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A tragedy avoided could bring triumph to Shane Tritton's team with Franco Nelson, only months from a near-death illness, well-placed for a mighty tilt at Saturday night's Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup. The New South Wales' trainer joined Jason Bonnington and Blake Redden on RSN 927's Gait Speed ahead of yesterday's barrier draw, when Franco Nelson drew barrier six, outside Tiger Tara and Chicago Bull but still rated by some to make a forward running. This will be the Christian Cullen nine-year-old's 13th start for Tritton, all in 2018, a year of a significant up - his first Group 1 win in the Bohemia Crystal - and a significant down, which Tritton outlined on Gait Speed. "He's had an interesting year since he won his Group 1 at Miracle Mile time, we gave him a little let up and brought him up for the Len Smith," Tritton said. "We didn't know that he was racing and training with pneumonia. We didn't find this until he got crook and he actually had his intestines turned toxic and almost died." Having been first up from a two-month spell before the July 1 Len Smith Mile, Franco Nelson wouldn't return again until the September 29 Les Chant Cup, when he was fourth, 3.8m behind Victoria Cup contender Mach Doro. "We've taken our time, he's probably feeling the best I've ever had him - he's screaming at all the mares and is certainly on the top of his game," Tritton said. "I'm confident that, he's obviously going to improve with racing, but if he gets the right trip I wouldn't be swapping him for any in the race. "Someone asked me the other day what's the best horse you've ever trained. I think Nelson is a horse that can race under any conditions and if you have got to do the bullocking work he's still there at the end." While Franco Nelson's gate 6 draw and My Alpha Rock's gate 11 draw are tricky, stablemate Gotta Go Ya Hu claimed the polemarker and is well placed. "I'm very happy with all three of them, I think Nelson's a proven horse. I think Lauren will stick with him to drive, which says a lot. If you are going to take one into a battle you want one that's done it plenty of times before." Trots Media

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

YOU can rule-out the Victoria Cup and the Inter Dominion is very much touch-and-go with sidelined superstar Hectorjayjay. It’s not that anything has gone wrong, more the rehabilitation process new trainer Matt Craven is putting him through. “It will be a very fine line for the Inter Dominion. Any little setback and it will be off the cards, I’d say,” Craven said. “I’d say at the start of November I’d know either way for sure. “Ultimately there’s no point pushing him too for the Inter unless we’re sure he’ll be ready. There are lots of good races after Christmas. “He’s been jogging well and doing his beach work. He’d got another three weeks or so of that before we’d step him up.” Hectorjayjay has raced just once since his barnstorming Group 1 Blacks A Fake win at Albion Park on July 15, last year. That one run was his comeback win for Gavin Lang at Kilmore on June 30, this year when he was found to have sustained another injury soon after. ________________________________________________________________________________ AWFUL news late last week with an injury to one of Australia’s most exciting pacers The Storm Inside. It’s the second major injury setback for the five-year-old, who boasts 11 wins and a second from just 12 starts. Trainer Emma Stewart confirmed The Storm Inside had suffered a fractured hind leg and would be sidelined for four to six months. The son of Rocknroll Hanover had surgery last Sunday and Stewart said all signs indicated it had been successful. The Storm Inside burst onto the scene winning all six starts as a juvenile, including the Australian Gold final. He posted 11 successive wins before being beaten for the first time, but smashing the clock in the process, when second to Wrappers Delight in the Breeders Crown 4YO final at his latest run on August 25. ________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE Tritton declared Gotta Go Ya Hu one of his Inter Dominion horses during the week and he duly resumed from a freshen-up with a sparkling win. The five-year-old could not have been more impressive, launching with a last-to-first Menangle win in a 1min51.1sec mile. Gotta Go Ya Hu thrives on being saved for one big, late run and this time he reeled-off his own last half in 54.2sec out three, four and five wide a times to gun down a gallant leader Epaulette. “That’s his go, sitting back and having the last go at them. It leaves him vulnerable if the race isn’t run to suit, but it; the way to drive him,” Tritton said, Gotta Go Ya Hu, the in-form My Alpha Rock and Franco Nelson – who trials at Menangle on Tuesday – are Team Tritton’s three major Inter Dominion hopefuls. “Gotta Go Ya Hu and My Alpha Rock will have a crack at the Victoria Cup as well,” Shane Tritton said. Another impressive Menangle winner last night was Amanda Turnbull’s emerging five-year-old Ellmers Image, who, despite doing the work outside the leader from a wide draw, won strongly in a 1min50.7sec mile. Turnbull had to be content with second in the Menangle feature when Eye See Diamonds chased home in the in-form Village Witch in the Group 3 Adore Me Stakes for mares. ________________________________________________________________________________ IT’S steep climb in a short time, but exciting former Kiwi pacer Diamonds N Cash could tackle the Inter Dominion. The four-year-old didn’t win by much, but did smash the clock with a 54.2sec last half – after sitting parked – at Ballarat last Friday night. It was his third win from six starts since being bought from NZ by Norm Jenkin for trainers Andy and Kate Gath. The best pointer to his potential was his fifth in that super strong Breeders Crown 3YO final won by Ride High. “He’s just kept improving since,” Kate Gath said. “He’s going through his grades at the moment, but the Inter Dominion is here in our backyard so we’ll obviously consider it if he keeps winning.” The Gaths also snared a winning double at Melton last night (Saturday) with former Kiwi pair Three Ways and Star Of Memphis. Three Ways, who finished second to Lazarus in the Victoria Derby at three, has fluctuated form since, but looked good winning the free-for-all at Melton. Things are about to get busier for the Gath’s with their star trotter Tornado Valley nearing a racetrack return and being set for two runs, including the Dominion Trot, during NZ Cup Week. ________________________________________________________________________________ A PATIENT Gary Hall Jr drive helped the emerging Runrunjimmdunn overpower his main rival Vampiro to win the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Vampiro sat outside the leader, Tricky Styx, in a slowly run race, put paid to him down the back in a 28.4sec split, but Runrunjimmydunn stormed home from last in the small five horse field to win by 1.9m in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2130m. It reversed the result of their previous clash when Vampiro stalked Runrunjimmydunn and beat him. Chicago Bull is the obviously standout in Australia let alone WA, but outside of him Vampiro and Runrunjimmydunn are the emerging stars of Perth’s open-class ranks. Chicago Bull is due to return from a freshen-up in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park next Friday night. The plan is two lead-up runs in Perth ahead of the Victoria Cup at Melton on October 13 then across to Auckland for a lead-up race on his way to the NZ Cup. Former All Stars’ pacer Motu Premier broke a long drought from the winner’s circle with an impressive display at Gloucester Park and he looks another major open class player. It was a big effort to sir parked outside the emerging Speed Man and out-tough him a slick 1min57.6sec mile rate for the longer 2536m trip. Motu Premier had gone winless in 17 starts since scoring at Gloucester Park on October 13, last year. ________________________________________________________________________________ COMEBACK trotter Maori Law continues to build towards his Inter Dominion bid. Trained by Bill Morgan and raced by Fred Crews, who races Maori Time, Maori Law won as he liked again at Melton in a slick 1min58.7sec mile rate for 2240m last night (Saturday). Maori Time has 13 months out with injury, resumed with a couple of strong placings and has now won his past two. His career record is 18 starts for 14 wins and four placings. ________________________________________________________________________________ IT was siring double for Art Major in the two Group 2 Vicbred Home Grown finals at Melton last night. Trained David Aiken teamed with driver Kima Frenning to win the colts and geldings final with Malcolms Rhythm (Art Major-She’s Got It All) in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 1720m. The fillies’ final went to Izzy Jolie (Art Major-Dee Jay Jolie) for trainer David Miles and driver Greg Sugars in a 1min58sec mile rate.   Adam Hamilton

AMERICA here we come. That’s something Victorian dairy farmers and harness hobbyists John and Mary Meade never thought they’d say. Now it’s reality as they pack their bags to head to New York of all places with their pride and joy, their star trotter Sparkling Eyes. And, judging by his farewell Aussie run, Sparkling Eyes is primed o do everyone proud in the $US1 million Yonkers International Trot in New York on October 13. John Meade looks to have timed the preparation well with two sound placings to open this campaign then a pair of dominant Melton wins. Sparkling Success sat parked with driver Chris Svanosio controlling the tempo while his only real danger, Kyvalley Blur, two back in the running line. Svanosio put paid to the leader, El Paco, rounding the final bend, opened-up and big league and easily held-off a game Kyvalley Blur to win by 3.4m in a slick 1min55.9sec mile rate for 1720m. They dashed home in56.5 and 27.7sec. What an exciting time for Down Under harness with Lazarus commanding so much attention in North America and an in-form Sparkling Success headed his way. _________________________________________________________________________ NOW we are starting to see why Team Tritton thinks former their Kiwi pacer My Alpha Rock is Inter Dominion material. The sixth year-old posted his fourth successive Menangle win and this time ran a personal best and broke with the 1min50sec barrier with a sparkling 1min49.5sec mile last night (Saturday). All this from a wide draw and being part of a slick 26.8sec opening quarter then splits of 28.1, 27.2 and 27.4sec. “We’ve always liked him and have given him time. He’s really gone to the next level these past few runs,” Shane Tritton said. “The plan is to take him down (to Melbourne) for the Victoria Cup (October 13) and then the Inter Dominion later on.” My Alpha Rock has won eight of his 11 starts since joining Team Tritton at the end of last year, Shane and Lauren Tritton also have Inter Dominion hopefuls Franco Nelson and Gotta Go Ya Hu. The other key winner at Menangle was Steve Turnbull’s emerging five-year-old Joes Star Of Mia, who sat parked to win the Group 3 Dahua final in a 1min50.9sec mile. _________________________________________________________________________ STILL on the Inter Dominion theme and gifted Victorian pacer My Kiwi Mate is another headed that way. Craig Demmler’s gelding has always shown Group 1 potential and his Melton win in The Gammlite (2240m) at Melton last night (Saturday) was the most “complete” of his career. More renowned for his lethal sit-sprint style, My Kiwi Mate worked early, was stuck wide, drifted back to last and then came five and six-wide around the entire field to snatch a half-neck win. All this in a slick 1min55.2sec mile and closing splits of 57 and 28.2sec. It’s been a fantastic training effort from Demmler to nurse My Kiwi Mate back from a bone chip in a back fetlock which required an operation. Demmler has often likened My Kiwi Mate’s potential to Breenys Fella, who he drove in a string of major races for his father, Ted, including second to Shakamaker in the 2000 Inter Dominion final. My Kiwi Mate’s win came at only his second run on the comeback trail, which saw him spend between October 14, last year and August 24 this year off the scene. Some of his best runs so far have included a second in the 2015 Queensland Derby, 3rd in the 2015 Breeders Crown 3YO final and 4th in the 2016 4YO Harness Jewels. _________________________________________________________________________ SAD news during the past week with the passing of popular and highly-talented pacer Messini. The former classy Kiwi juvenile, who spent most of his open-age career in Victoria, passed away last Wednesday. “It’s been a terrible morning for us all at Lilley racing with the passing of our brave warrior Messini. Will be missed around the place that’s for sure. RIP mate,” tweeted Brent Lilley. Messini raced 97 times for 26 wins, 28 placings and earned a thumping $711,711. His major wins included the 2018 Bendigo Cup and Group 1 victories in the 2015 Vicbred 4YO final and 2014 Vicbred 3YO final. _________________________________________________________________________ EMERGING WA pacer Vampiro is one of many who will be glad when Chicago Bull leaves the state for major races in Victoria and NZ. While not in the Chicago Bull league – certainly not yet anyway – Vampiro has raced through the grades for Greg and Skye Bond to be on the next level. And he confirmed it with another impressive Gloucester Park win, this time in free-for-all class, last Friday night. It was his third successive win at the track and he made the most of a good trail and lovely Ryan Warwick drive to easily account for Chicago Bull’s talented stablemate, Runrunjimmydunn, who worked outside the leader, Natural Disaster. Despite the dawdling midrace tempo of a 62.6sec middle half, Vampiro was simply too quick in an official 55.9sec closing half to win by 2.9m.   Adam Hamilton

Kiwis Clive and Rona McKay have raced a long list of top horses, but Muscle Factory is potentially the best yet. Rona went a step further after Muscle Factory’s mind-blowing $100,000 Group 1 Australian Gold Brisbane Graduate final at Albion Park last night. “I’ve been waiting 80 years for this moment, for this horse to come into my life,” she beamed after the presentation. “This is so exciting. Did you see how easily he won it and the time he went?” Muscle Factory paced a smoking 1min53.1sec mile rate for 1660m capped by mesmerizing closing splits of 27.4 and 26.8sec. His winning margin was a whopping 37.9m, reviving Queensland memories of 1999 when Courage Under Fire won the Gold Coast Derby by 48.75m. “He’s still raw and has so much to learn. I can’t wait to get him out for a spell now and being him back as a three-year-old,” co-trainer Shane Tritton said. “I know this is a strong crop, but after a break I’ll be surprised if there are many better three-year-olds next season than him.” The McKay’s snared a large slice of Muscle Factory’s ownership following a conversation Rona had with Tritton on Miracle Mile night. “I told Shane and Lauren to buy us a nice two-year-old if they found one, but Clive said we already had enough horses,” Rona smiled. Adam Hamilton

ENJOYING Queensland’s pleasant weather this week, power couple Lauren and Shane Tritton are hoping for a warm reception at Albion Park on Saturday. The duo are set to contest the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale Final with Muscle Factory, which is the short-priced favourite from his wide draw. Winner of his heat at the same venue last weekend, Muscle Factory will begin from the outside of the front row. Despite the two-year-old’s tough starting position, Shane is positive Muscle Factory can add the Group One to his impressive record. The son of Roll With Joe has won four of his eight starts, with three placings also to his credit. “He has pulled up super from his heat and everything is moving along nicely,” Tritton said. “He needed that run in the heat as he hadn’t one in a while. “His work has been great this week and he will be better again in the Final., “We couldn’t be happier with him going into this race…it is the best he has been all season as he’s started to work out what it’s all about.” Citing Victorian filly For All We Know as the one to beat, Tritton expects Miss Moneybags to improve from a favourable draw. Prepared by Brett Bunfield, For All We Know also won her heat, which followed a second in the Qbred Final at her previous start. Triumphant in the nation-wide APG Consolation last April, the daughter of Art Major has drawn gate two. Fourth behind Muscle Factory in her qualifier, Miss Moneybags will begin from the pole to local horseman Grant Dixon. The daughter of Mach Three is one of four runners Dixon has engaged in the $100,000 feature. Dixon will also be represented by Saint Kilda Beach, Sea Hawke and Bettor Because. “For All We Know is a nice filly, which has proven she is Group One class against girls, is the one to beat here,” Tritton said. “The saying tells us ‘a good colt will beat a good filly’ but For All We Know has to be given respect. “Miss Moneybags has been thereabouts all season and gets her chance from the pole.” APG Media

Another Gloucester Park meeting, another easy win for the NZ Cup-bound Chicago Bull. Gary Hall Sr’s five-year-old made it three cosy wins from as many starts this campaign when he led from the pole and was never out of second gear at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chicago Bull zipped home in 26.8sec with driver Gary Hall Jr just sitting against him in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 2130m. It was a Hall Sr quinella with the emerging Runrunjimmydunn sitting behind Chicago Bull and running second, while the talented Galactic Star ran a brave third after parking outside the champ. “He’ll have another a couple of runs, then a freshen-up before we lock-in travel plans. I’d like to go to the Victoria Cup on the way to NZ. The timing works if it fits the available flights,” Hall Sr said. ______________________________________________________________________ BRENT Lilley’s new Kiwi import Stress Factor is the one to beat in next Sunday’s Group 1 Victoria Trotters’ Derby. That was clear after the former All Stars’ trotter made an impressive Aussie winning debut for new trainer Brent Lilley. Stress Factor showed great manners and gate speed with Chris Alford aboard to work forward and take the lead and went on to win by 2.3m in a 1min59.4sec for 2240m. The eye-catching run was Anton Golino’s Majestic Player, who stormed home from midfield to finish second. Highly-rated local Anywhere Hugo finished third, but would need to improve sharply to be a major player in the Derby. ______________________________________________________________________ SHANE Tritton has no regrets about skipping the recent Queensland Carnival with his emerging star Gotta Go Ya Hu. The four-year-old son of Big Jim made it two sparkling wins in a row at Menangle when he blasted home from last to win running away by 5.2m in a 1min51.3sec mile. “We think he’s our next really top horse, but we made the decision to keep him back from the big races and let him learn,” Tritton said. “Of course you look back at those Queensland races and wonder. I think he’s match it with anything racing right now, he’s got this amazing speed, but we will turn him loose next campaign.” In contrast to most Tritton horses, Gotta Go Ya Hu excels when driven from back in the field, as shown by his past two wins. Suited by the leaders blazing a 54.2sec first half, Gotta Go Ya Hu stormed around the field to win easily. “You’ll note how we drive him and you’ll see more of our horses driven like that. While it’s worked to be aggressive and on the speed, we’re a bit sick of being the bunny for others,” Tritton said. ______________________________________________________________________ MOST Kiwis know Our Golden Goddess has always had the potential to be one of the best mares in Australasia. And now two sparkling wins this campaign have her firmly headed in that direction for trainer-driver Kerryn Manning. The five-year-old Art Major mare toyed with her rivals last night at Melton, the highlight being a staggering 26.2sec closing quarter. Manning had a big night after earlier leading throughout for an impressive but upset win aboard Tough Call in the Group 3 TAB Multiplier final, beating highly-rated Jilliby Bandit on his merits. ______________________________________________________________________ ONE of the biggest stories of this year’s hugely successful Queensland Winter Carnival has been the massive interstate flavour. Queenslanders are used to raiders snatching their major races, but this year trainers like Chris Frisby, Craig Cross and Kerry Ann Turner sent teams up from NSW and had a massive influence. Of course the now NSW-based Tim Butt won the Blacks A Fake with Let It Ride and Amanda Turnbull also came from NSW to win the Sunshine Sprint with Tact Tate. Even last night, NSW raiders won four of the 10 races and Luke McCarthy, who has enjoyed a stellar stint up north, drove three winners. “It’s been a huge success story this Carnival,” Albion Park chief Damian Raedler said. “Betting figures have soared, the media coverage has been outstanding and there is a real buzz around.” ______________________________________________________________________ ROBBIE Morris returned home from his successful three-week Queensland stint to reunite with fiancé Kerry Ann Turner and the pair dominated the Menangle meeting last night. Turner trained four of the nine winners and in two of the races she also snared the quinella. Turner drove Redbank Blaze to win, while Morris was aboard their other three winners: Cherry Stride, Dance For Glory and Fat Prophet. “We had plenty of success in Queensland, but Kerryn Ann did a fantastic job back home and it’s great to back together and having the success we did last night,” Morris said. ______________________________________________________________________ SAME dominance, different state for Emma Stewart. Victoria’s top trainer snared yet another feature this season when Art Major colt Thats Perfect thrashed his rivals in the $50,000 Ubet Southern Cross final for three-year-old colts and geldings at Globe Derby last night. Thats Perfect, driven by Sidney Van Den Brande, roared away to win by 26m in a 1min57.2sec mile rate for 2230m and led a Victorian dominance on the night. Trainer Brett Bunfield, who has taken over most of the horses previously trained in Victoria by Nicole Molander, won the 3YO fillies’ final by 17m with Bettors Delight filly Saphirique. And Nathan Jack trained the quinella in the 2YO colts and geldings final with Art Major colt Animal thrashing stablemate Young Rooster in a sparkling 1min56.5sec mile rate for 1800m. Trainer Bronte Giorgio landed the only local win in the finals with Bubbles And Cheese beating another local, Shesashark, by a whisker in the 2YO fillies’ final. ______________________________________________________________________ IT might not have been the result punters hoped for, but nobody could begrudge popular trainer-driver David Murphy his feature win with Valla Reine in the $50,000 Australian Gold Autumn 2YO Sale final. The daughter of Cams Fool led and just staved-off a gallant Cautivar to win by a nose with heavily-backed favourite Jilliby Macarena having every chance after a superb Jason Lee drive in third spot.   Adam Hamilton

THE door is wide open for Chicago Bull. Right now he’s top seed for the tag as Australasia’s best pacer, but the rest of this year will tell the story. More immediately, November’s NZ Cup will be the defining race of his career. Trainer Gary Hall Sr has repeatedly dismiss doubters saying he won’t make the trip to Addington and Chicago Bull is doing his part to ensure it. The pint-sized gelding made it two easy wins from as many starts this campaign when he toyed with a good free-for-all field at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Somewhat surprisingly, but sensibly, main rival Bettors Fire opted to surrender the lead to Chicago Bull in the early stages of the long 2536m race and it developed into a sprint home. Chicago Bull ambled through a 60.1sec middle half, then dashed home in 54.9 and 27.0sec to win by 4.7m without being extended by Gary Hall Jr in a 1min56.8sec mile rate. “It’s all about the NZ Cup now. If the timing and flights work, he’ll probably go to the Victoria Cup then across to NZ nice and early,” Hall Sr said. “For now, we will just pick off a few free-for-alls here then given him a freshen-up and go again.” Trainer Michael “Mouse” Brennan opted to dodge Chicago Bull with his evergreen The Bucket List and was rewarded with a win off a daunting 50m backmark in the Botra Cup. ___________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi mare Our Golden Goddess looks ready to stake her claim for the crown as Australia’s best mare. It’s tight at the top with the likes of Ameretto, Tell Me Tales and Carlas Pixel, but Our Golden Goddess was awesome winning first-up from a spell at Melton last night. Sure she led, but it was against open-class free-for-allers and she ran blistering times to win by 8.6m in a 1min54.3sec mile rate for 2240m. ___________________________________________________________________________ MILLIONARE trotter Keystone Del didn’t win his comeback race, but he did the next best thing. Sidelined for almost a year, the rising 11-year-old produced a monster run for second to stablemate Kyvalley Blur after having the hardest run in the race. It thrilled trainer Brent Lilley, who has nursed Keystone Del back to form and fitness. Lilley’s pair pulled away from hot favourite Tornado Valley, who looked flat and might be ready for a spell after a busy and blazing start to his Aussie career. ___________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi pacer Master Moonlite caused one of the biggest upsets of the Queensland Winter Carnival when he snatched a last-stride win in the Group 2 Queensland Derby last night. The race supposed to be a walk in the park for another former Kiwi, Duplicated, with local pin-up pacer Colt Thirty One the only possible danger. Duplicated, who thrashed virtually the same field in the South East Derby the week before, led as expected from gate one and cruised through a first 800m as Colt Thirty One parked outside him. The race changed suddenly in the middle stages when local driver Dannielle McMullen launched three-wide and tried unsuccessfully to get the “death” seat off Colt Thirty One. As a result, the heat win into the race and a revved-up Duplicated started pulling ferociously in front for driver Luke McCarthy. It was clear down the back straight he’d run himself ragged and Colt Thirty One powered to the front while Master Moonlite set out after him. Master Moonlite, trained and driven by Victorian Matty Craven, lunged right on the wire to win by a half-head over the very gallant Colt Thirty One with another 9m away to the filly Fame Assured in third spot. Duplicated wilted four fifth, while another very recent Kiwi import Pembrooks Passion ran a sound fourth at his first run for new trainer KerryAnn Turner. Master Moonlite has been an astute purchase by Craven, having won three of his seven starts for the barn. His Derby win did underline the amazing strength of Emma Stewart’s three-year-old crop given Master Moonlite finished a well-held sixth in the recent Vicbred final at Melton where Stewart had the first four home, headed by Poster Boy. ___________________________________________________________________________ NRL star Jarrod Croker added some celebrity power to Blacks A Fake night and didn’t go home empty handed. Croker, captain of the Canberra Raiders, has shares in a few pacers, including the consistent and talented Our Triple Play, who won last night’s $30540 Group 3 4YO Championship for trainer-driver Brad Hewitt. It was a brilliant drive from Hewitt to find the lead then kick away on the home bend while main danger and eventual runner-up Conviction was bailed-away in traffic. ___________________________________________________________________________ EVERY now and again Queensland produces a young pacer capable of matching Australia’s best. Last year’s Winter Carnival unearthed Colt Thirty One, who has already gone on to win the Victoria Derby. This year it could be Smart As Camm Be, who lifted off the canvas for trainer-driver Kylie Rasmussen for a narrow but fantastic win in the $100,540 Group 1 Qbred Trial final. Luke McCarthy did every possible to get Victorian raider For All We Know home, but failed by a neck after a glorious drive. McCarthy did win the Group 1 2YO colts and geldings equivalent earlier in the night when First String camped on leader and hot favourite Regulus and ran him down in the last 200m. ___________________________________________________________________________ IT was a week of milestones in Victoria with Chris Alford’s record-breaking 389th win of the season the headline act. But another bright star of the sport, Kate Gath, reached her 1300th career win when she snared a double – both trained by husband Andy Gath – at Bendigo on Friday night. Gath’s first Bendigo win came on promising former Kiwi three-year-old trotter Scallywag Sam and then added another aboard Chief Running Cloud. Scallywag Sam now boasts five wins from just six Aussie runs. ___________________________________________________________________________ WHAT a shame buzz Victorian youngster Lochinvar Art isn’t paid-up for the Breeders Crown. Many think he’s up with the best juveniles in Australia and it’s hard to argue after the way he demolished his rivals in last night’s Group 2 Tatlow Stakes (2240m) at Melton. Trained by Laura Crossland and driven by David Moran, Lochinvar Art had to dragged back from an inside back row draw, but circled the field and won by 20m in a 1min55.7sec mile rate. ___________________________________________________________________________ A COUPLE of months ago Shane Tritton popped an advertisement on this website spruiking the opportunities for Kiwi owners to send horses to him to race at Menangle. Just one of the many people to contact him was Dougal Steel, who sent his young mare My Major Pocket across. “He took a chance and has already been rewarded,” Tritton said. “Her Menangle win last night was her third from just seven starts for us. She’s run two seconds and a third as well.” My Major Pocket came from a seemingly hopeless position in a slowly run race to overpower one-time glamour mare Rocker Band and win in a 1min54.9sec mile at Menangle. The other Menangle win of note came from two-time Inter Dominion contestant Major Crocker, who resumed from a spell with a sharp win in the opening race for new trainer Michael Doltoff. Major Crocker, a winner of 29 races and over $680,000, will be a welcome addition to NSW’s open-class ranks.   Adam Hamilton

Aussie challenger Shane Tritton has learned a valuable lesson about taking on New Zealand's best at tomorrow's Harness Jewels — don't try to be a Kiwi. Tritton and his wife (and stable driver) Lauren train two of the five Australians at tomorrow's huge meeting at Cambridge, with both Platinum Revolution (race one) and Pete's Big Jim (race six) drawn the ace. Which is exactly what the Trittons wanted and an advantage they will not be giving away. "I have learned from campaigning horses like Salty Robyn at the Jewels before and having Suave Stuey Lombo at the NZ Cup meeting," admits Shane Tritton. "We have come over here and tried to race like the Kiwis, almost been fooled into it. "With Salty Robyn at the Jewels at Ashburton we handed up to one of Mark Purdons and I still regret it because you are not going to beat him doing that. "We have to race the way we know best and that is to try to outstay them and get them out of their comfort zone. So we came here this time hoping for draws that we could do that from, to be masters of our own destiny, and we have got them. So we are going to use them." Tritton's horses are well-known for their catch me if you can tactics and just a few months ago he declared a comparative outsider in Anything For Love would lead and run against powerhouses like Soho Tribeca in a Miracle Mile prelude. He did and won his way into the Mile in typical Tritton fashion so his pre-race bravado tends to not be just hot air. His best chance tomorrow looks to be Platinum Revolution, a horse co-bred by the voice of Addington, Mark McNamara. She has good gate speed and is aided by the two All Stars big guns in the race, Princess Tiffany and Kayla Marie being drawn wide, meaning it should take them at least until the 1000m mark to get outside Platinum Revolution and apply any real pressure. "She is a better filly than people realise and Mark Purdon's pair, and the rest of them, are going to need to be good to run past her," Tritton says. Pete's Big Jim meets opposition of more depth and doesn't have the same sparkling formline but has only been with Tritton for the last two weeks. "He has improved a bit coming from a smaller stable and he will fly the gate. He trialled in 1:53 at Menangle last week and if this race was there on Saturday he would pace 1:52. Whether the others in this race can go that quick, I don't know." The answer is, judging on previous years, probably yes, with Jesse Duke maybe the horse peaking at the right time. Tritton says winning in the Australian green Jewels colours at Cambridge would be a career highlight for Lauren and he. "We probably have more respect for the Kiwi horses and industry than just anybody in Australia and about 90 per cent of our horses are from over here. "So to come over here and show everybody we can train with the best of them would mean the world to me."   Michael Guerin

Shane Tritton thinks he could be the surprise packet of the Harness Jewels. And today’s barrier draws have only boosted his confidence with his juvenile pair Platinum Revolution and Petes Big Jim both snaring prized pole positions at Cambridge tomorrow (Saturday) week.  Tritton and wife Lauren have tackled the Jewels before so knows the enormity of the challenge, but he insists his two raiders should not be sold short despite not being dismissed by many.  “I know lots of people have written us off and, in the case of Petes Big Jim, even laughed at us going, but I think they’ll be surprised,” he said.  “I had Platinum Revolution underdone first-up at Goulburn, it was my fault. Then she could’ve won by a huge space last time, but she wanted to switch off in front.  “She hasn’t been in many races against the best fillies because she hasn’t been paid-up for those races, but I’ve got no doubt she will thrive on it. She’ll follow any speed and run a great race.  “Drawing the pole is a big plus. It should put us right up there on the speed without having to do much work.”  Petes Big Jim joined Tritton’s team right at the time he landed a Jewels invite which surprised many.  “I’ve liked this horses for a long time. I tried to buy him when he ran second in a big race to College Chapel in super time earlier in the season,” Tritton said.  “He’s certainly nowhere near the best two-year-old in Australia on his form, but I’m sure he’s up there on sheer talent.  “I changed a few things after he came to our stable and you saw the immediate results with that 1min53sec trial win at Menangle the other day.  “Put it this way, we’ve got one of the best two-year-olds going around in Muscle Factory and Lauren (Tritton) said after Petes Big Jim’s trial the other day that if clashed with Muscle Factory, she wouldn’t be sure which one to drive.  “Lauren also said he felt that good in the trial that now he’s drawn to lead in the Jewels she wouldn’t hesitate to hold the front.”  If you needed any reminding how upbeat and great for the game Tritton is, check his tweet just moments after the Jewels’ barrier draws came out: “BRING ON THE JEWELS”! Adam Hamilton

The $12,000 Goulburn Sapling Stakes highlights the seven-race harness racing card scheduled for Sunday afternoon at the Goulburn Paceway. The two-year-old open feature has attracted a small but interesting field of six. Up-and-coming filly Platinum Revolution from the Shane Tritton stable has drawn barrier 5 and will likely go to the start as the public elect. The filly has won two of her three starts and before being sent for a spell was an easy winner of the Group 3 Pink Bonnet at Menangle in early March. On that occasion the Changeover filly sat outside the leader and race away to score easily in a solid 1:54.7 mile. One of four fillies engaged in Sunday’s event, Platinum Revolution will find strong opposition from the well performed Tactical Response. The Big Jim gelding was a last start fifth in the $100,000 Group 1 Bathurst Gold Crown final when beaten by only 11.9 metres by star colt College Chapel. Tactical Response has faced the starter on only three occasions and earned his spot in the Gold Crown final by winning a heat in the good time of 1:57.1. Trained at Leeton by Wayne Sullivan, Tactical Response has drawn well in barrier 4 and appeals as the hardest to beat. While Sunday’s meeting has drawn a strong contingent of Sydney trainers, local trainer David Hewitt will be looking forward to featuring in winner’s circle through the promising three-year-old Sword And Shield. A lightly raced Million Dollar Cam gelding, Sword And Shield has won two of his three starts. Following some solid trial performances, the pacer is set to figure prominently after drawing gate 1 in the Goulburn Livestock Transport Pace. The Hewitt stable also has a strong chance of taking out the last of the afternoon, the Goulburn Soldiers Club pace with the proven performer Stanley Ross Robyn. Owned in the same interests as Sword And Shield, Stanley Ross Robyn hasn’t raced since March when he was a close up sixth at Menangle behind Rakarolla who posted a fast 1:50.6 mile. On that occasion Stanley Ross Robyn came from midfield to be beaten only 6 metres and will appreciate the drop in class on Sunday. Racing on Sunday, May 13 starts at 12.52pm, and with only three race meetings remaining before the close of the season, the club’s committee invites all harness fans to come out and experience the wonderful facilities of the Grace Millson Centre. Enjoy quality food and a wide range of cold alcoholic and soft drinks while watching all the racing action in air conditioned comfort. Goulburn harness racing is brought to fans by the kind support of Tabcorp, Goulburn Soldiers Club, Goulburn Mulwaree Council, ARW Multigroup, Hollingworth Crane Hire Service, RSM Accountants, and a host of smaller businesses including Top Water Carters Crookwell, First National Real Estate Goulburn, Goulburn Livestock Transport, Goulburn Landmark, Albury J Communications, Crust Gourmet Pizza, Glen Mia ACT Saddlery and Ranvet. For all the latest Goulburn harness racing news visit the club’s website at goulburnpaceway.com.au and don’t forget to like us on Facebook at facebook.com/goulburnpaceway. Tips Race 1: 4 My Major Rocket, 1 Cherry Stride, 8 Allstar Sea, 2 Kettering Girl Race 2: 1 Sword And Shield, 2 Lynnsanity, 4 Billysbredone, 9 Speedy Dominic Race 3: 2 Franco Landry, 4 Nadeen Franco, 1 Brian Who, 10 Oscar The Great Race 4: 4 Tactical Response, 5 Platinum Revolution, 1 Sunshine Stride, 6 Cee Cee Ambro Race 5: 9 Sheza Tricky Bridge, 6 Recipe For Dreaming, 2 Boobalaga Road, 1 Valla Swan Race 6: 1 Ballymore Boy, 8 Roarn, 4 Deecaesar, 2 Tavewa Sunset Race 7: 7 Stanley Ross Robyn, 9 Return Ace, 4 Shadow Reign, 5 Iamboogie By Mark Croatto Reprinted with permission of The Goulburn Post

IN-FORM Aussie trainer Shane Tritton expects to spend a fair bit of time in NZ this year. It could start with a Harness Jewels raid and end with former Kiwi pacer Franco Nelson returning to his old stomping ground at Addington for the NZ Cup. As much as Franco Nelson achieved through his many successful years in NZ, it seems he reached a new career high since joining Tritton’s stable. Even the doubters would have been silenced with his simply unbelievable Menangle win last Friday night. Menangle has seen some great performances and blazing miles, but not many better than what Franco Nelson produced. The eight-year-old was trapped three-wide for the entire trip and still powered home to beat a classy field in a flying 1min50.3sec mile. “Even when he was out three-wide like that, I still though he’d win. He’s just getting better and better. His work this week amazing,” Tritton said. “Because of all the issues he’s had for the past few years, I think trainers have been cautious about working him too hard. I’ve worked him like I do my others and I think he’s fitter than he’s ever been before.” Franco Nelson has won five of seven starts since moving from NZ to join Tritton’s Menangle stable. “We need to look at plans now. Races like the Len Smith Mile, possibly Queensland and definitely the Inter Dominion are on the cards,” Tritton said. “The owners are keen for him to go back for the NZ Cup and he’s such a great standing-start horse I’d love to give it go. “It’s easier to do the NZ Cup this year and get back for the Inter Dominion with it being in Melbourne rather than Perth.” Tritton hopes Franco Nelson’s success will stir interest from other Kiwi owners to send horses to him. “There must be lots of horses like Franco Nelson who it’s hard to find suitable races for in NZ, but we have a proven record of finding ways to get horses back to their peak form and there are lots more opportunities over here,” he said. While Franco Nelson is the stable star and best horse Tritton and wife, Lauren, have trained, the rest of their barn in flying as well. Franco Nelson was part of a winning treble for them at Menangle, including star three-year-old filly My Sweetchillyphilly returning to winning form in a 1min52.1sec mile in the Golden Easter Egg. Their classy mare Reaza Grunter also impressed again by burning out from a wide draw to lead and winning well in a 1min51.5sec mile. Reaza Grunter and Tritton’s exciting two-year-old filly Platinum Revolution could be Harness Jewels bound. “We’ve talked to the Kiwis to express our interest. If Platinum Revolution got an invite, we’d be keen to go because there isn’t much else for her,” he said. “If she went we’d push for invites for a couple of others as well, including Reaza Grunter, who won really well again the other night.”   Adam Hamilton

Shane Tritton has a good problem on his hands with rejuvenated former Kiwi star Franco Nelson.  He’s got the horse flying, but there aren’t many suitable races in the short term.  “We thought about going down to the Kilmore Cup (next Saturday night), but he’s an old horse with niggles and it’s a risk to take him away from home now we’ve got him sound and racing so well,” he said.  “I just wish he’d got into the Miracle Mile. He’d have given it a shake with a good draw.”  If you think that’s a bold call, think back a month when Franco Nelson thrashed eventual Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal at Menangle.  Franco Nelson produced a huge effort to win the Group 1 Bohemia Crystal free-for-all on Miracle Mile night and then actually improved again to win the free-for-all at Menangle last Friday night.  Despite doing plenty of work, Franco Nelson powered home by 5.2m in a scorching 1.52.8 mile rate for 2300m – just 0.2sec outside Clancys Fobwatch’s track record.  “I said after Miracle Mile night he’s the best horse we’ve trained and he’s only highlighted that again,” Tritton said.  With Kilmore off the table, Franco Nelson will be freshened before a campaign aimed at the Bulli Cup and Len Smith Mile, both at Menangle.    It’s all starting again.  As usual at this time of year, the Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin team start to flex their muscle with the two-year-olds.  It started with a splash when Fourbigmen (Mach Three-Aleppo Heiress) thrashed his rivals at Kilmore last Wednesday night.  Chris Alford made the most of gate one to lead and cruise through a 61.4sec first half, then zip home in 57.0 and 28.2sec.  Fourbigmen zoomed away from Peter Manning’s Scheu Creek – already a feature race winner this season – to win by 17.9m in a 1.58.1 mile rate for 1690m.  “He’s named after four of his part-owners as we are four big men,” part-owner Peter Tonkin said.  Then at Geelong last Friday night, debutante Centenario was every bit as impressive at Four Big Men.  Centenario, closely-related to the injury-plagued but outstanding Philadelphia Man, led throughout in a 1.58.6 mile and closed in 28.1sec to win by 13.7m.  “We’re really excited about the babies again this year. These two are among our best, but there’s another couple right up there with them you’ll see step-out in the next few weeks,” Peter Tonkin said.    Classy pacer Spare Me Days created some country NSW history on Saturday night.  The Brad Hewitt-trained six-year-old did something even the former great NSW stayer Karloo Mick couldn’t do – win three successive Young Pacing Cups.  Karloo Mick went back-to-back in 2009-10, but Spare Me Days went one better with a powerhouse win on Saturday, beating classy mare Dont Think Twice by 4.5m in a 1.57.1 mile rate for 2480m.  Buzz Tasmanian three-year-old Ignatius, now based in NSW with Jimmy Rattray, did all the work and won the Young Derby in good style.  He’s won nine of his 10 starts and is being set for the NSW Breeders Challenge and a possible Queensland Derby tilt.  The Young Oaks was a cracking race with favourite War Dan Bad Girl leading and being nabbed by a brave Major Occasion, who sat parked throughout.    It might only have been a ho-hum Maryborough Friday race, but remember the name Share The Road.  The four-year-old Kiwi-bred mate, by Tintin In America out of High Tops Hanover, sparkled beating another exciting recent Kiwi import Boom Time.  Share The Road pressured her way to the front from Boom Time midrace and found plenty to win in a 1.56.1 mile rate for 2190m with closing splits of 55.6 and 27.3sec.  Part-owner Zac Cornell, who has raced stars like Arms Of An Angel, Suave Stuey Lombo, Mach Beauty and others, has high hopes for Share The Road.  “I think she’s one of the best four-year-old mares in the land. What she did at Maryborough was good and not really her go, she’s better off just rolling along. Her previous win at Shepparton was awesome.”    Popular Melbourne media man Rob Auber has enjoyed his fair share of success as an owner.  Auber’s headline act has been former star mare Bellas Delight, but Madame Meilland is starting to challenge for the mantle.  There is still a way to go given Bellas Delight won 20 races and almost $450,000 in stakemoney.  But Madame Meilland posted her 10th win from 35 starts and passed $100,000 in earnings with a career-best $50,000 Group 2 Empress Stakes (2536m) win at Gloucester Park last Friday night.  It was an enormous win given she sat parked outside hot favourite Better B Chevron and nutted her on the line in a 56.2sec last half.  Madame Meilland is trained by Auber’s friend Ross Olivieri and driven by the much-underrated Shannon Suvaljko.  Another highlight of the Gloucester Park was the battle between emerging stars Vampiro and Runrunjimmydunn with the former prevailing by a nostril in the sixth event.  They went to war down the back straight in a 27.1sec and Vampiro, who led, just did enough to hold-off a very brave Runrunjimmydunn in a 1.55.7 mile rate for 2130m.   Adam Hamilton

Emerging star Shadow Sax bounced-back from a mystifying Hunter Cup flop to snare another feature win in the Group 2 Cranbourne Cup. It added to the Group 1 SA Cup along with a fantastic Ballarat Cup placing through an exciting first season in the big league for Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. And gave Chris Alford yet another feature race win. Alford used gate four to lead, copped some midrace pressure from the gifted San Carlo, but kept finding to beat the rejuvenated Clancys Fobwatch by 4.1m in a 1min56.1sec mile rate for 2555m. San Carlo disappointed slightly, but tiring late for fourth. The other Cranbourne feature, the Group 1 Knight Pistol Trot, was won in easy all-the-way fashion but classy mare Red Hot Tooth. The race changed big time when $1.60 favourite Sparkling Success galloped and lost 40m at the start, while Red Hot Tooth zoomed across to lead. Zac Phillips dictated terms in front on the mare and won as he liked from Andy and Kate Gath’s former Kiwi trotter Tornado Valley with Sparkling Success recovering for a monstrous third. ________________________________________________________________________________________ Shane Tritton firmly believes this is the strongest stable he’s ever had. Leading the way is top-class former Kiwi pacer Franco Nelson, but there is so much depth alongside him. One of the young stars, Platinum Revolution, was simply too fast and classy in the Group 3 Pink Bonnet for two-year-old fillies at Menangle last Friday night. Making it two wins from just three starts, the daughter of Changeover sat parked, ran clear on the home bend and was strong to the line in 1 min54.7sec mile. “What a fantastic night for the team. Four wins, two seconds and a Pink Bonnet,” Tritton said. Team Tritton is now five clear from Craig Cross on the Menangle training premiership. Tritton and wife, Lauren, won the first two races with Murano and Lombo Kotakinabalu. Their flying mare Reaza Grunter also brilliantly won the fifth event in a 1min52.6sec mile. Another mare to impress at Menangle was Mark Jones’ Delightful Memphis, who blew away a handy field in a 1min51.5sec mile. ________________________________________________________________________________________ DANIELLE Hill is surely one of the best and most inspiring stories in Australian harness racing. Hill has overcome horrific injuries from a race fall almost eight years to become the key player in South Australia. And she really strutted her stuff at Port Pirie last Friday night with six wins on the seven race card. She became just the fourth SA driver to snare six wins at a meeting. ________________________________________________________________________________________ JUST a week after a close second in the Miracle Mile, young gun driver Jason Lee returned to his roots for a dominant display at Mount Gambier. It was Cup night at the remote South Australian track and Lee drove four of the eight winners on the night, including the Cup on Keayang Starzzz. Keayang Starzzz is trained by Jason’s mother, Marg, who also prepares Miracle Mile runner-up Jilliby Kung Fu. You can expect Jilliby Kung Fu to step-out next in either the Kilmore Cup on March 17 or the Melton Plate on March 24. ________________________________________________________________________________________ CANBERRA Raiders captain Jarrod Crocker has a real passion for harness racing. Hence his joy at a pacer he part-owns, Our Triple Play, thrashing his rivals in the $30,600 Group 3 Wagga Cup last Saturday night. Our Triple Play is trained by Crocker’s friend, Brad Hewitt, and David Moran took the drive for a powerhouse 35m win in a 1min57.4sec mile rate for the long 2575m trip. The other stars of the night were father and son Chris and Anthony Frisby, who landed both the Wagga Oaks with Major Occasion and Wagga Derby with Uncle Ryan. ________________________________________________________________________________________ LEVIATHAN owner-breeder Rob Watson’s best season in the sport keeps getting better. Watson has enjoyed a fantastic ride with Australia’s best pacer, Soho Tribeca, through his first season on the Grand Circuit. Throw in exciting juvenile filly Soho Nolita, NSW Oaks runner-up Soho Burning Love and so many others. Watson snared another feature when his regally-bred filly Soho Interceptor – by Art Major out of former star filly Aussie Made Lombo – won the $100,000 2YO Fillies’ Sales Classic final at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Trained by Glenn Elliott and driven by Shannon Suvaljko, Soho Interceptor led and found plenty to beat favourite Has No Fear in a 1min57.6sec mile rate for 1730m. The colts and geldings version went to trainer-driver Colin Brown and Its Rock And Roll (A Rocknroll Dance-Miss Worthy Whitby) in a quicker 1min56.6sec mile rate. The other win of note at Gloucester Park came from prominent WA Derby hopefully, Speed Man, for trainer Gary Hall Sr and driver Gary Jr. ________________________________________________________________________________________ WHEN Kima Frenning came to Australia it was as a stablehand and occasional Monte rider. Now she’s one of the most young drivers in Victoria. Frenning, who works for David Aiken and dates his son, Josh, was seen at her best aboard the emerging Rishi at Melton last Friday night. Rishi toyed with a handy field and it’s great to see his trainer, Lance Justice, with another really promising pacer.   Adam Hamilton

Fortune favours the brave as they say. And that’s how best to describe the success Kiwi trainer Brad Mowbray is having in Sydney with his exciting mare Delishka. Beating the All Stars’ barn at home in NZ is hard enough and so many Kiwis now don’t even bother travelling to Aussie to try take on the best here plus the All Stars’ raiders. Mowbray took-up the challenge and with stunning results so far. Next stop is the big dance, the Group 1 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on February 24. Delishka opened her Aussie campaign with a sound but luckless seventh in the Ladyship Cup in Melbourne, but hasn’t looked back since. She backed-up a week later to win in a 1min52.8sec mile at Menangle, then went to another level courtesy of a superb Blake Fitzpatrick drive to win the Sibelia Stakes in a 1min51.1sec mile last Saturday night. Delishka beat reigning Ladyship Mile winner, the All Stars’ A Piccadilly Princess, in the process. A Piccadilly Princess was given the run of the race in the one-by-one trail by Luke McCarthy, but couldn’t match Delishka’s “ping” once Fitzpatrick got her clear of the leader’s back. It was a hotly run race with Partyon leading and copping plenty of pressure from Shane Tritton’s tough grey mare My Rona Gold, who fought on well for fourth. Partyon wilted under the pressure and finished last. ________________________________________________________________________________________ LAZARUS didn’t even need to race at Menangle last Saturday night for us to be reminded how good he is. Just a week after Tiger Tara was crushed into submission by Lazarus in the Hunter Cup, he did the same to a solid but weaker field in the free-for-all at Menangle. It was a win which ranked up with Tiger Tara’s best. He drew the outside over a mile, worked forward to sit parked and kept the pressure on throughout in a blistering 1min50.2sec mile. Classy sit-sprinter Mach Doro trailed the leader, got an inside run to draw level with Tiger Tara, but Kevin Pizzuto’s warhorse was simply too strong. His splits for the mile were 26.9, 28.0, 27.6 and 27.7sec. Next stop is another possible clash with Lazarus in one of the two Miracle Mile qualifying sprints at Menangle next Saturday night. ________________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE Tritton is planning to have four runners in the two Miracle Mile qualifying sprints at Menangle next Saturday night. Former top class Kiwi pacer Franco Nelson, who went like a jet winning at Menangle last Saturday week, looks his top seed. “We’re also going to run Yayas Hot Spot, My Alpha Rock and Anything For Love,” he said. Anything For Love made it five wins from his past six starts when he led and sparkled in a 1min50.4sec mile at Menangle last Saturday night. ________________________________________________________________________________________ IT was like the good old days for Kerryn Manning at Melton last Friday night. There was a time, when driving was basically her sole focus, when Manning would regularly dominate race meetings. She did just that, winning four of the eight races at Melton, including the fast-class race with her outstanding former Kiwi mare Our Golden Goddess. Our Golden Goddess has now won all six starts for Manning this campaign and heads to Sydney nominal favourite for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile on Saturday week. Last Friday she led from the pole and scored in a very slick 1min54.8sec mile rate for 2240m. Manning’s four driving wins came for four different trainers. While he trains Our Golden Goddess, it would have been especially pleasing to win a feature juvenile race, the Premiere Stakes, aboard Scheu Creek for her father, Peter. Scheu Creek, who led throughout and won easily in a 1min56.8sec mile rate for 1720m, provided an early and important win for his sire, former Hunter Cup and Chariots of Fire winner Caribbean Blaster. Manning’s other wins came aboard Lance Justice’s Love Ina Chevy, best known as the pacer who cheated death for many days after a snake bite, and Graham Lee’s trotter Illcryifhewinds. Just for good measure, Manning’s win all at to the growing “Teal Pants” promotion booty. She, Kate Gath and Jodi Quinlan are the Victorian representatives for the cause. Manning’s success rolled-on to Echuca last Saturday night when she won the Group 3 Echuca Cup with classy former Kiwi pacer Motu Meteor. The gelding wouldn’t have been out of place in the Chariots of Fire on the same night, but didn’t qualify. So Manning took him to Echuca instead where he led from gate two and won comfortably in a 1min59.9sec mile rate for 2560m. ________________________________________________________________________________________ KYLE Harper keeps marvelling at his classy old pacer Bettors Fire. The nine-year-old is still good enough to upstage WA’s best with the right draw, so he was a moral when he drew one and led a moderate free-for-all field at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Harper led the gelding slide along in a 1min54.7sec and burned down the back in 27.2sec before holding-off a late surge from Our Jimmy Johnstone to win well. It was back on December 29 when he led and upset Soho Tribeca and Chicago Bull in the Village Kid Sprint. Bettors Fire’s now raced 90 times for 34 wins, 20 placings and earned close to $700,000. The other Gloucester Park feature, the $50,000 Group 2 Daintys Daughter Classic (2130m), went to father-son team Gary Hall Sr and Gary Jr in an upset with Art Major filly Slick Artist. She overcame a back row draw to comfortably beat WA’s best fillies in a key indicator race for the upcoming WA Oaks. ________________________________________________________________________________________ MUCH-TRAVELLED veteran Our Jericho snared another feature win in his new home state last Saturday night. Now trained in South Australia by Les Harding, the eight-year-old narrowly but impressively won the Gawler Cup. Our Jericho started his career in NZ, had long stints in Victoria and WA before returning briefly to Victoria and now to SA. He’s now raced 73 times for 16 wins, 14 placings and earned over $220,000.   Adam Hamilton

Kiwi champion Lazarus looks set to have to sit parked to win Saturday night’s $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup (2760m) at Melton. That’s because rival trainer-driver Kevin Pizzuto quickly dismissed speculation he may opt for “softer” tactics and ask driver Todd McCarthy to take a sit with Tiger Tara from the pole. “We got outsprinted in the Inters. This time we’re going to try and outstay them. My boy will stay all day. He’s tough,” boomed Pizzuto when asked about tactics. Talk off Tiger Tara potentially taking a sit stemmed from the fact Lazarus sat outside and comfortably beat Tiger Tara in Perth. “Toddy went to slow in that Inters final. It didn’t help our horse,” Pizzuto said. It’s worth noting Tiger Tara did lead and beat Lazarus in the second round of Perth Inter Dominion heats, albeit in a stop-star affair over a shorter 2100m trip. The stretch to 2760m doesn’t faze Pizzuto. “My horse is a great stayer. He showed that again at Goulburn the other day and that was his trial. We’re ready for this.” Despite Pizzuto’s declaration, Tiger Tara has continued to drift ($7.50 to $9) since Tuesday night’s barrier draw, while Lazarus has firmed from $1.40 to $1.35 and now $1.33 on the Aussie TAB. One horse who many thought would be in the early speed burn, but won’t be is Shane and Lauren Tritton’s Yayas Hot Spot from gate six. “There’s too much speed underneath him and we learnt from the Perth trip we can really knock him around if we burn early and don’t get across,” Shane Tritton said. “We just have to go back and drive for luck from that draw. “We can’t risk leaving everything out on the track this week with a Miracle Mile qualifier and hopefully the Miracle Mile itself just around the corner.” The expectation Tiger Tara will lead boosts the chances of ageing Victorian champion Lennytheshark, who is drawn inside the back row (gate eight), will most likely be right on his back and awaiting the sprint lane in the home straight. “That’s my best chance,” Lennytheshark’s driver Chris Alford said. “As good as he’s gone in front and outside the leader, David (Aiken, trainer) and I have always felt he’s lethal with a sit on them. He might the chance to show that this week.” Alford said Lennytheshark felt “like he was absolutely flying” when he won last week’s Casey Classic at Melton. “The official timing didn’t work for the race, but I’ve had some clockers tell me broke the track record Lazarus set winning the Victoria Cup last year for the 2240m,” Alford said. “He’ll definitely be fitter again for the run and if the race is truly run and we get the last shot at them, I’m sure he’ll be hard to hold out.” Lennytheshark has also eased from $7.50 to $9 since Tuesday night’s draw. Lazarus’ stablemate, Heaven Rocks, is the $6 second favourite with the Aussie TAB from two-out on the back row with Natalie Rasmussen aboard. Australia’s top harness racecaller Dan Mielicki, who will call the Hunter Cup, is tipping Heaven Rocks to upset Lazarus. “He’s got so much talent and amazing speed. I thought there was a real arrogance about his Ballarat Cup win and, if Lazarus does plenty of work, Heaven Rocks is good enough to beat him,” he said. Adam Hamilton

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