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A changing of the guard at Hanover Raceway, for 2020, will see Steve Fitzsimmons looking after the General Manager duties - while Tony Elliott will assume the harness racing Assistant to the General Manager role. “It’s pretty much the role I was looking for,” says Elliott. “This puts me in line for what I’m aiming for in my career… I’m looking forward to getting some experience in both the marketing and managing sides of the horse racing business.” Elliott was a familiar face around The Raceway, in London, this past race meet. Known for his social media skills and pregame show appearances - he’ll look to continue on with much of the same and more at Hanover this season. “It’s been great getting to know the racing team in London,” he says. “I enjoyed helping out on the pregame shows and Greg Gangle was a great mentor as well… I like what London does with racing - it’s a great model for other tracks to follow.” A new time slot for Hanover, this season, will see them switch to a Saturday afternoon 2 PM post time. “We wanted to have a more ‘family friendly’ post time… And this way we’re not going up against Georgian Downs and Woodbine Mohawk Park in the evening.” Elliott will also host a pregame show and look after some in-between-race commentary during the race day broadcasts. “I got in some practice this past weekend during our qualifiers,” he says. “A little bit of test run, all around, as we get set for our opening day card this Saturday… Is was great to see that the mood on the backstretch was really good… Horse people were following all the new rules and it was clear to see that they were just happy to be back racing.” Along with a new online Survivor Challenge for each race program - race fans will enjoy the new High Definition (HD) live stream on the YouTube and Facebook Live platforms. “We’re really excited about the new HD experience,” says Elliott. “It’s a super upgrade for our racing product and it will be most welcomed by our viewers I’m sure.” I was able to watch a few qualifiers from Hanover on the weekend and a horse to watch for, in the weeks ahead, will be Presto Score. Owned by Darryl and Gerald Holmes, of Meaford, this lightly-raced 5YO son of Sportswriter just jogged in his prep race - pacing a back half in 59-flat, for a 2:02.1 score, with a motionless Tom Smith aboard. Mohawk regular Mach Code was out for an easy qualifying win, as well, for owners Jeff and Lori Thomson. “He was the standout,” notes Elliot. “Scott Young was here to drive him and he just toyed with his foes - winning by open lengths in 1:58.4. We may not see him back this Saturday, but most of the others, that qualified, will likely be with us.” For all the latest happenings at Hanover Raceway visit www.hanoverraceway.com and be sure to follow Tony Elliott on Twitter @elliottracing99 - he’ll keep you up to speed on all things racing this summer. Camluck Classic Highlights COSA TV Though the Camluck Classic would have been contested this weekend, the signature race was nonetheless front and centre on the Sunday (May 31) edition of COSA TV Live. Host Greg Blanchard, joined by colleagues from The Raceway Greg Gangle and Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle - as well as Michael Carter from the USTA, revisited and discussed many memorable moments from the history of the Camluck Classic, formally known as the Molson Pace until 2018 and prior to that - known as the Labatt Pace. Catch the highlights & the full TV show here https://standardbredcanada.ca/news/5-31-20/camluck-classic-tribute-show-… Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle The Raceway at Western Fair District

Seventy percent of the mares represented in the 2020 Redcliffe Yearling Sale catalogue are harness racing winners and 47 percent are winner-producing mares. They have left 72 winners of 445 races between them including seven individual Group and Listed winners and 11 Group/Listed placegetters. Among the race-winning dams are the Group/Listed winners Bangkok Dancer (Qld Paleface Adios Classic) and Montana Tess (Redcliffe Oaks), Macy Supreme (NSW Country Series) and placegetters Three Jewels, Il Cavalino, Jenzajet and Lindrell. Other well performed mares include Shootforthestarzzz (Bathurst Gold Tiara heat), the Australian Pacing Gold heat winners Young Desiree and All Starzzz Shark, Rapt In Red (Qld Breeders Classic semi), Candyliscious (1:53.1), Miss Art Ranger (1:55), Soeur De Lyse (1:55.9) and Rowan Franco (1:56.2). The dams listed in the catalogue have left Group/Listed winners such as the dual Queensland Triad and Redcliffe Sales Classic champion Leos Best, Wicked Style (Queensland Triad and Seymour Nursery), the Queensland Breeders Classic victors Amaya Becomes,  Capitalize and Third Strike and the Redcliffe Sales Classic winners Celtic Cruza and Designer Style. Other ‘black type’ performers include the NSW Derby placegetter R Eleven, In Massachusetts 1:52.4 ($191,002), North Royal ($108,791), Hedges Avenue (1:51.2), Covert Beauty (2nd Queensland Breeders Classic), Gotta Good Reason (NSW Breeders Challenge heat), Pale Bear Boo (Albion Park Gold heat), Gangnam Dancer (2nd NSW Sapling), Drifting Away (2nd Triad) and the Redcliffe Sales Classic placegetters Izzy Ours and Ruhtrebo. The sale will be conducted by Darren Ebert and Company at Redcliffe Paceway on Sunday, April 5, starting at 12 noon. Graduates from the sale are eligible for the Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series with a two-year-old Sale Race Classic worth $100,000 in 2021 and a three-year-old Classic carrying a stake of $35,000 in 2022. They are also eligible for QBred, Breeders Crown, Bathurst Gold Crown and Vicbred. To request a catalogue, phone Darren Ebert on 0410 688 176 or email ebertancoauctioneer@bigpond.com or phone Redcliffe Harness Racing Club on (07) 3284 4550. The online catalogue can be viewed at www.darrenebertauctioneer.com.au Peter Wharton

MANALAPAN, NJ - October 12, 2019 - The SBOANJ has announced that there will be a significant purse increase to both the Garden State Trot #1 and the Garden State Trot #2 based on the addition of the state sired appropriation funding. The Garden State Trot #1 for 3-year-old New Jersey Sired trotters scheduled to race at Freehold Raceway, fillies Friday October 25 and colts Saturday 26 , was previously advertised with an estimated purse of $50,000. The new minimum purse has been increased to $80,000 for both fillies and colts. The Meadowlands will host the Garden State Trot #2 for 2-year-old New Jersey Sired trotters, which was advertised as a $60,000 purse will be increased to a minimum purse of $90,000 for both fillies and colts to be raced on November 9th. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

Former Auckland horseman Jacob Wallace is enjoying life right now. Now based in the Sunshine State and working for leading Fernvale based trainer Darrel Graham, Wallace possesses an excellent strike rate as a trainer himself. Recently obtaining his first racehorse, the winners keep coming. Spring Campaign, purchased by Dene Biddlecombe from the Pukekohe stables of Ray Green, the Courage Under Fire won his fourth race from five Brisbane starts when triumphant in the Mr Feelgood @ Egmont Park Stud Pace at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon. He rated 1:58.5 for the 2138m event before finishing off in 56.8 seconds after racing without cover. Spring Campaign ($1.75 fav) defeated Dapper ($41) and Pacific Drums ($2.40). His sole defeat came a week earlier when outsprinted by in-form pacer Lilac Flash in a time of 1:56.4 for the 1660m. “I was confident he could get the job done and he was really good again so I’m thrilled with the way he is performing right now. There is a heat/final series in the coming weeks and then I will give him an ease-up during the summer period and then focus on the winter carnival next year.” Wallace said. Working a team of two pacers currently, Wallace will unveil his latest acquisition tomorrow (Friday) at Albion Park when he starts another former New Zealand pacer Royal Lincoln. The Well Said – Black And Royal gelding in Heat 3 of the Kevin & Kay Seymour series where he will start from gate 10, the outside of the second-line in the 1660m event. And just like Spring Campaign, Royal Lincoln was previously prepared by Ray Green. “He’s been here a fortnight and he’s settled into the routine pretty well and this series fits in nicely, ideally I would’ve like another week or two with him but he will race well. “Whatever he does, there will be good improvement going forward with him. His work is good and he’s pretty much acclimatized so everything looks pretty good at this stage. “The draw isn’t the best on paper but his form in Auckland was pretty good so I’m hoping we can have some luck and feature.” Wallace, who has had stints with both Barry Purdon and Tony Herlihy, has landed three winners to date this season while he has driven 23 Australian winners overall. ​Chris Barsby

Wesley Vale trainer John Castles arrived at the Devonport Harness Racing Club meeting on Sunday hopeful of a snaring a victory, he left with a winning double and a quinella. John prepared the first and second favourites in the opening race on the card the Mitavite Pace over 1930 metres with the popular pick Keep Playing ($1.70) coming out on top over Flashy Ruler ($5.30) “We don’t think there’s much between them, Keep Playing (pictured) has the better manners of the two but Flashy Ruler has his fair share of ability as well,” said John. ‘They had the race between them a long way out so as the trainer you can relax a little and enjoy the last 400 metres a little more.” Keep Playing, a Shadow Play-Keep Grinning gelding, raced home to his second three-year-old win of the season having won the Jos Ray Memorial at Devonport on May 18. Stablemate Chirac ($14.70), driven by John’s nephew Charlie Castles, came from second last into the back straight to nose out the $3.00 equal favourite Gotta Go Henry in the very last stride. “Charlie timed his run to perfection with Chirac, he was back last when the moves started and he was quick to latch onto the three-wide train and then made the race winning move into the back at the 500 metre mark when he knew he had to get moving so he was off four-wide,” said the delighted trainer and part owner. “Turning for home Chirac had got to second but the leader Gotta Go Henry looked like he had pinched it before Chirac made a late surge and nailed him on the peg.” Charlie is in his first season of driving and his success on Chirac was his third career win but the first for his uncle and father Michael. “They told me to try and stay near the fence, I thought I had followed their instructions to the letter, perhaps I need to check with them which fence they are talking about in future,” laughed Charlie. Shane Yates

Vernon, NY - Vernon Downs will implement an innovative new concept of classifying the overnight harness racing horses beginning with next week's draw.   David Siegel, President of Trackmaster known for their horse racing past performance products and handicapping aids, has developed a process where all horses racing on the continent are assigned a figure akin to the speed figures used by horseplayers to handicap races.   The assigned figure is based on a number of factors compiled by software that is dedicated to the process. The races are then comprised of those horses with comparable figures, theoretically creating races based on each horse's ability rather than the amount of money made in the last few starts.   Hoosier Park's Scott Peine has been using the assigned ratings for nearly two months and Ocean Downs implemented the ratings to classify their races when their meet began in early June. Both report positive results with even fields and odds boards for the races.   Hambletonian President John Campbell presented the idea at last December's Racing Secretary meetings and had this to say regarding the possibilities of the initiative;   "I believe the Trackmaster rating system of classifying horses has the potential to be far superior in matching fields of horses together and will offer our horse players more value across the tote board. The initial results at Hoosier Park and Ocean Downs from a wagering standpoint have been very positive."   Vernon Racing Secretary Scott Warren has spent the past few weeks observing and comparing the conventional money classification system with the assigned figure formula to get an idea if it worked for his horse population. He was impressed enough to put it to use.   "One of the more positive results from this manner of classifying will allow for horses to return to a class where they can be competitive more quickly after moving up to a level beyond their ability after a win while the money conditions could keep them over classified for a month or more. As a result the races should be more even and horses should be overmatched and at long odds far less often," was Warren's observation.   Classes will be listed on the condition sheet as AA, A, B, C & D. The ratings figure for horses that have been racing at Vernon will be available in the race office and on the Vernon Downs website.   Trackmaster automatically produces a figure for every horse racing in North America. This change will begin with the weekend of July 13 & 14. Please call the Racing Office at (315) 829-6825 with questions.   by Nick Salvi, for Vernon Downs

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Harness racing's pot of gold has been building for some time now, and the next player to cash in will walk away with more than a quarter-of-a-million dollars. The carryover for the Meadowlands' Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five now stands at $258,907, and the next time bettors can take a swing will be in Friday night's ninth and final race. To rake the pot, one must be the only holder of a ticket bearing the winning combination of the official top five finishers. The jackpot has not been hit in quite some time. The last time the pool was paid out was on July 29, 2017, when there was a mandatory payout. The current pot has been building since September 8th of last year. But that will not be the only mega-carryover up for grabs at the Big M. While the Big M's JSH5 carryover is the harness game's biggest, the carryover for Gulfstream Park's Rainbow Pick-6 is now $637,676, while another thoroughbred track, Belmont Park, had a Pick-6 pot that stood at $235,671 entering Wednesday's races before failing to get hit. There are a pair of harness tracks who also have noteworthy carryovers to shoot for: Pocono Downs' Rainbow Pick-5 ($107,831) and Hawthorne Racecourse's Jackpot High-Five ($81,573). All of the action from Gulfstream, Belmont, Pocono and Hawthorne will be simulcast to the Big M, as well as many other tracks that are up "on the bird". Of course, the Big M's popular 50-Cent Pick-4, which usually has a pool in the $80,000 range, will be available, with its low 15 percent takeout. Free program pages for the Meadowlands Pick-4, courtesy of Track Master, are available on the Meadowlands' website (www.playmeadowlands.com) and on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. SPECTACULAR SATURDAY SIMULCAST: In addition to a live 11-race program that gets underway at 7:15 p.m., the Big M will have Pocono Downs as the featured simulcast harness track on Saturday evening (post time, 7 p.m.). The Pocono program is a true gem as eliminations for stakes events that line the 14-race card will serve as a prelude to some huge Meadowlands races that take place on July 14. The Max Hempt for 3-year-old pacers will serve as the final prep before the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace while the Ben Franklin for free-for-all pacers is a prelude to the William Haughton. The James Lynch for 3-year-old pacing fillies tees up the Big M's Mistletoe Shalee while the Earl Beal for 3-year-old trotters preps horses who are entering the Stanley Dancer, and, of course, the Hambletonian a little further down the road. DON'T WHINE, COME TO THE BIG M: The Meadowlands' Summer Wine Festival takes place Saturday with local wineries from New York and New Jersey participating. They'll be more than 25 total producers - wineries. For complete information, go to www.playmeadowlands.com. Still to come.... JUNE 30: College students can enter to win one of ten $1,000 college scholarships sponsored by Jeff and Paula Gural's Allerage Farm. Those showing a valid college ID will receive a voucher good for a $5 wager as well as a free program. They'll also a be a handicapping contest that night for those 18-30 years of age and the guaranteed prize pool of $5,000 is also being sponsored by the Gurals. JULY 7: It's Fan Appreciation Night, and it's also wiener take all, as the Big M hosts its 1st annual Wiener Dog Races. For those who own a dachshund and want to enter, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/wiener_racing_sign-up_sheet.pdf. At the conclusion of the races, stay for a fantastic fireworks display. They'll be beer and food specials all night long. There is a special early post time of 6:35 p.m. The featured event are the eliminations for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. JULY 14: The Meadowlands' signature event, the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, takes center stage. Post time is 6:35 p.m. AUGUST 4: Harness racing's signature event, the $1 million Hambletonian, brings the best 3-year-old trotters to not only the Big M, but to a national television audience (on the CBS Sports Network). Post time is noon for harness racing's biggest day. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands    

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Validus Deo let Sgt Molly Pitcher do the heavy lifting in Buffalo Raceway's harness racing featured $8,400 pace on Wednesday night (May 9) but when it counted the most, Validus Deo proved to be the strongest in the end.   Following the pace-setting Sgt Molly Pitcher, Validus Deo (Kevin Cummings) popped the pocket in the lane and took a 3/4-length decision in 1:55.0 over the fast track to pull off the $16.00 surprise.   Sgt Molly Pitcher (Jim Morrill Jr.) had things her own way through fractions of :28.4, :57.4 and 1:27.0. Validus Deo, the lone male in the race, was anxious to make a move around the final turn and couldn't wait any longer.   Tipping to the outside, Validus Deo slowly but surely was able to wear down Sgt Molly Pitcher in the lane to score his fourth win in 13 tries in 2018. Rock My World (John Cummings Jr.) used a pylon-skimming trip to take third.   Co-owned by Cummings, Matthew Rosiek and Robert Johnson, the 8-year-old gelding (Lis Mara-Madam Countess) has now put $17,748 in the bank this season and $523,169 lifetime.   Ray Fisher Jr. completed the evening with a driving triple while Billy Davis Jr. and Cummings doubled.   Racing will return on Saturday night at 6 p.m. with a 13-race scheduled.   For more information including the latest news, simulcast schedule, upcoming promotions, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

DAYTON, OH. - Its been a very exciting week for harness racing driver Travis Seekman, to say the least. His wife Desiree presented the 27-year-old reinsman with their first child, a healthy 8 pound 1 ounce baby girl they've named Raegyn, on Thursday morning; and Saturday night (Nov. 18) he won the $18,500 Open Handicap Pace with Let's Drink On It at Hollywood Dayton Raceway. Despite persistent night-long rainfall and strong gusting winds, the 6-year-old son of Art Official, trained by "Grandpa" Joe Seekman and taken care of by "Grandma" Tina Seekman, overcame the dreaded 9-hole and swept to a convincing 2-1/4 length 1:54.1 score over the sloppy surface. Go Daddy Go (Randy Tharps) and Dreamfair Mesa (Josh Sutton) battled through the first quarter in :28 and the half in :56.3 before Dalhousie Dave (Kyle Ater) ranged up to challenge the leaders at the 1:25.2 three-quarters with Let's Drink On It in tow in the outer flow. It was at that point that "Daddy" Seekman swung his charge three-wide and got the response he hoped for. "That wind was brutal on the last turn and I was out three wide, but Let's Drink On It raced big tonight and went a big mile," beamed Travis. "I'll have enough for my first load of diapers now," he laughed. Prince Bayard (Kayne Kauffman) and Dont Say Goodby (Trace Tetrick) were also near the back of the pack in the early going, but also responded well throughout the second half to garner runnerup and show finishes, respectively. Let's Drink On It has now scored 33 triumphs and pushed his lifetime earnings past $850,000 with the win. Gregg Keidel

Friday night featured the first harness racing installment of the New York Sire Stakes of the year at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The fourteen race card was comprised of solely lady pacers including four divisions of the $44,000+ Sire Stakes for sophomore fillies. Tequila Monday (American Ideal-Margarita Monday-Ponder) began her title defense as the Chris Oakes-trained filly was the two year old Sire Stakes champion last year. With earnings of just shy of $190,000 as a freshman, Tequila Monday came into Friday's stakes try off a career-best victory at Yonkers in which she stopped the timer in 1:52.2. Brian Sears piloted the sensational sophomore on Friday who after moving out to the early lead never looked back before scoring in 1:52.4, the fastest time of the night for all the Sire Stakes races. Roaring To Go (Brett Miller) who was the runner-up to Tequila Monday on the Night of Champions in 2016 came up second best to her once again on Friday despite a strong showing of her own. Daughters of Roll With Joe, Obvious Blue Chip (Scott Zeron) and Playing Favorites (Billy Dobson) each recorded stakes scores on Friday as did Artrageous (Art Major- In Deep Thought-Ponder) who went wire-to-wire with Brett Miller in the sulky. The next installment of the New York Sire Stakes at Saratoga won't take place until July 20th when three year old trotting fillies are featured. Live racing continues on Saturday night at the Spa with a 6:45pm first post. Mike Sardella

TORONTO, January 2 – The Mohawk Race Office would like to offer horsepeople an update on training and live racing at Woodbine Racetrack. The racing surface and paddock at Woodbine will not be available for training this Tuesday (January 3), but instead will be open on Wednesday (January 4) from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Live racing resumes at Woodbine this Saturday (January 7).  The Mohawk Race Office will reopen on Tuesday morning and the draw for Saturday will be held on Wednesday. Entry box closes at 10:30 a.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

The two semi-finals of the Sky Racing Southern Cross for harness racing two-year-old colts & geldings (1800m) has set the stage for a rematch between two exciting pacers Globe Derby Park. Emain Macha (Safari), with his semi-final win, became Australia’s most winning two-year-old taking his number of victories this season to seven, one ahead of a group on six. However, he has tasted defeat once, at the hooves of Deeceeten, which was a brilliant winner of the other semi-final meaning the barrier draw will be of big significance on Tuesday. Backed from $2 into $1.60 favourite, Deeceeten showed in his semi-final that he is not a once dimensional pacer. Nykea Courage ($2.20 to $3.50), a stablemate of Emain Macha, drove through from gate two to hold out the David Jack trained-and-driven Deeceeten which began well from barrier six. At his debut run, Deeceeten had led and run along, but on Saturday night, Jack opted to drop in behind Nykea Courage and take a trail and the big horse settled well. The Jill Neilson-trained Opinionated made a lightning move around the outside to sit outside the leader and driver Dani Hill put the pressure on and went clear coming off the back allowing Jack to bring Deeceeten off the inside and come wide. Glenrae Hanover, trained and driven by Dale Afford, sprinted very quickly past the 300m mark and looked likely to swoop to the lead but Opinionated responded, then Deeceeten wound up and dashed through. On the line, Deeceeten had six metres to spare from Opinionated ($17.40) with Glenrae Hanover ($8.90) four metres away third. Jack was delighted with the further improvement by Deeceeten and very happy the colt had shown he could settle back in a field. Emain Macha was an unbackable $1 money back favourite in the second semi-final of the Sky Racing Southern Cross but didn’t have everything his own way with the Ray Holberton-trained Stars Of Courage proving again he is a racehorse with plenty of ability. Stars Of Courage has shown ability but is still learning about racing and can get fired up which doesn’t help his winning prospects. Emain Macha, trained by Greg Scholefield at Naracoorte and driven by Jock Dunlop, led from gate two but Dani Hill had Stars Of Courage ($13.80) away quickly from barrier four and had a dip for the lead but the favourite was keen to stay in control. Stars Of Courage again raced quite keenly but the pair raced side by side for the rest of the race. With quarters of 30.9 and 31.7 early the race was set for a sprint home and so it proved with 29.3 and 28.0 final quarters and Emain Macha prevailed by 1-1/2 metres but the third horse Aquaflight ($11.80) was 18 metres away third. While Emain Macha will be further improved by the run and will go into the final at peak fitness, Deeceeten and Stars Of Courage showed enough that the final should provide an exciting contest. by Graham Fischer Race programme for Globe Derby Park, Saturday 30 July 2016

The Atlantic Sires Stakes two-year-old pacing colts tackled the oval at Truro Raceway on Thursday evening, as part of Atlantic Grand Circuit Week harness racing action. Colin N Down (Articulator) and Gilles Barrieau captured the first of four $6100 'A' division events in a time of 2:00 for the Downey Stables of Quispamsis, NB. The second 'A' division event went to Mighty Cowboy and driver Darren Crowe in 2:00.1. The Bandon's Cowboy colt is owned by David MacDonald of Halifax, NS. Rinaldo 'Neldie' MacDonald and his two-year-old colt Jigtime Jones (Western Paradise) crossed the finish in 2:00 in their division. MacDonald of Antigonish, NS, shares ownership on the colt with Ian Tate of St. Andrews, NS. The final 'A' division event on the card went to Tobinator (Coastocoast Yankee) and driver Ryan Ellis. The duo came home in an impressive 1:58 for owners Robin Burke, Luke Burke, Perry Burke and Kent Livingstone. Two $2500 'B' division events rounded out the card going to IC A Free Spirit and Matts Tuition. Atlantic Sires Stakes racing action resumes on Saturday evening at Truro Raceway when the three-year-old pacing colts roll into town. First race post time on Saturday is 7 pm. Lynne MacLennan

Summerside, PE - Casimir Luciano rolled out of post five and paced to a harness racing victory Sunday in the feature race at Red Shores Summerside in 1:58.1. Driven by Marc Campbell, Casimir Luciano has been one of the hottest horses on the grounds winning nine of his last 12 starts for owner-trainer Ralph Sweet. Motorino (Terry Gallant) finished second after a pocket ride while Carnivore edged his way through traffic to complete the triactor for catch-driver Dale Spence. The winner returned $5.20. There were no tickets sold on the 5-6-7 combination so the triactor paid out on 5-6-all for $55.20. Rash B Behavior (Campbell) turned in the fastest performance of the afternoon tripping the timer in 1:57.4 for trainer-owner Michael Peters, Emyvale, PE. It was a Murphy driving triple with Ken parading Machinthesand and Sandhill Star to victory lane. His bother Steven scored with Rymar Rodeo in 2:00.3. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca By Lee Drake

Tonight’s Solvalla feature was The Onions worth 80,000SEK to the winner of this 1640 meter autostart contest with ten starters, and, as expected, the 1.1/1 favorite Nuncio (5m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) recorded the win for Stefan Melander and his Stall TZ. Nuncio now has two wins in two 2016 starts and a slate of 28-12-2 in 42 career starts good for 18,292,726SEK earned. Timed in 1.10.7kr, same as his prior current year winning time, Nuncio defeated the same timed Food Money (8g Andover Hall-Windylane Hanover-Lindy Lane) for Jennifer Tillman, off at 5.8/1, and third finishing Nothing But Class (7m Andover Hall-Bold Dreamer-Donerail) with trainer Peter Untersteiner up. Smilin Eli was fourth for Erik Adielson and the Reden/Stall Zet team. Russell Williams bred the winner. In undercard action at Solvalla, Moni To Spare (5g Chocolatier-Live Moni-Conway Hall-Moni Maker) took his second 2016 win in as many starts for driver Kenneth Haugstad and owner/trainer Nicklas Johannson. This one now shows a slate of 7-1-0 in nine career outings for earnings of 249,300SEK including today’s 40,000SEK first money for the 1.13.6kr timed verdict over 2140 meters autostart. Moni To Spare was bred in the USA by Moni Market Stable and was unraced as a two and three year-old. Lady Lee takes SebNor Recycling Mares Trot at Bergsaker Today’s Bergsaker SWE feature was the SebNor Recycling Mares Trot for 100,000SEK to the winner over 2140 meters autostart. The 40/1 outsider Lady Lee (7f Ride The Night-Princess Fri-Probe) rallied late for a long neck victory timed in 1.13.5kr. Kirsten Hell piloted the winner for owner Jan Hagg to her 11th career win in 105 starts. 86/1 Rondine d’Asolo (6f Varenne-Valdagna Ons-Park Avenue Joe) was second for Hanna Olofsson after circling the field to gain advantage around the final bend before facing the winner late. Third was 38/1 Elles W.Phedo (10f Kesaco Phedo-Elles W.Lolota-Rapido) for driver Ove Lindqvist. The 1.38/1 favorite Wild Honey (4f Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy-SJ’s Photo) was away comfortably along the pegs and remained there until past the 1000 meter mark when driver Orjan Kihlstrom hustled that one to the front. Then the US import began rough gaited in the final bend and went offstride. Early leaders Cantabs Fortune and Ninepoints Lucy faded late with Cantabs Fortune also going offstride for trainer/driver Daniel Reden. Another US import, Bostonz Credit, stayed along the pegs and finished fourth for Ulf Eriksson and trainer Daniel Reden. On the Bergsaker undercard the US import Fighting Bax (4m Muscle Massive-Bax Machine-Earl) scored in 1.14.7kr for Orjan Kihlstrom, Stall Zet and trainer Daniel Reden. Bred by Pete Spears’ Windsong Stable, the winner now has three wins in five 2016 starts. The victory tonight added 60,000SEK to his scorecard. Tommaso America (4m Muscle Hill-Onda Degli Dei-Windsong’s Legacy) was second. The Bergsaker’s finale was theForsakringskonsult for 40,000SEK to the winner of this 2140 meter autostart event. 22/1 Bourne Identity (5m Sugar Trader-Santana-Super Arnie) scored in 1.14.1kr for Martin Akerlund, his eighth career victory in 24 outings. US import Stand Bayou (5m Donato Hanover-Roux Hanover-Mr. Lavec) was second at 2.3/1 for Orjan Kihlstrom and the Daniel Reden/Stall Zet team, timed same as the winner (this one also bred by Spears’ Windsong Stable. Voulez Vous was third for Ove Lindqvist. by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink  

Victorian gelding Cant Refuse has managed just one win from 15 starts, but he looks certain to start harness racing favourite after drawing favourably in the $50,000 Slater Gartrell Sports Western Gateway Pace over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He will start from barrier three on the front line in the group 3 feature for three-year-olds and has bright prospects of turning the tables on the brilliant Chicago Bull, a stylish winner at each of his past four starts (all at Gloucester Park). Chicago Bull, prepared by champion West Australian trainer Gary Hall sen., will start from the No. 5 barrier with star reinsman Gary Hall jun. in the sulky. Chicago Bull and Cant Refuse, geldings by super sire Bettor’s Delight, clashed for the first time when they met in a 2130m WA Derby Prelude on Thursday of last week when Chicago Bull started from barrier three, took the lead after 500m and went on to win by one metre from Cant Refuse, who revealed abundant gate speed from barrier four and was smartest into stride. However, Cant Refuse was unable to muster sufficient speed to cross the polemarker El Hombre and was left in the breeze when Hall dashed Chicago Bull to the front. Chicago Bull sped over the final quarters in 27.8sec. and 27.6sec. and held on to score narrowly at a 1.54.8 rate. Cant Refuse looked well and truly beaten at the 400m mark, but he impressed when he fought on with great determination. This was Cant Refuse’s first start since he raced without cover and fought on with wonderful tenacity to finish a 2m second to the unbeaten champion Our Waikiki Beach in the 2400m New South Wales Derby at Menangle mon February 28. Hall jun. has not conceded defeat and still considers Chicago Bull, a winner at seven of his 14 starts, a strong winning chance. “Over the 2536m I’ll go back with Chicago Bull and sit him up,” he said. “He goes best driven that way. Last week he kicked clear comfortably on the home bend, but he took his foot off the gas a little bit and I had to wake him up late.” Chicago Bull showed his class as a sit-sprinter the previous week when he raced in last position in a field of six before bursting to the front 600m from home and racing away to win by four lengths from Just Bet On Black. There is certainly no guarantee that Cant Refuse will be able to take full advantage of his gate speed and charge to an early lead. Smart beginners and proven frontrunners Sprinter and The Art Form are drawn on his inside and this could result in a hectic battle for early ascendancy. The Mike Reed-trained The Art Form will start from the No. 2 barrier and the high-priced New Zealand colt began speedily and gave a bold frontrunning display to score an easy three-length win over the talented El Jacko in a 2185m Byford trial last Sunday week. But The Art Form, at his Australian debut, at Gloucester Park on Thursday of last week, drew out wide at barrier six and was restrained to the rear. He was sixth, one-out and two-back at the bell and did not threaten danger in finishing a well-beaten fifth behind Chicago Bull. The polemarker is Sprinter, a richly-talented and versatile Mach Three gelding who has won ten times from only 16 starts for Pinjarra trainer Gary Elson. Sprinter, to be handled by his regular reinsman Nathan Turvey, has led in three of his victories and also has impressed with his powerful finishing bursts. Sprinter has taken no harm from a solid campaign in the Eastern States when he won a heat of the Victoria Derby at Ballarat and finished fourth in a heat of the NSW Derby. He started from barrier six in the Victoria Derby final at Melton and had no luck, covering plenty of extra ground and finishing eighth behind the brilliant Lazarus.           He drew wide at No. 8 in the final of the NSW Derby at Menangle and was a $94 outsider who settled six back on the pegs and was eighth in the one-wide line at the bell before finishing with a late flourish to be a splendid fifth behind Our Waikiki Beach. Wide draws will provide very tough challenges for in-form geldings Vanquished, Johnny Disco, Questionable Gesture and King Lebron. King Lebron, a newcomer to the powerful Hall stable, faces a stern test from the No. 9 barrier at his first outing in Australia. He began out wide at barrier seven at his most recent appearance, in a $40,000 listed event over 1950m at Addington on February 12 and impressed with his close third behind Nek Time. He settled in seventh spot and was sixth on the home turn before finishing with a powerful burst. The final 800m was covered on 54.5sec. and the last 400m whizzed by in 27.6sec. At his previous start he led from barrier one and sprinted over the final quarter in 27.5sec. to win, unextended. Touch of Success is another New Zealand-bred colt who will be having his first start in Australia when he behind form the No. 4 barrier with Stuart McDonald in the sulky for Busselton trainer Matt White. He has won three times and has finished three seconds from his ten starts in New Zealand. Ken Casellas

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