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HE is currently one of the most inform drivers in Sydney and Cameron Hart is hoping to start the new season in style at Menangle on Saturday night. The 19-year-old has one of the key drives in the Group 3 Free-For-All (2300m) on Loorrim Creek which Hart is hoping will catapult him into success. Have shared a Group victory at Menangle last month, Hart is confident Loorrim Creek will run another good race. “I was really happy with his fourth last week,” said Hart. “He did it well and his sectionals were really strong. “He keeps delivering in this grade and has come through last week’s run well and I’m expecting another good run from him.” Loorrim Creek has raced over the mile distance his last five starts and Hart believes the step up in distance should suit the seven-year-old. “When we first got him we thought he would be better over a bit of distance,” said Hart. “He’s been quite versatile which is good but looking forward to racing him over the longer trip again.” Following the scratchings of some of the fancies in Tiger Tara and Ultimate Art, Loorrim Creek is the $6 TAB Fixed Odds second favourite with My Alpha Rock (Lauren Tritton) the favourite at $1.35. Loorrim Creek will carry the number eight saddlecloth while My Alpha Rock will carry number 10. “I’ll probably have to drive him quiet from the draw,” said Hart. “The few scratchings have helped too.” Hart won six races on Loorrim Creek last season including the Group 3 Race Against The Drought FFA beating Tiger Tara. A win on Saturday night will push Loorrim Creek’s earnings past $100,000. Others Hart won on last season that he believes will go well tonight include Lucky Artist and Im Smoocha. Both pacers as well as Loorrim Creek are trained by former Queensland mentor Shane Sanderson who is now based at the Menangle Park Training Centre and whom Hart drives trackwork for. “We’re having a really good run at the moment,” said Hart. Hart has steered 79 winners in the 2017/18 season. Meanwhile, all horses carrying the six saddlecloth at Menangle during September will sport bright green ‘Race Against Drought’ colours. For every win in these colours, Club Menangle will donate $500 towards farmers in need through ‘Buy A Bale’ and the ‘Dilly Drought Drive’ campaigns. AMANDA RANDO HRNSW

Mark's winning drive behind Show Gait, trained by Reagan Todd for Natalie's mother, Cheryl, in the 3yo filly trot at the Breeder's Crown was quickly outshone by the stunning performance from Princess Tiffany in posting her 9th win from 9 starts after being parked and severely tested by rival Kualoa who led most of the way in the 2yo Pacing Final. Tiffany looked to be battling after a scorching second to last quarter in 27 but living up to Mark's rating as the best juvenile filly he and Natalie have trained, rallied with true grit and class to win the $A290,000 stake in 2.40.2 giving All Stars its 11th Breeder's Crown win though it was the 13th for Mark as a driver. It was her third Group 1 win for Braeden and Caroline Whitelock and Phil and Margaret Creighton. Her mile rate of 1.55.3 was faster than that of the 3 year old colts race, giving some idea of the great performance Tiffany put up. She thus emulates the feat of Partyon who won the Jewels-BC double two years ago. She won her first 10 races in a row-something Princess Tiffany has right in her sights after a well deserved spell.  Unhappily it didn't work out quite so well for ANOTHER MASTERPIECE in the 3yo final. He was checked out of the race at the start and while mounting a huge effort after a classic drive from Mark he just found his early exertions a little too much in a last 800m in 54.5 settling for a valiant third. Earlier in the night Stress Factor, a former All Star, won the 3yo trot for the Brent Lilley stable.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stable http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/  

THE world awaits top Aussie trotter Sparkling Success. And the Victorian regained feature race winning form just ahead of his trip to the US for the $1 million Yonkers Interational Trot in October. It’s one of the great stories given he’s trained by dairy farmers John and Mary Meade, who have sold the farm to concentrate on campaigning Sparkling Success in the US. After two sound runs back from a spell, regular driver Chris Svanosio obviously felt Sparkling Success was primed to do some work and launched him a daring and race-winning midrace move around the field to take the lead. It left main danger and hot favourite Maori Time parked doing the work in the $35,000 Group Breeders Crown Graduate Trotters’ free-for-all. Sparkling Success was always in control, winning by 3.7m in a slick 1min58sec mile rate for 2240m “This is the race he won last year which showed how good he was and Meady thought he was getting back to his top so I was happy to do a bit of work on him. He felt terrific,” Svanosio said. Meade said Sparkling Success could race again at Melton on September 8 before boarding a flight to the US seven days later. The adorable Meade told www.thetrots.com.au : “There’s a lot of thing I don’t know yet, there’s probably a lot of things when I come home I won’t know either, but anyway. “We are going. I still haven’t got my visa. I haven’t got a credit card and I haven’t got a mobile phone. I have got a passport. “I’ve only got to just get on my computer – computers and me aren’t real good – I’ve been busy trying to get my licence and organise my cows for sale.” ____________________________________________________________________________ YOU may never see another race quite like what Dance Craze did in the Group 2 Breeders Crown 4YO Mares’ final at Melton last Friday night. It wasn’t the way she won, but rather how as a $1.10 favourite she did two staggering things to beat herself. About 100m from the winning post with a lap to go, she shied at something, broke badly while leading,  caused chaos in the field, but recovered well enough to zoom around take the lead again down the back straight. Driver Nathan Jack cut her loose on the final bend and she got to the 100m mark in the home straight with a huge lead before … doing exactly what she did a lap earlier. This time she galloped, lost all chance and finished ninth. For the record, the race was won by Margaret Jean for trainer Chris Svanosio and driver Mark Pitt. ____________________________________________________________________________ GLAMOUR mare Our Golden Goddess’ unbeaten streak this campaign came to an end when she could only manage third in the $60,000 Group 2 Breeders Crown Graduate Open free-for-all (2240m) at Melton last Friday night. The scratching of favourite and big threat Shadow Sax left Our Golden Goddess a dominant $1.70 favourite, but much-improved leader Audi Hare dictated in front and found plenty to win by a head over Nikkibandwagon (behind leader). Our Golden Goddess was another head away third and timed to run her last 800m out three-wide without cover in 54.9sec. Such has been Audi Hare’s improvement, trainer David Aiken touted a possible Melbourne Inter Dominion tilt for the rising six-year-old. ____________________________________________________________________________ CHICAGO Bull stole the show at Gloucester Park last Friday, but a couple of Greg and Skye Bond’s exciting four-year-olds delivered nice cameos. Former buzz juvenile Mitch Maguire and the emerging former Kiwi Vampiro both look headed to bigger and better things. Mitch Maguire sat parked, but simply blew away a handy field for a speed with a 55.4 closing half to score in a 1min56.4sec mile rate for 2130m. It was his fourth win from his past five starts and his 17th from just 26 career runs. Vampiro, who looks every bit a serious open-class player in the making, didn’t win as easily but was even more impressive. After rapidly rising through the grades, Vampiro had been good without winning of late, but turned it around when he dropped back in grade slightly and to a standing race off 20m. Ryan Warwick stepped him away well, made an early move to sit parked and then went crunch through the middle stages with a 56.1sec split from the 1200-400m. Vampiro tired late, but held on to beat stablemate Courage Tells by 1.4m in a sharp 1min57.7sec mile rate for the long 2503m standing-start. The Bonds snared a treble on the night with Mighty Mr Sharkey led throughout to upset stablemate El Jacko in the fourth event. ____________________________________________________________________________ A WIDE draw and tough run saw NZ Cup hopeful Tiger Tara finish just midfield in the Group 3 Vic Frost Cup (1609m) at Menangle last night. Kevin Pizzuto’s stable star was only second-up from a spell and worked hard three-wide then outside the leader and winner My Alpha Rock before tiring late for a 7.1m fifth. My Alpha Rock continues to emerge as a open-class player and there was plenty to like about his bold front-running win in a 1min50.9sec mile. The flop of the race was former All Stars’ pacer Cash N Flow, now in the Craig Cross barn, who had a good trip, but failed to beat a rival home. ____________________________________________________________________________ A LATE surge from Lauren Tritton left her one with short of winning the Menangle drivers’ premiership. Todd McCarthy’s early treble last night gave him a three-win lead, but Tritton hit back with victories on My Alpha Rock and Petes Big Jim. Petes Big Jim, a placegetter and Jewels and Vicbred finals, had to pull-out all stops to beat Tim Butt’s recent Kiwi import Izzy Dagg in the Garrards Ready 2 Run Sale Stakes in a slick 1min52.9sec mile.   Adam Hamitlon

THEY have all had a taste of winning a premiership before and drivers Luke McCarthy, Todd McCarthy and Lauren Tritton are all going head-to-head at Menangle on Saturday night to try and claim another. The trio have dominated the metropolitan driving ranks for the past six seasons and this term is no different. With only one win separating the three of them and Saturday night marking the last metropolitan meeting for the season, any win will be vital for the top drivers to claim New South Wales’ Metropolitan Drivers’ Premiership for 2017/18. Seasoned reinsman Luke McCarthy is leading the charge on 40 wins while Todd McCarthy and Lauren Tritton are close behind in equal second with 39 wins each. “It’s pretty good that it’s still so close considering we’ve all had some time away this season,” said Luke. “It certainly makes it interesting.” Having won this Premiership twice before and tied with his younger brother Todd in the 2014/15 season, Luke knows what it takes to lead the charge. The 35-year-old reinsman has seven drives on Saturday night and so does Todd while Lauren, the 2013/14 Metropolitan Drivers’ Premiership winner, has five. And one of the best chances he believes he has this Saturday night is War Dan Destroyer in Race Nine. Luke has driven the trotter 14 times to nine victories and three placings. “War Dan Destroyer is going well and does well in these sorts of races,” said Luke. “This race suits his style of racing.” Luke has also been assigned the drive on War Dan Destroyer’s stablemate Mister Brazil in Race Two. “Mister Brazil has been racing well and has a good chance,” said Luke. “Out of my other drives, Epaulette (Race One) drops back from free-for-all class and with scratching of Shannonsablast he should go close. “Also I’m driving Izzy Dagg for Tim But in the two-year-old (Race Eight) and on paper looks reasonably good.” The Garrards Ready2Run Stakes (1609m) is one of the main features on Saturday night and Lauren will drive the favourite Petes Big Jim. The gelding is resuming from his third-placed effort in the Vicbred Super Series Final last month and recently won a trial at Menangle in 1:53.2 – almost four seconds faster than any winning time he has rated before. Meanwhile, the other feature is the Group 3 Vic Frost Cup where Todd’s drive, Tiger Tara, is the $2.60 TAB Fixed Odds favourite. Lauren will drive My Alpha Rock ($4.80) in that event while Luke is assigned to Cash N Flow ($4.80).   Amanda Rando

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

THIS time last year Amy Rees, newly moved from the Gold Coast, was experiencing her first Bathurst winter, and doing it pretty tough. In fact, when her own horse Wee Jimmy was successful there last July, she enlisted her partner John O’Shea as his driver so she could stay warm by watching the race at home on Sky! Twelve months on, the chilly nights don’t bother her any more, and she’s well and truly established on the racing scene, and in the wider Bathurst community. At Wednesday night’s Gold Crown Paceway meeting, she drove a perfect race behind favourite Sams Express, which she trains, to take out the C2/C3 Menangle Country Series heat, demonstrating the skills that are increasingly earning her drives for other stables. Drawn on the inside, she was awkwardly placed three back on the markers in the early stages, and then relegated one spot further back when leader Cherry Sweet Peach handed up to Blackwhiteandblue mid-race. Approaching the turn, she looked to be in an impossible position, but after navigating her way around a tiring Recipe For Dreaming NZ, she switched back to the sprint lane to chase after Blackwhiteandblue and Cherry Sweet Peach, collaring the pair right on the line. Unsurprisingly, she gained racecaller Craig Easey’s Drive of the Night award for her unruffled performance. Coming up trumps in a busy finish seems appropriate for a young woman who manages a very busy life of her own. She’s in the first year of a Communications degree at the local Charles Sturt University, works part-time in hospitality and management at a busy hotel/motel, and shares the training and driving of a team of nine or ten horses with her partner. And she even manages to participate enthusiastically in supporting worthy causes, such as her cupcake baking/selling  efforts for the recent Cobram fundraiser initiated by Sissy Wilson. A pair of kindred spirits, those two. The earlier C0/C1 Club Menangle heat was taken out by Cyclone Charlie NZ ( Mat Rue for Phil Thurston), first up in seven months. The Rock N Roll Heaven mare appeared set for an easy win until her condition gave out in the straight, but she raised another effort to just hold off Courageous Beau and Our Little Digger, which both ran on strongly from the rear of the field. Field Officer NZ ( Chris Geary for Tim Butt ) took the quickest way home via the sprint lane, in the fast-class, at just his second run back from a three-year lay- off, a great training effort and a  vindication of the owners’ decision to try the Cullen nine-year-old, a $200,000 winner, one more time. Nifty Studleigh scored his second win from 12 starts - with a further five placings demonstrating his consistency - in the first 2YO event, sitting in the one-one and sprinting just a touch too well for Writes Good and Kyle Shannon. Jake Davis, his driver, can also be described as “busy”, having started his day at the ungodly hour of three-thirty  - a.m. that is - on the family dairy farm outside Blayney, before going to work on the team of 20 horses that have just come back in from their winter spell. And all this at the same time his dad has headed off for a six-week spell of his own. Nice one, Leigh! Hot Flush NZ gave The Kerryann Turner/ Robbie Morris stable their customary Bathurst winner, the Bettors filly death-seating in the 3YO first event, home in 57.7s to complete the sprint trip in a 1:57.6 mile rate. There was plenty to like about the tidy win, but post-race everyone was talking about the effort of the Tim Butt-trained second starter Colby, which suffered severe interference just after release, losing a conservative 60 metres, before chasing hard to run on strongly in the middle of the pack. The win of Field Officer later in the evening might have been some little compensation for the stable, if not the punters who had declared the horse a good thing. The glorious uncertainty of racing strikes one more time! Colby, as the name suggests, is another of the progeny of Betterthancheddar. That sire should probably have book-ended the meeting, with Lady Swiss (Mat Rue, completing a driving double ) scoring in the final event, a second 2YO sprint. A large and enthusiastic group of owners and family celebrated on track, not just for the filly’s maiden win, but because it brought up a century of training wins this season for Bernie Hewitt, who joined in after returning on the unplaced Fantasy Blaster. Bernie’s back to Victoria this weekend, for Saturday’s Breeders Crown semi with College Chapel, but it was fitting that his first-ever “ton” should be completed at his home track, and that cricketing tragic Mat Rue should do the steering. Almost “a tale of two cheeses”, but at least we can say that Lady Swiss “got the bickies”. TERRY NEIL

It was paint by numbers simple for the three Kiwi trio using yesterday's low-key Menangle meeting as a lead-in to the Breeders Crown. All three - Show Gait, Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece - led and won their their Australian debuts easily before they head to Victoria next week for the rich Breeders Crown finals on August 25. Both Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece are Harness Jewels winners so it was no surprise they were able to win without being extended but trainer-driver Mark Purdon was thrilled with how they came through their first proper races in two months. "They were both really good without being asked for their best, which is ideal for this stage of the preparation," said Purdon. "Before we loaded Another Masterpiece on the float to come home he was really full of himself so I think he is in a good place," said Purdon. Both juvenile pacers will have to contest semifinals of the Breeders Crown at Bendigo on Saturday week, where finishing in the top half of the field will get them into the final. Show Gait won't have to contest a semi for her three-year-old trotters division at the Crown, with heat winners straight into the final. She took on the older horses yesterday and also worked to the front easily, with Purdon doing the driving for young Canterbury trainer Regan Todd, who is travelling with the Purdon-Rasmussen runners. Purdon had to shake Show Gait up inside the last 50m to keep her mind on the job.   Michael Guerin

The first four races at Menangle on a quiet Tuesday afternoon usually slip by without a lot of interest on this side of the Tasman. But then again, they rarely contain two Harness Jewels winners and a Sales Series Trot star. So today's mid-afternoon Sydney harness should not only be worth a watch but also prove a valuable guide to the rich Breeders Crown in Victoria on August 25. The meeting is headlined by unbeaten juvenile pacing filly Princess Tiffany (race three) and fellow Jewels winner Another Masterpiece (four). Princess Tiffany meets some handy two-year-old rivals but is so brilliant, anything but a victory would be disappointing, especially as trainer Mark Purdon has been thrilled with her preparation. Rivals like Regulus have shown themselves to be good 1m 55s mile juveniles but Princess Tiffany came from last to win her Jewels untouched in 1m 54.2s, suggesting she will remain unbeaten. To split his pair, Purdon has put Another Masterpiece in a maiden race, but oddly, he ends up against former talented stablemate Gentle Giant, who was an Ashburton feature raceday winner for the All Stars last October and could have been expected to go further in life than he has. So while he might have to pace 1m 55s for his mobile mile, Another Masterpiece has gone two seconds faster than that and should also jog home. The programme kicks off with Show Gait, who has been travelling with the Purdon-Rasmussen team, making her Australian debut in a lower grade standing start 2300m trot. The Sales Series winner has shown high speed for a three-year-old trotting filly but trainer Regan Todd says she is still peaking. "My aim is to have her spot on for the Breeders Final so she has to be a little bit underdone but she has definitely improved since she got here," Todd said. "It is a lot warmer here than at home [Canterbury] and it has really brought her on. And her race being 2300m and a stand suits better than some of the mad miles over here." To add to the strong Kiwi flavour at the meeting, former northern pacer Bettor Step Aside makes his Australian debut in race five after being sold out of the Derek Balle stable and looks ideally placed. Michael Guerin

The All Stars barn unleashes a couple of its key Breeders Crown players when Harness Jewels winners Our Princess Tiffany and Im Anothermasterpiece step-out at Menangle on Tuesday. Under the quirk of the different racing seasons, Our Princess Tiffany is of course still a juvenile in Australia and will tackle boys and girls of her own age in the third race. Although sure to be a hot favourite, it’s not a “gimme” race with talented Christian Cullen gelding Regulus, a winner of five of his 10 starts, drawn to lead from gate six. Our Princess Tiffany has gate seven. In a differing quick, although still a two-year-old in Australia, Im Anothermasterpiece, tackles open-aged rivals in the fourth race. The Aussie TAB has Our Princess Tiffany $1.80 favourite in the Breeders Crown final prepost market from Kualoa at $3.20. Im Anothermasterpiece is $4.50 third favourite in the two-year-old colts and geldings final behind Emma Stewart’s star pair Hurricane Harley ($2.40) and Centenario ($3.40). Still on the All Stars’ barn and their emerging open-class pacer Cash N Flow turned heads even in defeat at his first Menangle run last Saturday night. Team Tritton’s speedy My Alpha Rock controlled the tempo from outside the lead and zipped away with a huge lead before Cash N Flow stormed home from near out and out very wide to finish just a head away in second spot. Cash N Flow was clocked to run 54.7sec last half. _______________________________________________________________________ THE countdown to the Breeders Crown continues with Victoria’s two heats for juvenile fillies at Ballarat Tuesday night and two colts and geldings heats at Kilmore on Wednesday night. At Ballarat, most focus will be on Emma Stewart’s powerhouse Vicbred final winner Kualoa, who is considered the main threat to the All Stars’ brilliant filly Princess Tiffany. Kualoa will have a fascinating battle in her heat with gifted stablemate Two Times Bettor, who ran second to Kualoa in the Vicbred final, drawn the pole. Kualoa has gate four. At Kilmore, numbers are surprisingly thin, but the quality is great with Stewart having six of the 15 runners across the two heats. The first heat has Australian Gold and Vicbred winner Centenario drawn the pole and the one to beat, but Tim Butt’s buzz new stable addition Whereyabinboppin (gate five), Nostra Ideal (two), Fourbigmen (six) and College Chapel (eight) also command respect. Stewart certainly holds the key to the second heat with the brilliant Hurricane Harley (seven) and her NSW Breeders Challenge winner Hardhitter (six). _______________________________________________________________________ THE hype just keeps growing around Ignatius and its easy to see why. The former Tasmanian three-year-old, now in Jimmy Rattray’s care, made it 16 wins from 17 starts when he toyed with older rivals at Menangle on Saturday night. The son of Roll With Joe led, dictated through a 58.5sec first half then Rattray allowed him a little rein for a 54.8sec closing half to win with plenty in reserve in a 1min53.3sec mile. It will be fantastic to see him step-up against the best of his age in the upcoming Breeders Crown semi and final. Also at Menangle, Amanda Turnbull’s emerging four-year-old Ellmers Image caused a big upset when stalked hot favourite Gotta Go Ya Hu and simply beat him for zip in the Group 3 Mount Eden 4YO Stakes in a 1min51.4sec mile. Gotta Go Ya Hu led easily with Ellmers Image on his back and they dawdled through a 58sec first half before ripping home in splits of 26.5 and 26.9sec. _______________________________________________________________________ TEAM Tritton looks to have another feature race at their mercy with exciting juvenile Muscle Factory. The Roll With Joe colt won his Brisbane Australian Gold Graduates heat at Albion Park by half the straight last Friday night and should be far too classy in next Saturday night’s final at the same track. Muscle Factory worked forward to lead for Lauren Tritton and cleared out to win by 36.4m in a flying 1min54.1sec mile rate for 1660m. By comparison, talented Art Major filly For All We Know dominated the first heat to win by 8.6m, but went a much slower 1min58.5sec mile rate. _______________________________________________________________________ IT has taken The Storm Inside almost three seasons to build his unbeaten streak of 11 wins, but he looks primed to make up for lost time. Emma Stewart’s rising five-year-old scored with ease again at Melton on Saturday night – in a sharp 1min56.4sec mile rate for 2240m – as he prepares to step into much better races.   Adam Hamilton

The next All Stars stable’s Aussie raid kicks-off at Menangle on Saturday night. Exciting open-class prospect Cash N Flow looks a graded certainty in the opening race where he takes on some handy rivals, but not the best fast-class horses at the meeting. It’s remarkable given Cash N Flow has won 10 of his 20 starts and both starts at Addington this campaign. Throw in the fact it’s over the suitable 2300m trip and not even the outside draw (gate 11) should pose too many issues. Team Tritton’s classy speedster My Alpha Rock (gate nine) and the talented Spare Me Days (10) look the major rivals. At the same meeting, Team Tritton’s emerging stable star Gotta Go Ya Hu will be a dominant favourite from gate one in the Group 3 Mount Eden 4YO Stakes (1609m). Gotta Go Ya Hu has stormed home from well back to win his past two open-class runs at Menangle, but has loads of gate speed and should lead and be hard to beat this week. _____________________________________________________________ TODAY will see one of the most remarkable trials Melton has hosted. With the Breeders Crown just around the corner, four of the best three-year-olds in Australia – Poster Boy, Ride High, Lumineer and Konan - will clash in the 12th trial at Melton. Poster Boy is the best performed via his NSW Derby and Vicbred wins this season, but much interested will centre around last season’s Australian Gold winner Lumineer, who is returning from a long injury layoff. Then, in trial 13, Miracle Mile runner-up Jilliby Kung Fu will lock horns with budding Grand Circuit star Shadow Sax and the classy My Kiwi Mate. Other stars in action include: Australia’s best juvenile Centenario, star 2YO filly Kualoa, NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO winner Hardhitter and top shelf 4YO mare Speak No Evil.   Adam Hamiton

STAR Tasmania pacer Ignatius has set another track record and this time it was at least an Australasian best for a three-year-old. Ignatius led throughout to win a heat of the Australasian Breeders Crown series at Menangle on Tuesday with his mile rate of 1.53.5 over the 2300-metre trip shattering the previous best set by Sushi Sushi and The Black Prince (1.54.1) by six-tenths of a second. The James Rattray-trained gelding led and set scintillating sections coming home his last 800 metres in 56 seconds. According to Rattray there was a helicopter parked in the centre of the arena and he was frightened it might break his stable star’s concentration so he placed a racing hood over the horse’s head but that only led to the three-year-old becoming “fired up”. “Putting the hood on sort of back-fired but he did a great job all the same.” Ignatius had scored by 15 metres at his previous outing in the final of the Group 1 Breeders Challenge series which he won by 15 metres and hard-held but on Tuesday the winning margin was only 2-1/2 metres ahead of Royal Gamble. “The margin might not have been as big as in previous wins but he still did it comfortably and there was a bit in reserve.” Rattray said he would wait and see how the horse pulls up before deciding whether he needs another run before tackling the Breeders Crown semi-final at Bendigo in Victoria on August 18 with the final to be run at Tabcorp Park, Melton, the following week. Peter Staples

GEORGES Plains mentor Bernie Hewitt stamped himself as the ‘King’ of the Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Finals after winning three of the Group Two features at Menangle tonight. Heading into the meeting, Hewitt already had five Breeders Challenge Blue Finals on his winning record. “We counted five Blue Finals and now that makes it six,” Hewitt said after winning the two-year-old fillies edition with Write About Lexy, not knowing he was going to add to that record again. The 56-year-old trainer-driver tasted his first ‘Blue’ success in 2014 with Read About Lexy – a full-sister to Write About Lexy. Both horses are bred and owned by Lex Crosby. “This is the sixth generation of this family that we have been breading with,” Crosby said. “It was 63 years ago that my Dad started breeding from this family line.” It was a similar scenario with the two-year-old boys Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Final that was taken out by Lets Go To Brazil. The Sloys Company have been breeding from this family for almost three decades and Lets Go To Brazil is the third generation of this breed. Driven by Todd McCarthy tonight, Lets Go To Brazil set a new personal best time of 1:53.9 to win the Group Two. In the three-year-old fillies feature the Hewitt-trained-and-driven Cobbity Chic also set a career best mile rate when clocking 1:56.5 to narrowly hold off Brazilian Rocker, a full-sister to Lets Go To Brazil. To top the night off, Hewitt trained the quinella in the three-year-old boys final with Lifes A Jungle causing an upset at odds of $30 and Brads Luck finishing close behind in second. Leading junior driver Chris Geary took the reins on Lifes A Jungle while Hewitt steered the runner up. Lifes A Jungle set a new benchmark when clocking 1:54.6. Thanks to these results, Hewitt has driven 68 winners this season equalling his best season to date in the sulky. Meanwhile, he is on track having his best season on record as a trainer having trained 89 winners for the term and is just one win away from equalling his best result. Bernie Hewitt’s Breeders Challenge Blue Final winners – 2014      Read About Lexy 2015      Pass The Magic 2016      Ima Black Beauty 2017      Our Little Digger 2017      Taylors Reason 2018      Lifes A Jungle 2018      Write About Lexy 2018      Cobbity Chic   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

FATHER and son Steve and Mitch Turnbull had to settle for the minor placings in Let It Ride’s barnstorming 1:49.4 victory in a Breeders Challenge Final the previous Sunday at Menangle but they bounced back in fine style by sharing a winning treble at their home track on Wednesday. Steve trained three successive winners, driving the first two - Shandance NZ and Karloo Bentwofifty -  and Mitchell “dive-bombing “ his fast-class rivals in Let It Ride fashion with the long-priced outsider Smithstars Lexus. Shandance NZ made it two-from-two on Aussie soil with another impressive effort in the C0  Guaranteed. Ladyship Pace, settling behind leader Fastestgirlintown and proving just a touch too strong for that mare, scoring by almost two metres in a 1:56.5 rate. Stu Valentine, the well-known bloodstock agent, might now be feeling quite satisfied that he wasn’t able to find owners for his latest import and consequently decided to race her himself. Plan B has produced a perfect result so far, and plenty of valuable publicity. Karloo Bentwofifty completed the driving double for the leading NSW trainer when it led throughout in a 3C0-3C1 sprint, home in 58.2s for a 1:57.4 trip, his maiden win at start thirteen. As in the previous race, Turnbull got the win at the expense of KerryAnn Turner, this time in a very tight photo, with the barest half-head margin back to Hannah Mae which had enjoyed a good run in the one-one before sprinting home strongly. “I usually go on the position of the wheels in these close finishes. My bloke’s pretty big compared to KerryAnn’s filly, and when I checked that the wheels were level, I was pretty confident that we would get the result,” was his reply when asked about the finish." The American Ideal gelding arrived at The Lagoon in different circumstances from his earlier winner, sent down to Bathurst by Dubbo trainer Barry Lew when a serious shoulder injury, and subsequent operation, forced him to clear his stables for a lengthy recuperation. He’d shown promise in a couple of earlier runs at Bathurst, but then turned in an inglorious performance when he failed to handle the track at Young, and he clearly needed the wide open spaces of his home track to produce his best. It was another half-head result in the fast-class fifth event, when Mitch Turnbull turned in a slick performance with $23.70 chance Smithstars Lexus to get up right on the line in a most exciting finish. Odds-on favourite Parramatta NZ led until halfway down the running, when Im Cool Harry loomed up wide, while Sabrage came hard along the sprint lane. But Smithstars Lexus, which had tracked into the race on the back of Im Cool Harry, came very late and very fast to get there just in time in a driving finish, stopping the clock in 1:55.9, the night’s best. His young driver didn’t appear to be lining up the wheels, instead leaning back in the bike to lift the shafts, but he did indicate afterwards that his horse “travelled really well in the run, and when I was able to follow Im Cool Harry into the race, I was feeling quite confident he would run on,” Other winners: Crossfirehall in C1 grade for Bernie Hewitt, making use of the sprint lane to bring up the win for a very happy group of local league players and officials, which include former NRL star George Rose and Group 10 president Lenore Zamparini Bettor To Be Tricky NZ, in a C2-C3 sprint, courtesy of a great drive from Kerryann Turner, setting the four-year-old alight up the back in a race-winning move, to the evident delight of long-time owner Craig Rusten and his mate Mick Horan, who got to enjoy that special first win as an owner Blaster Ranger, leading throughout for Junee Reefs visitor Matty Harris ( recipient of racecaller Mitch Manners’ Drive of the Night award ), a second successive win for the good-looking son of Caribbean Blaster, whose owner Rob Nalder would be pleased despite finishing third in the race with We Salute You Ominous Warning ( John O’Shea for Peter Trevor-Jones) in a Reward Series heat, the half-brother to Beetson leading throughout and roaring away over the closing stages by more than 20 metres, for his seventh career win but just the first in his last two injury-interrupted seasons Uncle Peter, all-the-way in the 2260 metres C1-C2 heat of the Penrith Mayors Cup, for Chris Frisby and reinsman son Anthony, who’s currently racking up lots of frequent flyer points winning multiple races at Albion Park, where most of the horses, and family, are dodging the Bathurst winter Gabbys Sportstar, for Nathan Hurst in the HRNSW Guaranteed Two-Year-Old Pace, the Sportswriter first foal of classy racemare Gabrielle Solis  - winner of 13 of her 28 race starts for the Hurst stable - making a perfect start to his career, and also providing a neat sprint-laning book-end to the meeting. Terry Neil

EVERY now and then harness racing throws up a Cinderella story which makes people love the sport and even more than they already do and want to become more involved. It took all day for that to occur in today's NSW Breeders Challenge finals and there was no more popular winner than Elle Yeah, who gave Bigga (near Crookwell) trainer-driver Dennis Picker his first Group One success when he took out the four-year-old mares' final at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. While everyone expected odds-on favourite Cherry Stride to make a one-act affair of the $100,000 Group One, Picker certainly didn't see it that way and came with a well-timed run in the straight to run down Cherry Stride to score by a neck on a 1:52.2 mile rate. While Cherry Stride fought back strongly in the straight, Elle Yeah had done a lot less work and prevailed narrowly with unwanted outsider Rocknroll Emma running a plucky third. "I've had a few horses with these owners over the past five or six years but I have to admit I never expected anything like this to eventuate," grinned Picker. "Yes, this is my first Group One and it is something I'll remember for a long, long time to come." Owner-breeder Matt Nagle was just as overcome as Picker with the victory. "I'm just stunned," he said. "This is incredible, unexpected and much appreciated . . . this has been a wonderful experience and I hope there are more times like these to come."   Mandy Madern     8 4:39pm HES WATCHING NSW BREEDERS CHALLENGE FOUR-YEAR-OLD MARES FINAL (GROUP 1) 1609M $100,000 4YO Mares. PBD/M/PBD/C. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 ELLE YEAH      Fr1 1 Dennis Picker Dennis Picker   $ 12.50   PRBT SWAB   BROWN MARE 4 by ALWAYS A VIRGIN USA out of RUN AWAY ELLE (VILLAGE JASPER USA)  Owner(s): M T (Matthew) Nagle  Breeder(s): M T (Matthew) Nagle 2 CHERRY STRIDE      Fr4 4 KerryAnn Turner Robert Morris HD $ 1.70 fav  PRBT GS L SWAB 3 ROCKNROLL EMMA      Fr7 7 Michael Formosa Cameron Hart 7.40 $ 115.70   RAS SWAB 4 DONT THINK TWICE      Fr10 11 Jason Grimson Jason Grimson 8.10 $ 6.00   PRBT RAS 5 MAKE MINE HEAVEN      Fr6 6 James Rattray James Rattray 8.40 $ 43.20   RES 6 SHEZ SUGARSWEET      Fr9 9 Blake Fitzpatrick Blake Fitzpatrick 9.10 $ 64.70   PRBT RAS 7 MILLION DOLLAR GEM      Fr3 3 Brett Woodhouse Gavin Fitzpatrick 10.20 $ 22.50   PRBT 8 ROYAL STORY      Fr5 5 Bernie Hewitt Bernie Hewitt 26.30 $ 13.90   3WE WF 9 RUBIES FOR TASH      Fr8 8 Bruce Harpley Bruce Harpley 41.50 $ 32.40   PRBT GS 10 SHEZALLAPPLES      Fr2 2 David Thorn Jim Douglass 42.80 $ 6.40   VXAR QUER Scratchings   HIGH ROLLING 10 IM ALL COURAGE 12 Track Rating: GOOD   Gross Time: 1:52:2 Mile Rate: 1:52:2 First Quarter: 26.9 Second Quarter: 29.4 Third Quarter: 27.9 Fourth Quarter: 28 Margins: HD x 6.9m  

JAMES Rattray can only smile at the thought . . . could he be as good as Beautide. Rattray's superstar three-year-old pacer Ignatius had just blown away his rivals in the NSW Breeders Challenge three-year-old colts and geldings final. Taking his record to 14 wins from 15 starts, the James Rattray trained-and-driven youngster thrashed his rivals with a 1:51.3 mile to score a 12.4m win over Picard with Mackeral one and a quarter metres away third. The first challenge for Ignatius occurred when the starter said go. As predicted, Todd McCarthy and Picard had a dip for the lead and for a fleeting moment looked as if they might actually cross before Rattray got serious and Ignatius held him out before they reached the first corner. Realistically the race was as good as over there and then as Rattray was able to dictate terms to suit himself, after the 27.1 opening split he backed off the speed with a 29.8 sectional leaving plenty of petrol in the tank for the dash home. Ignatius turned for home in front before Rattray lowered the handlebars and Ignatius virtually left them standing as he zoomed home to win as he liked with a 54.4s last half. Picard did it tough and did well to hang on for second while the other eye-catching run of the race was The Bus (Chris Geary) who came from near last to run fourth although nothing could be taken away from the winner . . . who just might turn out to be as good as the Rattray family's champion predecessor Beautide, a winner of two Inter Dominions and a Miracle Mile. That might be a big pair of shoes to fill - but at least Ignatius is trying them on for size. Earlier in the afternoon sensational three-year-old filly Goodtime Heaven earned her stripes with a stunning win in her $100,000 Breeders Challenge three-year-old fillies final. Unbeaten this preparation, Goodtime Heaven did what many thought might be too great a task, she sat outside the plucky Molly Kelly (Chris Alford) for the entire journey and still had enough energy to grab her in the shadows of the post and score a one-and-a-half metre victory. Up and coming Victorian reinsman Glen Craven pointed out that he had been making something of an annual pilgrimage to Menangle to drive in the Breeders Challenge series. Yet this was the first time he would be able to go home with the lion's share of the prizemoney after snaring an elusive Group One for rookie trainer Courtney Slater. And Slater herself, delighted at annexing her first Group One, pointed out that she was starting to miss her husband after being away for three weeks with their stable star. "I can't wait to get back home now but I have to admit Goodtime Heaven is a magnificent filly and hopefully there are plenty of good times ahead for us with her."   Mandy Madern     5 2:47pm VINCENT NSW BREEDERS CHALLENGE THREE-YEAR-OLD COLTS & GELDINGS FINAL (GROUP 1) 1609M $150,000 3YO Colts and Geldings. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 IGNATIUS      Fr3 3 James Rattray James Rattray   $ 1.04 fav  PRBT GS L SWAB   BAY GELDING 3 by ROLL WITH JOE USA out of ASHKALINI (ART MAJOR USA)  Owner(s): L J (Lyrae) Graham  Breeder(s): Rattray Family Trust 2 PICARD      Fr8 10 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy 12.30 $ 11.60   PRBT GS SWAB 3 MACKERAL      Fr2 2 Bernie Hewitt Bernie Hewitt 13.60 $ 35.60   PRBT SWAB 4 THE BUS      Fr9 11 Mark Jones Chris Geary 14.40 $ 43.60   RAS 5 WAR DAN      Fr6 8 Amanda Turnbull Nathan Jack 15.00 $ 21.50   GS 6 EVERYBODYLOVEDRAY      Fr1 1 David Thorn Jim Douglass 17.40 $ 35.80   PRBT 7 BELLA BALL TERROR      Fr10 12 Dennis Picker Dennis Picker 17.60 $ 62.20   PRBT RAS 8 LEXUS WITH A VIEW      Fr7 9 Paul Fitzpatrick Sean Grayling 19.00 $ 199.60   PRBT RAS 9 BRACKEN SKY      Fr5 7 Blake Fitzpatrick Blake Fitzpatrick 22.20 $ 117.60     10 AINTNOBETTOR      Fr4 4 Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 31.70 $ 97.30     Scratchings   ROCKNLACHLAN 5 ASHARK 6  

Strap yourself in for a magical Len Smith Mile at Menangle next Sunday. Sure the Group 1 Len Smith Mile itself will take centre stage with the likes of My Field Marshal, Soho Tribeca, Majordan, Match In Heaven and others doing battle. But there will be so many delicious side dishes through the NSW Breeders Challenge finals. The biggest names in action include Australia’s most exciting three-year-old Ignatius and gun former Kiwi four-year-old Let it Ride. Ignatius, who upstaged Sicario to win the Breeders Challenge 2YO final last season, has been sparingly raced since, but extended his record to 13 wins and a third from just 14 starts. His Penrith win two starts had many seasoned experts saying he was the sport’s next big thing. And there is a lovely symmetry with former dual Inter Dominion winner Beautide, having started his in career for Rattray clan in Tasmania before moving to Jimmy Rattray’s Menangle stable. Rattray had an armchair drive on Ignatius in their Breeders Challenge semi last night (Saturday), working to the front, dictating terms then ripping home in 55.1 and 27.0sec to win under a hold by 6.2m in a 1min53.1sec mile. Importantly, the other semi was won in a quicker 1min52.6sec by Kevin Pizzuto’s Picard, but Ignatius sat parked outside him and crushed him in that heat of the series at Penrith. Everything points to Ignatius easily winning the final and then focus turning to whether Rattray heads to the Queensland Derby or waits to focus on the Breeders Crown. Let It Ride stamped himself as the one to beat in a strong four-year-old Breeders Challenge division with a narrow, but impressive semi-final win. Anthony Butt snagged him to last from a wide draw and had to sustain a long three-wide run to beat a gallant and underrated leader San Domino in a 1min51.4sec mile. Let It Ride was clocked to run a staggering 54.1sec last half, out three-wide for much of it. But this will be a strong final with the tough Atomic Red doing a power of work and still proving too strong for stablemate Joes Star Of Mia in a 1min51.6sec mile. The other key Breeders Challenge final will see Victorian raiders Hardhitter and Lochinvar Art head the betting in the two-year-old colts and geldings division.   Adam Hamilton

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