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Following last week’s announcement of the first two Australian invites for the IRT Harness Jewels (Lulu Le Mans and Major Occasion), Harness Racing New Zealand and Addington Raceway are thrilled to now confirm our three latest Australian competitors.   Pete’s Big Jim (3yo Emerald), Falcon Stride (4yo Emerald) and Majestic Player (4yo Ruby) will represent their homeland in this year’s edition of the Jewels.   Shane and Lauren Tritton will bring back Pete’s Big Jim, who was a gallant second beaten just a neck by Another Master- piece last year, and talented four-year-old gelding Falcon Stride across the Tasman for a Jewels endeavor.   Peter Kohlsdorf is the owner of Pete’s Big Jim, and was ecstatic to be able to return to New Zealand with his pride and joy.   “It’s hardly sunk in to be honest,” said Kohlsdorf. “I’ve been thinking about it since last year when we were just beaten a neck by Another Masterpiece. So we set a programme to come back with the horse to the Jewels again, if it was at all possible.”   Pete’s Big Jim has not had the best of luck this year, struggling with setbacks and lameness but Kohlsdorf and Tritton report the horse is on the way back up.   Falcon Stride is a horse that Shane Tritton has a high opinion of and has won 6 of his 14 career starts. He has previously won over a mile in 1.51.7.   “He’s a horse that I’ve said several times, if he was in a Miracle Mile and they went 1.48, I’ve got no doubt he’d be good enough to be there, ” said Tritton.   “I’m really excited about him. I know it’s a strong division don’t get me wrong, and he’s a horse that a lot of people won’t know a lot about. But he’ll turn some heads at the top of the straight if he can be close enough.”   Anton Golino will also return to the Harness Jewels when he presents four-year-old trotter Majestic Player in the Ruby.   Golino campaigned with Dance Craze at Cambridge in 2018. She was third despite being desperately unlucky in the running and has since gone on to win the Great Southern Star and Saturday night’s La Coocaracha.   The Yabby Dams Farm owned Majestic Player extended his career record to 13 wins from 25 starts when winning at Menangle untouched on Saturday night. This season alone he has won 7 of his ten attempts.   Pat Discoll of Yabby Dams Farm is elated to returning to New Zealand with Jewels contender for Australia. But he did explain to HRNZ that the horse has not been without his challenges.   “We are very honoured and privileged to get the invite and providing the horse has pulled up ok after Saturday night we will definitely be there,” said Driscoll.   “He’s a bit of a stable star.”   “The horse has actually come from nowhere,” explained Driscoll. “As a young horse and a two-year-old he was short in stature and gangly and everyone loved him because even though he tried, he couldn’t trot.”   “Each year he’s just got better and better and from the horse’s point of view it’s a wonderful story. A horse that had a wonderful will to win but just couldn’t trot, and each year has just improved. He just seems to be getting better every start.”   Yabby Dams Racing is an exclusive trotting focused farm, following European training styles and focusing on the best trotting bloodlines worldwide. In an interview (link below) Driscoll describes his passion for the square gait breed and how that has led to the establishment of Yabby Dam Racing.   New Zealand Racing Board Harness Bookmaker Richard Wilson has released the opening prices on the New Zealand TAB for the latest Australian invites for the IRT Harness Jewels; Pete’s Big Jim $26; Falcon Stride $12 and Majestic Player $8. All IRT Harness Jewels future markets are now open on www.tab.co.nz   To hear an interview with Shane Tritton, Peter Kohlsdorf and Pat Driscoll please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/wat ch?v=vC2kelvv66M&feature=youtu.be   Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc          

It wasn’t with the horse most expected, but Shane and Lauren Tritton broke through for a special Newcastle Mile win in dramatic fashion on Friday night. Yayas Hot Spot, the first emergency when fields were released and an $81 Fixed Odds chance, made the most of an inside run with Lachie Manzelmann in the gig to beat Little Rascal by a nose and pacesetter Picard by a half head in 1:54:7. Odds-on favourite, track record-holder and defending champion Majordan galloped at the start and never recovered in the race which was delayed by almost an hour because of a rain-affected track and nearby lightning. The rest of the meeting was abandoned after the group 1 race. The surprise victory gave the Trittons, who were raised in the Hunter and dominated pacing in the region before moving to Menangle Park three years ago, another group 1 but their first Newcastle Mile title. Yayas Hot Spot earned a start in the $1 million Miracle Mile on March 2 at Menangle with the win. Yayas Hot Spot, on the inside, gets the win Yayas Hot Spot, now eight, had finished third in the group 3 Newcastle Mile in 2018 and was eighth in 2016. Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto was expected to win with Majordan or Picard and the Tritton-trained Maximan was next best in betting. But it was the Adam Sofoulis-owned Yayas Hot Spot, which had barrier two and gained a start after Rakarolla was scratched, that flew late from a sit three back on the pegs. It’s most recent start was a ninth in the Inter Dominion consolation.  “It’s definitely a special one, especially for that horse,” Shane Tritton said. “The owners have been big supporters of Newcastle for a long time and this horse has been here two years when no one wanted to come because it was only worth $30,000, and he just deserves it. I’m really proud. “He’s been working super. You can’t go off how old they are and what they’re doing. At the end of the day, he’s feeling good. He’s raced the best horses in the Inter Dominion and he came out of that great. “He’s been to the Miracle Mile before, the Hunter Cup, the Victoria Cup and the Inter Dominion, so you knew he was good enough. Just sometimes people forget. “We got a bit of luck. The track surface might have helped us. It brought a few of them back to us. Instead of going 1:50, they’re going 1:54, and at the end of the day, he’s first past the post and that’s all you can ask.” The group 1 win was a first for Manzelmann. Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission from Newcastle Herald

AUSTRALIAN Pacing Gold purchase Muscle Factory has registered his second record from three starts this season. Stopping the clock in a brilliant 1:49.6 three weeks ago when first-up from a five-month spell, Muscle Factory became the only three-year-old in the southern hemisphere to break the magical 1:50 barrier. At Tabcorp Park Melton last night (Saturday) the son of Roll With Joe produced a bold front runner performance to capture the Victoria Derby in 1:54 over 2240 metres. As such Muscle Factory equalled Our Waikiki Beach’s age track record set in the 2016 Breeders’ Crown. Thrilled with the colt’s performance, co-trainer Shane Tritton revealed a trip across the Tasman is being considered for Muscle Factory. Tritton has set his sights on the New Zealand Derby on April 5 and the Harness Jewels on June 1. First Muscle Factory will return to Tritton’s New South Wales base to prepare for his home state Derby, which begins with heats in Menangle on February 23. Should all go according to plan, Muscle Factory will then contest the $200,000 Final on March 2. “We paid the nomination fee for the New Zealand Derby during the week, so it is definitely on the cards,” Tritton said. “He has owners in New Zealand so they’d like to see him over there to race. “There is also the Jewels before being back in Melton for the Breeders’ Crown towards the end of the season, so there are plenty of options for him. “He’ll head home now have a couple of easy days then get ready for the Derby at Menangle.” Driven by co-trainer Lauren Tritton, Muscle Factory began brilliantly to lead from barrier six as Max Delight and then Hurricane Harley worked on his outside. Striding clear of the pack leaving the back straight, Muscle Factory scored by four-and-a-half metres from Im Anothermasterpiece, with Lochinvar Art four-and-a-half metres away third. “He was driven a little more conservatively in the heat and during the week we realised it was to his detriment as being driven for speed suits him better,” Tritton said. “Lauren rated him perfectly and he showed he can maintain his speed over a longer distance than a mile.”   APG Media

“Horses are only human” said legendary gallops man George Hanlon, and listening to harness racing driver Lauren Tritton talk about Muscle Factory you’d be forgiven for thinking she was talking about one her own children, such is the affection she exudes for last night’s Woodlands Victoria Derby winning colt. “I always say to win with babies, two- and three-year-olds, it’s a big thrill because you feel like you’ve really worked hard with them the whole way along through their careers and it really pays off when you win a big one,” Tritton said this morning after guiding the three-year-old son of Roll With Joe to an all-the-way Derby win in an age-record equalling 1:54.0 at Tabcorp Park Melton. “He does it all so easily. Nothing fazes him. It’s great to have a horse who is so versatile, as a two-year-old he won a couple of races from behind … and just how arrogant his win was last night, we’ve got a superstar ahead of us.” Tritton, 25, boasts 827 wins since jumping in the sulky in season 2010-11 and among those are several memorable features – the Len Smith Mile aboard Gaius Caesar in 2013, Breeders Crown Final with Marty Monkhouser and Cordina Sprint with Suave Stuey Lombo in 2014, Vicbred Super Series Final on Tingira Beach in 2016, Allied Express Sprint with Anything For Love and the Bohemia Crystal FFA with Franco Nelson in 2018 to name a few. But last night’s Derby success was something else. “It was all a bit of a blur really (after the race). You get so wound up it’s actually quite tiring, but it was really special,” she said. Tritton co-trains Muscle Factory with husband Shane and, reflecting on the rising star’s second-place finish in the Derby heat at Ballarat a week ago, she says a combination of factors brought about his undoing that night. “I overreacted a little bit … I wanted to get an easy half and then sprint home, which is totally upside-down to his racing pattern,” she said. “That was a little bit my fault, and a little bit our fault too in that we eased up on him after running the 49 mile. It’s sort of like ‘what do you do with a three-year-old who’s just gone 49?’ The first thing you think of is backing off. “But with him, it’s just a different case. He really enjoys working and working hard. And like I said, I drove him upside-down (in the heat) and let the other horses get into the race. It wasn’t his night, but we had him 110 per cent last night and that was his night.” After finding the lead early last night Tritton said she had to “pinch herself” in the run. “I never really thought this would be the plan to be honest… I was thinking we’d have to sit outside them or get cover somewhere.” But Muscle Factory showed more toe than he’s done in his young career to date, which obviously pleased his driver. “He’s never really shown that much gate speed but last night he was right up on the gate and had his neck tucked up like he really wanted to run the gate. I just let him roll out himself and then when I realised I’d gotten half a length on Im Anothermasterpiece I gave him a little tap and he just took it on from there. There was no stopping him after that. “I just let him do whatever he wanted to do and he wanted to run those even quarters. He got a little bit off the bit at about the 800m so I just shook him up and he kicked into another gear. “I knew I had something left then, and I hadn’t pulled the plugs. He’s all heart and I knew he’d finish off.” Muscle Factory completed his last half-mile in 56.7secs after a 57.7secs first half. Race favourite Im Anothermasterpiece chased gamely late but finished 4.7m astern. Tritton says Muscle Factory has eaten extra feed today as he embarks on his journey back home to Sydney where the New South Wales Derby (March 2) is his next major goal. “He’s pulled up super. We gave him extra feed because we’re travelling home and he ate everything … he couldn’t have pulled up any better,” she said. “He’ll keep heading towards Derbies. The owners are considering a New Zealand Derby trip, but that’s not 100 per cent confirmed yet. He’ll certainly try and win his own Derby trophy back home.” As has been well documented, Muscle Factory’s 1:49.6 win in the Simpson Memorial three starts back was absurdly fast and asked about the feel the prodigy gave her in full flight, Tritton explained: “I’ve got fast class horses who struggle to run a mile in 49 and would struggle to run the sectionals he did last night. He’s only three and can do all that. We’re super excited about his career and where he can head.” Muscle Factory is $5 with TAB.com.au for the NSW Derby. To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. Trots Media - Cody Winnell   Adam Hamilton@AdamTABSports     Three weeks ago today ... Shane Tritton: “If anyone has a 3yo good enough to beat Muscle Factory in the Victoria Derby then I’ll be stunned and good luck to them.” Nobody did. Career defining win away from home for @Tritton_Team   38 12:25 PM - Jan 27, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy   See Adam Hamilton's other Tweets       View image on Twitter Jared Kahlefeldt@workoutjared     So this just happened.... Wowee

As tough as he was brilliant, Muscle Factory led all the way to comprehensively win the harness racing Woodlands Victoria Derby in emphatic fashion, matching the age track record at Tabcorp Park Melton. It was a triumph for husband-and-wife team trainer Shane and reinswoman Lauren Tritton as Muscle Factory reinforced his all-time standing, saluting in the age classic only three weeks after smashing the Australasian three-year-old record when winning in 1:49.6. “I just know this horse is a superstar and that’s how we drove,” said Lauren after they saluted by 4.7m from All Stars entrant Im Anothermasterpiece, with Lochinvar Art the best of the swoopers to claim third. But the Group 1 $200,000 was always in Muscle Factory’s keeping, with Tritton lighting him up out of the gates to lead from barrier six, with Max Delight and then Im Anothermasterpiece sitting outside him before Hurricane Harley advanced to the breeze for the final lap. However, Muscle Factory’s determination to keep the pace on throughout the 2240m meant all would have to advance under strain, with a 44.3 lead time preceding first (29), second (28.7) and third (28.3) quarters that were all sub-29 seconds. “He got a bit keen tonight. We just decided to let him do whatever he wanted to do,” Tritton said. “I had a good hold of him, but those were the sectionals he wanted to run.” They were also the sectionals the Trittons wanted to deliver to give themselves the best chance, confident their Roll With Joe-Malena colt would thrive. “Im Anothermasterpiece, we’ve raced against him a couple of times now and he’s a star too, he doesn’t stop trying. I knew that was the only way that I could beat him tonight. I knew if I was going to beat it I had to break it,” Tritton said. The 28.4 last quarter iced the win in a 1:54 mile rate, matching the track’s age record set by Our Waikiki Beach in the 2016 Breeders Crown and providing a significant highlight for owners Rona and Clive McKay and Dayna Kahlefeldt. “He’s a star and I hope they can just keep winning big races for (the owners),” Tritton said. To watch the video click here. Trots Media - Michael Howard

LAUREN Tritton sat behind the fastest three-year-old pacer to ever grace a track in Australasia just recently. And now the top reinswoman is excited to see what Muscle Factory can produce against some of the nation’s best at Ballarat on Saturday night. Muscle Factory set a southern hemisphere record when clocking 1:49.6 in the Simpson Memorial at Menangle a fortnight ago. And on Saturday night south of the border the colt faces his next challenge in a heat of the Victoria Derby. “I’m really excited to see what Muscle can do against the best of them,” said Tritton. “It’s hard not to declare a horse that just won in 1:49. “I’m not worried about the smaller track either as we saw what he did at Albion Park.” However, there is an element Tritton is concerned about. “It is the hardest heat but we’ve drawn accordingly,” said Tritton. “It’s still going to be tough facing the locals on their home turf . . . some of those horses have been raised on that track their whole life so they have that advantage.” Some of those dangers include Lochinvar Art and Australian Pacing Gold winner Centenario. Meanwhile, the $1.65 TAB Fixed Odds favourite is the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained Im Another Masterpiece. Tritton does not have to face the powerful Purdon/Rasmussen combination in her other Victoria Derby heat with Petes Big Jim. The gelding is a $15 chance behind the $2.50 elect Max Delight and the Menangle Park horsewoman is full of praise of her drive’s latest effort at his local track. Petes Big Jim finished fourth to Muscle Factory in the scintillating Simpson Memorial. “He went into that race 50/50 after being sore and tender on his feet and he is only a little horse but has a heart of gold to push through and go as well as he did,” said Tritton. “He went 1:50 himself and I’ll drive him conservative now as he steps up with the big boys.” ‘Team Tritton’ will be represented on home soil at Menangle on Saturday night as well with seven runners nominated. This includes Tritton’s two recent Inter Dominion campaigners My Alpha Rock and Maximan. “Maximan and Alpha are super since the trip to Victoria,” said Tritton. “We private trialled them around Menangle and they worked the mile in 1:51. “It’s not easy for them coming back to racing in that grade but we are happy with how they have come back after their campaign.” Tritton trains her team of horses with her husband Shane Tritton and they have trained 264 winners since starting their partnership in the 2016/17 season.   Some fun facts: Mile Records – Australasian: http://www.harness.org.au/hra/annual/public/records/ausn_milep.pdf HRA’s Milestones – Pacers http://www.harness.org.au/hra/annual/public/records/mstonesp.pdf   Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government. HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT: AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

EARLY tactics will be vital in tonight’s Group 2 Simpson Memorial at Menangle according to reinswoman Lauren Tritton. The premiership winning driver is taking the reins behind the $1.33 TAB Fixed Odds favourite Muscle Factory and drawing barrier one with the colt has not made the situation any easier Tritton admitted. “It’s an awkward barrier for him as he does have early speed but for his whole two-year-old season we drove him with handbrakes on early and just drove him out easy to stay out of trouble,” said Tritton. “This draw won’t allow us to do that and this is a pretty fast front line.” One rival Tritton will have her eyes on early is Victorian visitor Lochinvar Art. The colt is the only other starter in single figure odds at $4.20 and will begin from outside the front line. “It will be interesting to see what they do with him early and it will be interesting to see Muscle Factory and Lochinvar Art race each other again,” said Tritton. “Muscles is tough whereas Lochinvar Art has a quick last half in him. “Lochinvar Art has been running some ridiculous sectionals in Victoria and just drawn where he has, you would expect that they will have to put him into the race at some stage.” Muscle Factory and Lochinvar Art clashed in the Breeders Challenge Final last June with the pair finishing third and second respectively. Lochinvar Art has had two starts this season for a win and a second while Muscle Factory is first up from a spell. “We couldn’t have him any better,” said Tritton. “He went super winning his trial and there has been some good form come out of that trial too.” Meanwhile, Tritton’s other two starters have already raced this season. This includes Petes Big Jim which finished sixth at Menangle on December 18. “He got himself beat last start over-racing, pulling outside the leader which is not his go,” said Tritton. “He is the fastest two-year-old out of the gate that I’ve ever driven so should be suited by his draw.” Tritton’s other starter is Petes Said So. “He has blistering early speed as well,” said Tritton. “He is the highest assessed horse in the race so deserves his spot in the field.” Petes Said So will be driven by Lachie Manzelmann while Josh Aiken has obtained the drive on Petes Big Jim.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

CLASSY Kiwi pacer Locharburn is heading to NSW to continue his career. The son of Christian Cullen will be flown to Sydney to join Shane and Lauren Tritton’s stable and be aimed at the Miracle Mile. Owner-trainer Kevin Chapman said it would be an emotional time when Locharburn left the barn for Sydney on Friday. “He’s part of the family, but it’s the right thing to do for him. So much work has gone into getting him back from a tendon and a suspensory. He’s really well now, but he can only run in the best races here,” he said. “He’s also not suited to how the races are run here, just sit-up and sprint home. He can run back-to-back 57sec halves, but not a 59sec and a 54sec. “He also hates Auckland. I know he’s run some good races there as a younger horse, but he just doesn’t go anywhere near as well the opposite way.” Chapman said he chose Tritton because of his record rejuvenating older horses the “drop-back” handicapping system at Menangle. “Shane says they can earn $60,000 a year at Menangle without having to beat the best ones,” Chapman said. “It would be great to see the horse drop back in class and find winning form again. Tritton can’t wait for Locharburn to join the barn. “He’s a really serious horse at his top and I reckon he’ll love the Menangle mile racing,” he said. “It’s a real buzz for us that Kevin’s decided to send him across and give us a go with him. “He’s a bit like Franco Nelson when he came to us. He’s had his issues, but our system here seems to get the best out of these older horses. “We’re really looking forward to getting him across and into our system.” Locharburn’s 39 starts have netted 14 wins, eight seconds a third. He was a superstar at three, winning the NZ Derby and finishing second to Tiger Tara in the Northern Derby and second to Isaiah in the NZ Sales Series’ final. As an older horse, Locharburn’s best win came in the 2016 Eastern Cup at Group 1 level, beating Smolda.   Adam Hamilton

Shadow Sax’s surge towards the Melbourne Inter Dominion gained some serious momentum with an easy Sokyola Sprint win at Melton last night. After some brave runs from bad draws in strong races, Shadow Sax drew superbly in gate three and used it to lead and dominate. With Chris Alford away at Globe Derby for the Australian Drivers’ Championship, Mark Pitt took the reins on Shadow Sax and always looked in control. And he beat fellow key Inter Dominion hopefuls Wrappers Delight and Menin Gate in the process. Shadow Sax clocked a 1min52.5sec mile rate for 1720m – just 1.8sec outside Cruz Bromac’s track record – and closed with splits of 55.0 and 26.6sec. Wrappers Delight’s run was enormous given he sat parked early then took the one-one trail on Menin Gate, but had to swing three-wide and make-up good ground in the blistering last quarter for second. The concern from the race was how sharply Menin Gate, who returned from a long spell with a terrific Swan Hill Cup win – dropped out to finish a distant last. Stewards queried the race and stood him down pending vet tests. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ An emerging star and a rejuvenated veteran stole the show in the Group 3 Nick Robin Free-For-All (1609m) at Menangle last night. And both of them – Joes Star Of Mia and Maximan – could be Inter Dominion-bound. Joes Star Of Mia has made a stunning step into Menangle’s big league, following a ripper fourth and eye-catching second with a sub-1min50sec win last night. Despite being part of a slick 26.5sec quarter as driver Amanda Turnbull fought to lead, Joes Star Of Mia followed with splits of 28.0, 27.3 and 27.5sec to win brilliantly in a 1min49.3sec mile. Most thought the currently sidelined Atomic Red was trainer Steve Turnbull’s next star horse, but Joes Star Of Mia has pinched that title, at least for now. Maximan’s slashing second, coming from a mile off them and finishing well ahead of Let It Ride, has got trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton thinking. “We’re talking with the owners about paying the late entry for the Inter Dominion. He won a couple in a row and he’s smashed the clock finishing second in both runs since,” Shane Tritton said. “I’ll be talking to HRV about it. He’s going well enough to give it a go for sure.” Maximan’s stablemate, My Alpha Rock, tired late but wasn’t disgraced in eighth spot after sitting parked. Let It Ride settled near last and was standing-up the leaders a huge start on the home bend before finishing well for fifth, less than five metres from Joes Star Of Mia. He’s now got two runs under his belt and shows every sign he will appreciate getting over further than a mile. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Many of the biggest names in Australian driving ranks locked horns at Globe Derby last night. There were eight heats of the Australian Drivers’ Championship and it went right down to the last heat to decide the winner. And it was NSW young gun Todd McCarthy who snatched victory by just two points over Queensland-based Adam Sanderson with WA veteran Chris Lewis another four points away in third spot. McCarthy only won the one heat – heat two about Imprincessgemma – but was consistent through the right races, also snaring a second and three fourths. Final standings were: Todd McCarthy (72pts), Adam Sanderson (70), Chris Lewis (66), Greg Sugars (63), Pete McMullen (63), Dani Hill (62), Ricky Duggan (59), Ellen Rixon (51), Todd Rattray (45), Chris Alford (44), Shannon Suvaljko (40) and Ryan Hryhorec (37). ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Former Kiwi pacer Vampiro continued his rapid rise through the ranks with the biggest win of his career at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Driver Ryan Warwick made the most of a good draw (gate three) and Vampiro’s gate speed to lead and always looked in control in the $50,000 Group 2 James Brennan Memorial (2130m). After cruising through a 61.4sec middle half, Vampiro finished-off in 56.0 and 27.9sec to hold-off a gallant and revitalised stablemate Our Jimmy Johnstone in 1min57sec mile rate. Vampiro’s won five of his past seven starts and 17 of his 38 career runs and with Chicago Bull sidelined he is pressing for the top seeding in WA’s open-class ranks. “I liked him from the start, but Bondy (co-trainer Greg Bond) wasn’t so sure. He rushed through his grades and took a few runs in open-class to take the next step, but he’s into it now,” Warwick said. Vampiro is one of two “Team Bond” pacers being set for the Melbourne Inter Dominion. The other, Galactic Star, is slated to return to racing next Friday night at Gloucester Park. Team Bond’s other emerging open-class player. Mitch Maguire, also impressed winning last Friday night, coming from a 10m handicap to score by 16m in a slick 1min58.8sec mile rate for the long 2503m from the stand.   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

NEXT year’s Chariots Of Fire at Menangle will be the main aim for exciting new pacer Gods Spirit. The New Zealand-bred gelding made his Australian debut at Menangle on Tuesday leading all the way and rating the mile in 1:51.0. Trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton could not contain their excitement when the son of Tintin In America produced his final two quarters in 26.9 and 26.5 seconds. That was Gods Spirit’s second start. “He just has untapped potential,” said Shane. “It’s been a long time coming, we’ve worked him right up from a spell and we’ve pretty much known he’s been good from day one so it’s been pretty hard to hold him back. “But it’s good to get the first one out of the way and look forward to things to come.” This victory made Gods Spirit the fastest three-year-old in Australia for the season, eclipsing Ignatius’ winning time in the Alabar Breeders Challenge Final by three-tenths of a second. “I’m very aware that there are a lot of horses in his so called category like Ignatius, so if he’s going to be really good he’s going to find stiff competition but I’m very excited,” said Shane. “He’s one of the purist speed horses I’ve ever trained, it will be interesting to see what he does when he is fully wound up.” Gods Spirit made his racing debut in New Zealand last December, where he won at Manawatu in a mile rate of 2:03.8. And Tuesday was his first race start since then. “One of the things the owner said is give this horse time, he could be pretty special and we’ve done that and he was 100 per cent right,” said Shane. “He’s very exciting and we’re just trying to not get too ahead of ourselves.” The Chariots Of Fire is the only race earmarked for this impressive pacer at this stage. “The Chariots is the only one we’re aiming at, the rest of it is just him trying to learn how to race,” said Shane. “He’ll predominately stay at Menangle and race over the miles which he relaxed quite well today (Tuesday) which he hasn’t done a lot of his career. “If he can relax that maybe opens a few more doors. “Today was good just to see him get to the track and do what we thought he could do.” Team Tritton will be keeping a close eye on some of Gods Spirit’s potential rivals this Saturday in Semi-Finals of the Breeders Crown in Victoria. The likes of Colt Thirty One and The Black Prince will clash in one of the qualifiers at Bendigo while Ignatius and Poster Boy will go head-to-head in the other.   AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

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

Rookie Sydney pacer Muscle Factory is fast. In fact, he’s super-fast! And he stamped himself as the horse to beat for next week’s Gr.1 $100,000 Albion Park Gold Final following his scintillating victory last night (Friday) in a time of 1:54.1. He ran sectionals of 28.5, 30.6, 28.6 and 26.6 seconds. The son of Roll With Joe was having his first start at the famed Breakfast Creek oval and scored by a widening margin of 36m defeating Timeless Appeal and Our Ultimate Mary. Prepared by Shane and Lauren Tritton, Muscle Factory has now won 4 of his 8 starts. Prior to his Albion Park romp, all of his other victories have been recorded at TABCORP Park, Menangle. His personal best time to date is 1:53.5 when successful at Menangle on June 5. By comparison, For All We Know who scored in the opening heat rated 1:58.5 for the 1660m distance. But it’s not the fastest time by a juvenile in the Sunshine State. That title belongs to reigning Victoria Derby winner Colt Thirty One. Last season, the Mach Three colt recorded 1:53.9 when successful at Albion Park. In fact, he did it twice, scoring on June 30 and again on July 15. But will that record stand the test of time? There’s every chance that Muscle Factory will be out to claim the rich prizemoney up for grabs plus a track record for a two-year-old pacer next week. It’s the final Gr.1 of the season in Queensland and it now carries plenty of added interest. Only horses sold through the Australia Pacing Gold Brisbane division last year were eligible for this series. The barrier draw will be staged on Tuesday.   Chris Barsby

Who say it’s hard for an Aussie horse to tackle the Harness Jewels and return a major player back home? Certainly not Shane and Lauren Tritton after Petes Big Dream’s first run back in Aussie after his fantastic and very close second at the Harness Jewels. Petes Big Dream, the most surprising of the Aussie invitees to the Jewels, landed some big bets when crunched from $1.80 into $1.40 and toyed with his rivals in a heat of the rich Vicbred series at Bendigo last night (Tuesday). Lauren Tritton used gate one to lead and then rolled through a comfortable 61.3sec first half of the last mile. He then ripped home in 56.3 and 27.6sec to easily hold-off Emma Stewart’s Morengo Magic, who trailed him throughout. Petes Big Jim’s 1min57.1sec mile rate for 2150m was the second fastest of seven Vicbred heats held on the night. Not only did Petes Big Jim’s win stamp him as a major player for the final, but the subsequent defeat of Australian Gold champion Centenario further threw open the series. Emma Stewart won a staggering five of the seven heats on the night and despite Centenario’s shock first defeat in six starts, she still won that heat as well with improving Bettors Delight colt Hurricane Harley. Centenario showed a surprising lack of early speed so Hurricane Harley rushed across the field to lead before taking a trail on his hotpot stablemate. The cruised through a 62sec first half of the last mile, but rounding the home bend Chris Alford said go on Centenario and it was clear Hurricane Harley sit had plenty to offer on his back. Hurricane Harley zoomed past Centenario to win by 6.4m in a 1min56.7sec mile rate and was privately clocked in a 26.6sec closing quarter. Connections felt Centenario “loafed” and lost concentration in front and plan to add blinkers for the Vicbred semis and final. The other big shock came when Australian Gold 2YO fillies’ champ Soho Nolita was also upstaged in her heat and on her merits by Stewart’s improving Bettors Delight filly Two Times Bettor, who simply outstayed the favourite. Stewart’s other wins came with: Blissful Hall filly Kickit Sista in race one; Nostra Ideal (by American Ideal), who upstaged favourite and stablemate Four Big Men in race two and Art Major’s daughter Kualoa, who was the most impressive of the filly winners in race six.   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

There has been a change of plans for ‘Team Tritton’s’ attack on New Zealand’s Harness Racing Jewels. With just three days to go, driver and co-trainer Lauren Tritton flew over to the Shaky Isles a day earlier than planned. The Group 1 winning reinswoman arrived in the North Island yesterday to put the final touches on Platinum Revolution and Petes Big Jim ahead of their upcoming feature assaults. “I was meant to fly out on Thursday but I changed my flight so that I could drive both horses in fast work,” Tritton said. “I like to drive them in track work too because you get a better gauge of where they are at.” And that has been the case with ‘Team Tritton’s’ recent stable acquisition Petes Big Jim. The gelding was transferred to their stable just over a fortnight ago and will face his biggest test to date when he lines up on the Two-Year-Old Emerald at Cambridge Raceway this Saturday. In preparation for this he won a trial at Menangle in 1:53.5 – more than six seconds quicker than any race he has won. “I really like him,” Tritton said. “After driving him we’ve changed some of his gear and hopple length and we’re really happy with where he is at.” Petes Big Jim has drawn barrier one in his $NZ150,000 test and so did his new stablemate Platinum Revolution  in the Two-Year-Old Diamond. And Tritton will be making the most of these draws. “I don’t want to go home with a hard luck story,” she said. “They are both talented two-year-olds and both drawn well so well so we have to make the most of it.” Shane Tritton claimed Platinum Revolution is “the best two-year-old filly I’ve ever had!” “She’ll definitely hold the front . . . the track favours inside runners so if we get to the front we can control our own destiny.” Back home, Team Tritton will be relying on outside drivers to control other aspects of their destiny starting with Lynnsanity who is engaged in one of tonight’s Breeders Challenge heats at Penrith. He will be driven by Lachie Manzelmann who has also landed the top drive on Yayas Hot Spot at Menangle on Saturday night, while Anthony Butt will also drive for the stable that night. For the record, only 12 Australian horses have taken part in the Harness Jewels in the past 11 years. Amanda Rando

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