trials and sharpened up since his trial. He’s no superstar, but will be a good honest horse.” He debuts tonight behind gate one horse Danceforme for trainer Leroy O’Brien and reinsman Neil McCallum, and Cole is hopeful they will hold the front and give him an armchair ride into the race. “I think he should be thereabouts if he does everything right,” he said. “I don’t know if he can win it. He will need the one to lead and if he sits on his back he’ll be thereabouts.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Tonight may well provide something of a crowning moment for Rick Cashman, who’s rapidly improving filly is perfectly drawn to give her trainer a chance at a career best result. After lady luck had shunned her through the TAB Breeders Crown, Dancing With Flo gets her chance tonight in the Pryde’s EasiFeed silver pace for three-year-old fillies, drawing gate one while her lead rivals were disadvantaged. Cashman said a good result “would be huge”, adding “we got the draw, now she gets the opportunity to produce”. The $30,000 Group 3 would be clearly the trainer’s biggest result since he had his first starter on October 1, 2012, at Yarra Glen, when Modern Saint ran fifth and collected a cheque. Not long before Cashman attended Gippsland Harness Training Centre to learn the fundamentals of the sport and then, when Cranbourne’s training centre opened in September 2012, he had a pathway into training. “I had finished cricket and football and like many men and women I was looking for something to continue to drive me,” Cashman said. “I had never sat behind a horse until I was 45.” With the support of those around him he’s since trained 168 starters for 23 wins, and tonight Dancing With Flo presents the chance to carve out a career highpoint. Cashman bred the filly, having been given her unraced dam, Narree Rose, by Arthur Fulwood, who he paired with Rocknroll Dance. He welcomed “half a dozen new owners into the group” and they patiently waited as the filly readied for racing. “She was lightly raced as a two-year-old, when she showed she had ability but needed to strengthen up,” he said. “She had four starts earlier this year and then when Breeders Crown and Vicbred were pushed back we had another eight weeks to bring her up. She just got bigger, stronger and quicker.” She first won on her home track in April and again at Kilmore on May 13 before the freshen up, then returned to salute first-up on October 1. Dancing With Flo was then given her opportunity to shine in the $24,000 DNR Logistics Argent 3YO Classic at Melton on October 23, and shine she did, running second to Maajida. “I was certainly confident she was an above average horse, but it’s another thing to show it against the better ones,” Cashman said. “It was not until her race against them in the Argent Classic before she confirmed that. I wasn’t surprised, but it was just confirmation that she could produce given the right opportunity.” It meant Cashman and reinswoman Lisa Miles entered the Breeders Crown series with confidence she’d acquit herself well, and she was outstanding in her heat when flying late from the back of the field to advance to the semi-final. She then again drew poorly and on this occasion it would prove too difficult to overcome. “Her effort at Bendigo was sensational, it was just unfortunate that she couldn’t get the draw in the semis,” Cashman said. But her luck changed for tonight’s Silver Pace, when Dancing With Flo will start from gate one. “There are a couple of quick horses drawn outside, so she won’t get it all her own way,” he said. “The favourite for the Breeders Crown (Maajida) is in this race, there’s Iolanta, Rockingwithsierra has very good gate speed. We go in full of belief she’s well and given every opportunity she will be thereabouts.”   Michael Howard

There was a twist in the tale with tonight's Breeders Crown finals finishing with a surprise as No Win No Feed ripped to the front from gate seven and then held all challengers for a resounding win.  The Nutrien Equine Breeders Crown Championship would have surprised many speed maps as John Caldow rattled from the gates in his maiden drive of Craig Cross's four-year-old mare, which would prove a decisive move in the Group 2 win. "She's a wonderful mare and when I got the opportunity to jump on her tonight I thought I might surprise a few and find the front," Caldow said. "I didn't think they'd expect me to do what I did." No Win No Feed got the jump on favourite Miss McGongall with her early zip, with James Herbertson settling for leader's back and then Caldow was able to dictate the pace, getting a breather with a 31.5-second first quarter. Chris Alford loomed to the breeze on Our Princess Tiffany and made his challenge, but No Win No Feed had all the answers, getting home in a 55-second last half to win by five metres. Matt Craven's Itzamajorsurprise ran into second, with Our Princess Tiffany finishing third. "She just burns and drops the bit, so you can do what you want to do and rate it how you want," Caldow said of the winner. "When Chris came around I thought we'll get rolling again. She had an easy enough first half, so I was just hoping the early burn didn't take the edge off her. "They're good mares, they just keep going. When you drive these good horses they just do their best and keep trying their hearts out like she did. The last 100 she was putting her head between her chest and she'd had enough but she kept running."   HRV - Michael Howard

Maree Caldow has the holy grail in her hands after Sangreal captured an eventful Aldebaran Eagle @ Aldebaran Park two-year-old fillies’ title on Breeders Crown night. The trainer and Trots Vision trackside host Rob Auber couldn’t help but think there was a little divine intervention involved in the surprise win, with reinsman Daryl Douglas flashing home late to nose ahead on the line and claim the Group 1 crown. It was a performance reminiscent of late reinsman Gavin Lang, a close friend of Maree and John Caldow, whose outstanding career was celebrated tonight. “If we had a little (divine intervention) tonight, well, thanks Gav, I know you love us,” Maree told Trots Vision. "We love you and we miss you. This is just awesome.” The script was thrown out from the outset when $1.80 favourite Mexicana galloped out of contention at the start, which enabled Queen Elida to comfortably lead. There was little movement in a moderately run affair until Queen Elida spaced her rivals heading into the final turn, but she tired with 100 metres to go. Triple-figure chance Thats Not My Gait then looked set to pinch it for Josh Duggan, but Douglas came from the clouds on Sangreal to nose ahead in the final stages and win, with Chris Lang’s Evas Image beaten into second by a neck. Maree dedicated the win to her fellow owner-breeders of the filly, who’s by Father Patrick out of Solar Flash. “I’m just so grateful,” she said. “Denis and Vali (Hall), Chris and Allan Spalding, we bred this horse together. They’ve been long-time clients of ours. I’m just so proud. “To get two horses in a final, (Tipsy Turvy) did a wonderful job as well getting stuck in the death seat, but all credit to Sangreal. “I really want to thank my staff, Olivia Weidenbach and Jeremy Quinlan, it’s a great team at Caldow stables and I’m just so happy and so proud.”   HRV - Michael Howard

It was billed as the battle of the Breeders Crown finals and so it proved, with Tough Tilly terrific but Ladies In Red reaffirming her status as a superstar in the making in winning the Captain Crunch two-year-old fillies. The Mach Three filly replicated big full-brother Our Little General’s feat of winning a two-year-old Breeders Crown by sitting tough for trainer Emma Stewart and reinsman David Moran and having all the answers, improving her career record to seven wins from as many starts. “She was really good,” Moran told Trots Vision. “I said last week, she’s got that x-factor and she’s got the speed and will to win and she a terrific little filly.” And she had to be all those things tonight, with Tough Tilly taking advantage of her gate two draw to lead, but sustaining pressure initially as the running line was a procession of changing faces until Ladies In Red strode to the breeze. “There were a few moves early to mid race which kept the tempo reasonably honest throughout that lead time, then we were able to get around there and dictate the race from (the breeze),” Moran said. “Thirty-one (seconds for) the second quarter and then twenty-eight-and-a-half (seconds) off the back, we could control it there and then really make it a 500-metre dash where the best horse is going to win. “I wanted to really eyeball the leader and just be head-to-head right with it so Kate wasn’t able to make it mathematically impossible for us to beat her, it worked out really well.” Ladies In Red clawed past Tough Tilly in the final 100 metres to win by 2.4 metres with Jo Rocks running third and Stewart training four of the first five finishers as Rogue Wave and Joanna also finished strongly. But all honours went to the winner, including owner-breeders Bill and Anne Anderson of Lauriston Bloodstock. “(Ladies In Red) just kept giving, that’s what makes her such a great racehorse, she just does whatever she needs to do.”   HRV - Michael Howard

It was all about the book ends for Kerryn Manning and Zeuss Bromac and they answered every challenge for trainer Paul Fitzpatrick to win the IRT Australia three-year-old colts and gelding title on Breeders Crown finals night. Starting from gate one, Manning had to hustle Zeuss Bromac out of the gate to hold off an early charge, including from Jilliby Nitro at Jason Lee. The latter would then tuck into leader’s back for the middle distance Group 1 and prove Zeuss Bromac’s because danger in the run to the line, but the New South Wales trained Bettors Delight colt had all the answers to win by five metres. “He was very on the ball tonight,” Manning told Trots Vision. “He held on good the first bit and when Jilliby Nitro got a bit of momentum up he was coming quite quickly, so I had to go pretty quick to hold him. I wasn’t sure I was going to for a stride but he kicked through underneath them. “He did get pretty keen, but I managed to get not too bad a second quarter and then he ran home really strong. He was strong on the line.” After the 43.8-second lead time, clearly the quickest of the night, Zeuss Bromac got something of a breather with a 30.4-second second quarter and got home in 26.7 seconds to take the Crown for Fitzpatrick and Noel Shinn, who’s been caring for the horse in Victoria. “He’s just a little cute, nuggety little thing,” Manning said. “Noel’s been really happy with him, he said he’s been better than he was last week and he had a better barrier draw, so obviously everything pointed in the right direction. It’s always got to come off when you are out there and everything went well.”   HRV - Michael Howard

It was Plan C in the series and Plan B in the run but it proved a Plan A moment for Greg Sugars, who guided David Miles' The Panthiest to victory in the Pryde's EasiFeed three-year-old fillies' title on TAB Breeders Crown finals night. Sugars had driven series favourite Maajida and Sweet Louise to heat victories, and then jumped off the latter for the semi-final only for Maajida to fail to qualify for the final due to injury. Meanwhile, Sweet Louise showed her prodigious talent to win her semi-final for Chris Alford and enter tonight's final the favourite, while Sugars picked up the catch drive on The Pantheist. Sugars said steering The Pantheist to victory "was certainly not in my train of thought at all" at the start of the series. "Nevertheless, a week can be a long time in racing sometimes and one door closes another one opens, fortunately the right one opened for me this week." He started from gate eight, which placed him on Sweet Louise's back throughout the middle distance affair and there he'd remain until the final turn, when Sugars first attempted to veer right only to be tightened for room by Amelia Rose, forcing The Pantheist to be steered left via the sprint lane. Miles' three-year-old Bettors Delight filly still had enough zip to pass Sweet Louise and score for owner-breeders Greg and Jennifer Pell. "I all but made the wrong decision, or I started to do it, but thankfully I was able to correct that decision in time and get the job done," Sugars said. "Luckily again Plan B was available via the sprint lane and she got the job done." Sugars said it was great to reward the Pells with victory. "(Greg Pell) does a great job obviously and has put a lot of time, a lot of money into the sport over the last few years breeding some very quality horses along the way," he said. "(I'm) extremely grateful to both the owers and the training connections."   HRV - Michael Howard

Loyalty and friendship were rewarded as owner-breeder Len Parker's faith in reinsman Damian Wilson produced the ultimate dividend, with their horse Major Moth securing a Breeders Crown for trainer Clayton Tonkin. Having been outstanding throughout the series, winning both his heat and semi-final, Major Moth drew perfectly tonight and put on the finishing touch to claim the rich VHRC Caduceus 2YO colts and geldings' title. It was a satisfying result for Wilson, with the $300,000 race the richest that he and Len and Irene Parker have captured in a long association. "Breeders Crown, that's what we aim for driving two-year-olds, it's just good to get on a horse as fast as this horse and as brave as this horse," Wilson told Trots Vision. "I've got to thank Lenny mostly for that, because he is my biggest fan and just keeps sticking up for me and made sure I was on." All went as expected, with Emma Stewart-trained Act Now working quickly to the lead ahead of Major Moth, from where Jodi Quinlan driving Act Now was able to control the tempo in moderate first and second quarters. She began to open up with a 28.5-second third quarter, but despite having plenty left to hit the line strongly Major Moth's elite speed shone through, getting home in 26.5 seconds to win. "You have to be prepared and what will happen will happen," Wilson said. "We got the right draw and I didn't have to think too much about it tonight, which was good." And with that the Parkers and Wilson banked a second joint Group 1. "We won the (Vicbred) sires with Lively Moth and a fair few races with other horses over the years, Kilmore Cup was a big thrill, but this probably tops it."   HRV - Michael Howard

A cool head and cool hands saw Chris Svanosio swoop at the right time and his two-year-old trotter, Watts Up Majestic, did the rest to win the Skyvalley @ Aldebaran Park colts and geldings' title. While owner-breeder Bradley Watts and regular trainer Rickie Alchin watched on from north of the border, their Majestic Son gelding made every stride a winner to career away for a 10-metre Breeders Crown Group 1 victory. "These are the days you want to be competing ... and it's great to win one and win it in style on a really nice little trotter," Svanosio told Trots Vision. "He's a lovely horse to have turn up and to win the two-year-old trotters Breeders Crown is terrific." Svanosio guided Watts Up Majestic to the back of early leader Have No Fear, who galloped when Aldebaran Zeus loomed to apply the pressure. That forced Svanosio to take evasive action, but Watts Up Majestic didn't break stride and when Aldebaran Zeus peaked in his run it was Svanosio's gelding who finished the strongest to win. "It wasn't ideal when the leader galloped down the back, but lucky enough I was able to keep trotting and sneak through on the inside. Then he was travelling pretty good after that," Svanosio said. "Ricky Alchin sent him down and he would have been down here training him if it wasn't for the travel restrictions, we're just looking after him for Ricky and the owner Bradley Watts. They're up in Sydney watching it together."   HRV - Michael Howard

Jason Lee and Jack MacKinnon had plenty of reason to smile after Im Ready Jet secured their first Breeders Crown title and first Group 1 respectively. An outstaning Lee drive helped capture the Catanach's Jewellers class for three-year-old trotting fillies, a very satisfying result for co-trainers Anton Golino and MacKinnon, Pat Driscoll's Yabby Dam Farm and Lee himself. "Huge thrill to win a Breeders Crown," Lee told Trots Vision. "Grew up as a kid coming with Nana and Pop and Mum and all the uncles and watching these races and it's just awesome to be able to win one. "Obviously pretty great to be able to give Jack MacKinnon his first Group 1 winner in partnership, really happy for him and obviously Pat (Driscoll) and Anton and all their staff do a great job and I'm thankful for the opportunity." He certainly rewarded their faith, taking advantage when stablemate Imamaorijet galloped at the start from gate four, which enabled Lee to slide off leader's back and into the running line. He then advanced to the lead and sustained pressure from Sofia Arvidsson's front-running Aldebaran Tess to set up the win, holding off swooping Ofortuna (second) and Queen Of Crime (third).                                                                                     --photo by Stuart McCormick "She was a bit of tactical one," Lee said. "I was just worried if I stayed on the fence that one of the other ones may have come and seeing how they raced in their heats they were pretty strong, they may have put it to Matty and been able to cross him. "I just wanted to try and stay in front of them. It's probably one of those, if it comes off it looks great, if it didn't it's going to look a bit silly. Thankfully it came off and she was good enough and ran a great race."   HRV - Michael Howard

One Group 1 down and one in the bag for trainer Emma Stewart after Cover Of Darkness overcame some pre-race mischief to unleash his elite talent. The Majestic Son colt, bred my Martin and Kaye Hartnett out of dam Illawong Moonshine, proved a handful for reinswoman Jodi Quinlan, but she knows the breed well and guided Cover Of Darkness to the Catanach's Jewellers 3YO colts and geldings trotting title on TAB Breeders Crown finals night. Cover Of Darkness led all-the-way to score, sustaining pressure throughout from Powderkeg and then holding at bay late charges by Chris Lang's Red White An Bloom (second) and Patrick Ryan's Cracker Jet (third).  "He's still got a lot to learn but he's very good," Quinlan told Trots Vision post-race. "He had me concerned, I thought I was at the show on the Mad Mouse. He started off kicking in the parade yard, nearly kicked my heel, and then in the warm up he went out on the track and just kept bucking and kicking. "I let him bowl really solid for three laps after that and thought I better pull him up and hope he's not tired. After that he was OK. Going up to the gate I was just hoping he didn't buck." He didn't getting away superbly from gate two to lead in a 44.9-second lead time, then holding all comers at bay in a 58.1-second last half. "Credit to Clayton and Emma, this horse has come from nowhere," Quinlan said. "First time I drove him at the trials he was very good but very naughty. He hung and hopped and he's not the most fluent gaited horse - he's not the easiest horse to drive. I've gotten used to him a little bit and you have to go with him, the more you upset him the worse he is. "He's not as seasoned as some of those horses tonight and that was the only question mark over him, but he's always given the feeling that he's very very strong. Going forward he should keep getting better."                                                                                           --photo by Stuart McCormick It was a terrific group for Cover Of Darkness big loyal group of owners, some of whom mate the trip to Tabcorp Park to savour the result.   HRV - Michael Howard

TAB Breeders Crown night kicked off in stunning fashion with Hurricane Harley and Lochinvar Art enjoying a classic head-to-head battle, with the former holding the champ at bay and matching his Victoria Cup winning time. Trained by Emma Stewart and driven by Amanda Turnbull for owner-breeders Lauriston Bloodstock, Hurricane Harley further enhanced his reputation with an outstanding front-running display to secure the Group 2 for four-year-old entires and geldings. “He’s amazing isn’t he, he just loves being in front and he’s hard to catch,” Turnbull told Trots Vision after guiding Hurricane Harley to the front, with Lochinvar Art advancing to the breeze from the back row amid a 44.1-second lead time. The pair then traded blows for the final mile, with quarters of 28.2, 27.4, 27.4 and 27.9 seconds, with Lochinvar Art constantly pressing in the breeze but Hurricane Harley having all the answers. “He’s just an unreal horse and once he’s comfortable and he’s happy out there he just doesn’t stop, he just loves it,” Turnbull said. “He’s an unreal horse Harley, you don’t feel like you’re going that fast but the lead time just felt like it was that slow and he had it that easy. “(Lochinvar Art) just wouldn’t go away. That’s just how he goes, he’s a beautiful goer. I just couldn’t shake him, I knew I was running but I couldn’t get rid of him. All credit to him, he stuck there and it was a great race.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Sweet dreams could be savoured on Saturday night for trainer Phil Chircop, who’s hoping to deliver loyal long-time owner John Dorrington his first Group success. Sweet Louise will contest the Pryde’s EasiFeed three-year-old fillies final at 8.40pm, with their hopes of capturing the $200,000 Breeders Crown only buoyed by drawing the prized gate one. Chircop joined Jason Bonnington on SENTrack’s Talking Trots this week and couldn’t help but be excited by his lightly raced Sweet Lou filly’s chances. “Everything’s going to plan,” Chircop said. “And while she’s happy I’m happy. I’m just happy that I’m the one training her. It’s very easy to get up in the mornings. “I’ve done my job best as I can trying to keep the horse happy all week. I haven’t done a great deal with her, she doesn’t need much more. Hopefully she’s got another good run in her, I’d love to win it, but more for the owners. “The owners put a lot of money into the sport and never had a Group 1, 2 or 3 winner, so it would be a pleasure for me to turn that. (John’s) stuck by me, I’ve had a few accidents this year – a pretty serious one – he could have easily given Sweet Louise to somebody else, but with covid he said throw her in the paddock and we’ll look at races in three months’ time. “He’s not only raced her, but he’s bred her himself. If I can be the first person to win him a Group 1, well I’d be thrilled for John Dorrington’s sake.” READ MORE BREEDERS CROWN >> Stewart can't separate her Tough Ladies >> Update on owners attending Tabcorp Park And the $1.90 favourite is every chance to do just that. While still fairly green, she has blossomed this campaign. Having raced only once as a two-year-old she stepped out twice this summer before a spell, returning in September a different horse. She broke through for her maiden win at Kilmore on October 1 and then won both her Breeders Crown heat and semi-final to burst into contention. “I don’t know how good this horse is yet. I just said to my son, Michael, about four weeks ago, this bloody thing’s improving out of sight,” Chircop said. “I haven’t had a horse work so good since I had The Warp Drive. She’s running the same time as good horses and doing it on her own and she’s lazy and runs all over the place. It’s going to take a good horse to beat her.” Confidence was enhanced by Sweet Louise’s dominant semi-final, when she led and careered away in the 58.3-second last half, winning by 14 metres from Its Beaujolais. “We were pretty committed to hold the lead, we had to find out where she is at ,” Chircop said. “The mare keeps on improving every time she comes out. With the racing, it’s really helped her. At the moment I’m only working three horses, two young trotters and a pacer, so she works at home on her own. The racing’s got her fitter and her true ability’s starting to come out, even if she is still a bit wayward in the way she runs. “I’ve tried to correct that, but sometimes it is what it is. She is her own woman, so I let her go with what she wants to do. She runs around a little bit, but there’s not much I can do about it. I’ve tried to straighten her up and she gets all cranky. So I said, ‘oh well, better to try and keep her happy’. “That’s all I’m trying to do, just keep her happy and hope she can produce this week and hasn’t gone one run too soon.” And when it comes to repeating the dose from gate one on Saturday, Chircop said he would defer to reinsman Chris Alford on whether she chases another all-the-way result. “More than likely so, I just leave that to Chris,” he said. “As soon as you start making plans and telling drivers what to do, I learned a long time ago it doesn’t work. Just leave it in their hands. They’re professionals, they know what they are doing. “I think there’s going to be a lot more pressure Saturday night. Who knows, she might even improve on what she did Saturday. I don’t put her on the clock over the week, she just gets ticked over and look after. My job is to manage her and keep her fit, whether she can improve even further so be it.”   HRV - Michael Howard

Damian Wilson is daring to dream of delivering loyal supporters, owner-breeders Len and Irene Parker, with a TAB Breeders Crown after winning impressively with Major Moth in tonight’s first VHRC Caduceus two-year-old colts and geldings’ semi-final. Wilson had to roll through plans A, B and C in the run but ultimately pulled the right rein to see his Art Major colt emerge victorious for trainer Clayton Tonkin. “It was a very tricky draw tonight,” he told Trots Vision, having started in gate eight behind Sayitaintso Joe. “It was hard to work out what was going to happen in the run and what everyone thought would happen was totally opposite to what did happen. “I was (originally) happy just to drive him quiet, hit the line and qualify for the final tonight, but after being four back the fence everything changed. Just one of those things.” As he described, Major Moth was buried deep on the pegs in the first 100 metres, prompting Wilson to move into the running line and then follow up the three-wide train for the last lap. The race changed complexion when leader and favourite Beyond Delight suddenly dropped out, but Major Moth plowed on, tracking up One Two Many and then running past leader Bar Room Banta to salute by 8.5 metres. “He proved (he’s a contender) tonight and last week,” Wilson said. “(Last week) he probably went as quick a lead time as anything and got home in 26.8. Not many horses can do that. He’s definitely a chance." And it paints the prospect of rewarding a long-time backer. “I’ve known Lenny (Parker) for probably 10 or 12 years. He always sticks behind me. I might put a bad one in, but he’s always got my back. He’s a good bloke," Wilson said. “(Breeders Crowns) don’t come around very often and I’ve got the chance this year, so let’s hope I can make the most of it.” His main threat may well come from Emma Stewart’s Act Now, who found the front from gate three in the second semi-final and led all-the-way to win by three metres. On an eventful night it was a rather uncomplicated race for reinswoman Jodi Quinlan and owner-breeders Bruce and Vicki Edward. “He’s really in his element when he can lead and just bowl along,” Quinlan told Trots Vision. “He likes to bowl along at a nice rate. He foxes a little bit, when they come up outside of him he feels enormous, and then when they drop off a bit he drops off a bit with them. He does wait for them a little bit, but when he goes, he goes all right.” Their real test came at the top of the straight when Kerryn Manning emerged off the leader’s back to make a play for the win on Watts Up Sunshine, but Act Now had all the answers and was able to hold the Rickie Alchin runner’s challenge at bay. “When Kerryn came to the outside of him I had to shake him up a little bit, but he’s one of those – when they get to his wheel he just plods along at his own tempo.” Joining Act Now and Watts Up Sunshine in advancing to the final from the second semi-final were Jacks Hawk, Go Dancing, Tuppence and Electric Eye. They will be joined by first semi-final qualifiers Major Moth, Kimble, Swayzee, Bar Room Banta, One Two Many and Drain The Swamp.   HRV - Michael Howard

Ladies In Red and Tough Tilly stamped themselves the class of the Captain Crunch two-year-old fillies with stunning victories in the first two races on TAB Breeders Crown semi-finals night. The grade was a full flex from Emma Stewart's stable, with the Ballarat district trainer filling the first five in heat one and then following up by winning the second semi-final with Tough Tilly. Ladies In Red certainly would have lost no admirers with her win, which keeps her in the box seat heading into the Group 1 final at Tabcorp Park Melton next Saturday (November 21). "She was really good tonight," reinsman David Moran said of Ladies In Red, who started from gate seven and followed Rogue Wave three-wide in the early stages. As they emerged at the head of affairs, Rogue Wave dropped into the running line while Ladies In Red marched to the front, with stablemate Treachery taking leader's back. It was a clear indication of the pecking order in the stable and that was further justified in the closing stages, with Ladies In Red clearing away to win by 7.4 metres. Treachery finished second ahead of Rogue Wave, Joanna and Dangerous Hand, with Michael Stanley's Soho Bollinger the only non-Stewart runner to book a finals place from the first semi-final.  "She had to do a little bit of work three-wide, but it was a pretty steady lead time and she managed to find (the front) comfortably," Moran told Trots Vision. "She's a special little filly. She seems to be very versatile, as we've seen she can come off the speed really good and she can tough it out. "She was travelling pretty good, she flattened out on the line a little bit, but that was because I knocked off on her a little. She had a bit in reserve." Any thoughts though that Ladies In Red had both hands on the Breeders Crown were soon shaken in the second semi-final, when stablemate Tough Tilly finally plucked a favourable draw and made it count. Reinswoman Kate Gath guided her two-year-old to the lead from gate two and was unchallenged, finding separation with a 28.7-second third quarter and letting down to the line with a 26.6-second final quarter. That created a 15-metre gap to second placed Momentslikethese who ran on well to qualify for Jess Tubbs, while Platinum Sparkle, Treasure Rainbow, Jo Rocks and Star Of Timpany also booked finals place. But it was all about Tough Tilly, who stopped the clock in a 1:55.2 mile rate, a 10th quicker than Ladies In Red in the first semi-final. "There's not much between them, there wasn't before tonight and obviously Ladies In Red has had the upper hand on Tough Tilly, albeit a short half-head both times," Kate Gath told Trots Vision. "We finally got a good draw tonight, she just enjoyed that. Did that pretty easy. She's pretty laid back. "Had to give her a little wake up and she did that well. She just strolled around really. She was happy to drop the bit and I gave her a little tap and away she'd go. The way she hit the line, she felt she was just enjoying it and doing her thing. She didn't feel flat out." The all-important barrier draws will be plucked live on Trots Vision after race nine tonight and, naturally, Gath said "wouldn't we love (gate) one?". "As far in as we could get would be great," she said. "She really does deserve to win one of these big races and I'd love to see her do it for the Butterfly Foundation and everything that she represents. "It's really important. We can only hope that we get a good draw. Ladies In Red will be hard to beat, she was super impressive tonight as well, but clearly Tough Tilly's the one who's got closest too her." Tough Tilly races for Benstud Standardbreds and a syndicate under Cure EB, part of a cause dedicated to finding effective treatments and a cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa. Click here for more details.    HRV - Michael Howard

1 to 16 of 376
1 2 3 4 5 Next »