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TALENTED junior driver Jackie Barker enjoyed one of her biggest nights at the office when she landed a winning harness racing treble at the Ararat Pacing Cup night on Friday. Barker, who hails from Hamilton, snared the first country cup of her career in the Group Three Ararat Pacing Cup with an all-the-way victory on the Emma Stewart trained Deedenuto (Safari - Harbhahay (Justanotherpoorboy). The win was the third leg of a winning treble for the emerging youngster, after she took out the opening two races on the Ararat card - the first with Montpellier (Orlando Vic - The Kahmotion (Dream Vacation) for Anton Golino; and race two with What's Stanley Got (Heston Blue Chip - Whats Nero Got (Art Major) for the Tindale stable, from Berringa south west of Ballarat. Three wins wasn't the end of the memorable night for Barker though - she went within a whisker of taking the Ararat Trotters Cup as well, for her grandfather Jim Barker, finishing runner up on Glorious Finale to the Chris Svanosio trained and driven Kyvalley Finn (Skyvalley - Kyvalley Paris (Majestic Son). She also finished a close second later in the night for her grandfather on Presidential Grin, behind Rebecca East's Crowded Reactor (Auckland Reactor - Threes A Crowd (Armbro Operative). It was the third driving treble in Barker's career - following on from Mount Gambier and Hamilton trebles last year. "It was my first cup so that was an awesome experience - and a treble on the night made it extra special," Barker said. "The other seconds were both very close as well, so it's a bit hard not to think about what might have been...but you've just got to enjoy those nights when they come along, because you can come back down to earth pretty quickly in this game!" she said. ________________________________________________________________________________________ GUN Tasmanian harness racing trainer-driver Rohan Hillier recently reached a well-deserved milestone. Hillier, based at Beauty Point, posted his 700th career win at Hobart. The popular horseman showed his usual polish to get the money with A Spanish Dance (Rocknroll Dance-Guernica (Major Art) in the Hobart Signwriters Pace. The 3yo filly is trained by Marc Butler. Earlier on the program, Hillier took out the $12,000 Metropolitan Cup with his brilliant pacer Ryley Major (Art Major-Shes Ryleymak (Totally Western). It was the seven year old's 11th win from 12 starts this season. Ryley Major now has 27 wins for $225k. Another "Tassie" reinsman in Troy McDonald was delighted to get his 100th winner in the gig recently. Promising junior Queenslander Angus Garrard landed his 50th winner at Albion Park last Tuesday. Garrard is a graduate of the junior harness racing ranks in his home state. Another Sunshine State driver in Justin Elkins also recently racked up his 50th career win. Pictured: Rohan Hillier (Photograph Stacey Lear) ________________________________________________________________________________________ YOU just have to love the passion of well-known industry participant Gordon Banks. Part-owner of the brilliant Majordan (Art Major-Benelise (Vintner), Banks hit the social media scene with gusto after his pacer won the $100K G1 Newcastle Mile on Friday in track record time of 1.50-7. "Majordan now becomes the first qualifier for the $1M Miracle Mile at Menangle in two weeks. The Newcastle Mile was his second G1 victory in less than a year, having won the $100K Len Smith mile at Menangle in July," Banks posted. "Well deserved congratulations to trainer Kevin Pizzuto and his team who have turned the horse into a star, and to driver Todd McCarthy who has driven the horse wonderfully and developed into a world class driver. "What a fun and great win." Pizzuto has now won 15 races with Majordan, who made his race debut at Maryborough for noted horse breaker Mark Hayes. They finished third. Jayne Davies then took over and scored a win at Warragul. Majordan later joined the Amanda Turnbull stables and recorded nine wins-including four at Melton and two at Menangle. Next stop was Pizzuto and the pacer has now won 30 for $490K. Pictured: Majordan taking out the Newcastle Mile to become the first qualifier for the Miracle Mile ________________________________________________________________________________________ THE happy-go-lucky travelling man from the west has done it again...and again! Phil Duggan, who lives near Perth, decided a while ago to go on a "roadie" with two pacers. The WA handicapping system on stakemoney was proving a bit of a hurdle at home for his old warrior Im Batman (Yankee Sensation-Articulation (Albert Albert), and Duggan decided the pacer would fare better under the National Ratings system used in eastern States. A third at South Australia's Mt Gambier was followed by a win 2000kms away at Queensland's Redcliffe. And last Wednesday the pacer repeated the dose at the track in a slick 1.58-7. And he again won by a casual nine metres at Redcliffe last night. Duggan, who has also tried his hand at the thoroughbreds with success, has a temporary base at Deception Bay. He uses the nearby beach as his training pad most days--and most successfully! An appearance at Albion Park maybe sooner than later. Pictured: Phil Duggan   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

He's one of Victoria's most experienced and successful harness racing competitors, but Lance Justice admits that he will be relying on a fair amount of luck at Ararat tonight. Justice will be chasing back-to-back wins in the $35,000 Renown Silverware G3 Ararat Pacing Cup with remarkable comeback pacer Love Ina Chevy. "We are facing a difficult task from our barrier draw (outside the back row), but the horse is racing in great form at the moment," Justice said. "But he does have a bit going for him-he's just so consistent and tries his heart out every time we turn up at the races," he said. Love Ina Chevy (Jeremes Jet-Chevyover (Holmes Hanover), raced by long-time staunch industry supporter Colin Croft, has 23 wins and 24 placings from 122 starts for over $250,000. The gelding was unplaced in the Cobram Cup early last month but then bounced back into the winner's circle at Melton on February 1 in a $20,000 race. And he hasn't been far away in his past couple either with a fourth in the Echuca Cup and then third at Melton last Saturday. "In an ideal world, these country cups could be done on random barrier draws or even reverted back to standing starts-we've got a NR of 101 which makes it very hard," Justice said. "I haven't really been aiming at the country cups, just getting in what we can. However, I may look at the Mildura Cup carnival. I enjoy it up there and this will more than likely be the horse's last season," he said. The Love Ina Chevy feelgood story is just phenomenal - overcoming the odds and, remarkably with a happy ending. In January 2016, the then four-year-old was found collapsed in his grassy paddock. "We are almost certain it was the result of a snakebite. We battled for days to stabilize him. He was trussed up in the air and after the major operation, there was blow-up mattresses under him for support. He needed constant massaging as well," Justice said. "After probably six weeks he still wasn't able to get up on his own - we used to have to help him. So this went on until day 42 and I remember telling him that it was time he started doing it by himself," he said. Love Ina Chevy did. His return to the racetrack in October was a victory in itself - but it's just continued to get better and better. "He's running quicker times than he could ever do before," Justice said. "There are still some issues resulting from the bite, such as he now gets colds and bugs very easily, but he has a strong constitution to get him over these hurdles." Justice said the Ararat Cup had attracted a fantastic field including General Dodge, Sicario, Our Millionaire and Deedenuto. Club president Tony Bond agreed by saying the field was one of the best for many years. "We are very happy because all of the runners are in sparkling form," Bond said. "Apart from the action out on the track, there will be entertainment and giveaways during the night. We've booked a highly talented musician, the punters club will be in operation as well as a heap of other highlights," he said. "The meeting is always a popular one on the calendars of most harness racing fans, so we're expecting a huge crowd."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The harness racing industry continues to put its shoulder to the wheel to support champion reinsman Gavin Lang in his fight with a rare form of Lymphoma. Lang has been a star of the sport for 45 years, driving more than 6300 winners before he fell ill late last year, and is currently undergoing treatment at Melbourne’s Epworth Hospital. The generosity of friends, fans, colleagues and strangers has seen a GoFundMe campaign rocket past the $100,000 mark, to support the cost of an intensive three-month treatment using drugs available only in America. Lang’s wife Meagan and his daughters Danielle and Courtney are overwhelmed but are asking for privacy. Close friend John Caldow said Lang himself would be humbled by the support the family is receiving. “He’s just admired by everyone and the outpouring towards them for Gavin’s health battle is totally expected—you would have to go a long way to find a better guy,” Caldow said. “I grew up watching him in action. He was great mates with my older brother Peter, and they used to have some terrific battles out on the racetrack,” he said. Caldow believes Lang’s friendship with Peter, who died in a car accident in northern Victoria in 1982, had a lot to do with their own strong friendship. “We’ve always got on well but Gavin was outstanding in his support toward not only me, but my family,” he said. “He’s a tough competitor and it’s still sometimes surreal that I followed him so closely when I was a youngster, and probably for the last 30 years I’ve been driving against him.” In the past, John and Gavin have spent many hours together travelling across the State to trots meetings, and although the long road trips are a thing of the past, the friendship has stayed strong. “Away from the track he is great company. We only live 10 minutes away from their place at Bacchus Marsh, so there’s been a fair bit of socializing, going out for dinner and going to AFL football matches. “Gavin is an ardent Carlton fan and I’ve worked pretty hard to get him over to Collingwood, but that’s never going to happen!” A fundraising mega raffle and silent auction for Lang has been building in momentum over the past week, according to event organizer Steve Cleave. “Tickets are selling at $10 each and there are raffle prizes worth over $13,000—they will be drawn at a special sportsman’s night on March 17 in the Legends Room at Tabcorp Park,” Cleave said. “There will be a two-course buffet costing $25 each, or a table of 10 for $200. One hundred percent of ticket sales and raffle proceeds will be going to the Lang appeal,” he said. “A feature is sure to be a number of special guests who are going to re-live some classic stories about Lang and about the trots — it will be great fun as we raise some money and spirit of the champ.” For those wanting a table, bookings are being taken on telephone 8746 0600, while donations are still being accepted at www.gofundme.com/f/group-1-gav   Terry Gange  NewsAlert PR Mildura

When West Australian harness racing trainer Phil Duggan twigged that his horse might be better off racing interstate-he didn't think twice. His tough campaigner Im Batman was finding life hard with West Australian racing handicapped on win dollars, and Duggan wasn't going to be deterred by minor details like a 5000-kilometre road trip! "I needed a good barrier draw and a fair bit of luck to be competitive at home. It was just too hard. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the handicapper," he said. "The horse was going okay, but I found he was always on the second tier." And while he was reluctant to admit it, Duggan is undoubtedly using the new handicap system to his advantage for what's been an enjoyable holiday so far. Im Batman (Yankee Sensation-Articulation (Albert Albert) has five wins in the last two seasons from 78 starts-with the bottom line being an extremely low National Rating. Well-travelled team Phil Duggan and Im Batman After finishing "out the back" at consecutive Friday night metro meetings at Gloucester Park on January 10 and 17, Duggan loaded up his ute and horse float, and headed across the Nullarbor for South Australia, where the races are graded on points under the NR system. First racing stop for the seven year old pacer and his trainer-driver - after just over 3000 kms - was Mt Gambier in the south east of SA. Im Batman, a winner of 13 races and 27 placings for more than $110,000 in stakes, drew the pole position in a $7000 Pace on February 1 for horses with a NR up to 51. The form of the gelding and his low ratings didn't go unnoticed by punters who sent him out $1.40 favorite. "He broke in the score-up, caused a false start and got put out of the draw. He was a bit unruly, but that was all my fault," Duggan said. "With the big trip from home to Mt Gambier, I'd been too easy on him. He was so far above himself it wasn't funny," he said. "We finished third, only six or seven metres off the winner, and in addition, I got a holiday from the stewards." Duggan then hit the highway again, headed for Victoria, stopping over at Rochester. "My sister lives in Melbourne, but spends two days each week working in Rochester-it was great to see her, although we do catch-up regularly," he said. "I did enter for a race at Inverell, in northern NSW, on our way to Queensland, but the meeting got washed out." After navigating the second leg of his massive road trip - this time 2000 km from Mt Gambier to Deception Bay in Queensland - Duggan produced Im Batman at Redcliffe last Thursday afternoon to take out the $5200 event for horses with a NR 30 to 49. "He's right down in the ratings and it looked ideal. He won well, but pulled extremely hard in the early stages. I'll stick around racing here at Redcliffe for a while, before I have a crack at Albion Park," he said. Leading Sunshine State freelance driver Adam Richardson, who landed his 400th career victory at Redcliffe late last year, got the call-up and produced another gem of a drive to score a first-up win for the WA visitor. Watch the race here: The pair will again line-up tonight on the Peninsula "triangle" track, where meetings have been held since 1956. In pre-post markets, Im Batman is $1.40 to win the Burwood Stud Pace. "I've never raced outside of WA previously-and the only time I've been to Qld was 10 or 12 years ago when I purchased a six-horse float," Duggan said. "I was in harness racing for five or six years in the early 1970s. Then I had a go at the gallopers as a trainer and jockey but in the end, I had to give it away because I got too heavy," he said. Duggan was quite an accomplished horseman with the thoroughbreds, riding a good few winners and in one season claiming the Broome, Mount Barker and Carnarvon Cups. His interest has been back with harness racing since 1999, although he believes part of his success stems from riding standardbreds under saddle. "I usually ride one and lead another wherever possible. I'll be going to the beach as often as I can while I'm up here-they just love it," he said. Duggan said Im Batman had a traveling companion in three-year-old Camicancan, who is "all legs at the moment". "He's over 17 hands high and I plan to give him a few trials. He should be better as a four-year-old when he matures, but if he shows improvement, I may give him a start," he said. Duggan, whose home base is at the Perth outer suburb of Oakford, said he was unsure how long his working holiday would last. "It could be three weeks...or three months. As soon as Im Batman tells me he's had enough, we're off back home," he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

If grit and bravery play a part in Connor "Rocket" Clarke making a successful career in harness racing, then the teenager is an absolute shoo-in. The 16-year-old from Ballarat has a strong competitive streak on the sporting field, whether at football, basketball, swimming or pony trots - but his biggest test wasn't all that long ago when he beat an unforgiving opponent in cancer. "They were tough times. But everything is good now and I'm in the clear," Conner said. And predictably enough, the quietly-spoken Connor isn't wasting any time in jumping back into harness racing. In what has been a busy 11 days, he made an emotional debut as a reinsman in an event at Horsham and stepped into a new job with the State's leading stable. Driving brown gelding Monsieur Delacour, trained by his father Stephen, the youngster took a trail early in the 3yo Pace, before battling gamely into fourth place (beaten 10m) in a time of 1.58-2. "I was really looking forward to it. The nerves were okay and I didn't get into any strife. My Pa Jim (Clarke) took me," he said. "Dad wasn't able to get off work and watch me, but afterwards he gave me a pat on the back. I've also started working full-time for Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart this week, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it." Connor again took the reins for his father at Terang last Saturday and landed two place-getters. It is incredible to think that in mid-2017, Connor started undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a condition rare in children, in Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital. "I'd suffered pain in a knee from fluid for quite a while. The doctors diagnosed it as Osgood-Schlatter disease, which has to do with fast-growing active teens. But now they're unsure if that's what it was," he said. "I had many visits to doctors and hospital, along with medical tests. When the pain went to my hip and back, mum (Belinda) just wanted to get to the bottom of it." Scans taken from Connor at Ballarat Base Hospital showed lesions and spots on his spine and hip. Doctors believed they were likely to be cancer. Connor said he was sent straight to the Royal Children's Hospital where there was "heaps more cancer found in other parts". He said because his cancer was stage four, he had chemotherapy on and off over a period of about six months. "I was lucky to have both mum and dad down there for the first month because I was only 14. Then later on I always had someone with me. If it wasn't my brothers or sister, grandparents or another relative, there would be friends from back home, footballers or someone from trotting calling in," Connor said. Connor said while he missed the last half of his Year 8 studies because of the chemotherapy treatment, he was fortunate there was a classroom at the hospital. "It was only little, but I would go as much as I could. There were a few teachers there and I did science, English and maths. I ended up finishing Year 10 last year at Phoenix College in Ballarat," he said. The Clarke family is known for its kindness and willingness to help others, including providing foster care for a number of years, and the harness racing community rallied to offer support in a time of need. Connor said money raised had helped to pay for fuel for the three hour return trips, as well as medical and accommodation expenses and other ongoing costs. "It was so nice at the time, but it's not really a surprise because it's such a close industry," he said. "Drivers like Chris Alford, Greg Sugars, Gavin Lang, Amanda Turnbull, Grant Dixon, Rob Morris, Todd McCarthy, James Rattray and others all donated their driver's fees toward fund raising, while the Bling It On owners gave a service fee for auction." Ballarat Harness Racing Club also lent a hand with a fundraising race meeting, while staff at McCain Foods, where dad Stephen is employed, raised money for a fortnightly cleaner. Passengers on the "Redwood Rattler", taking fans to the famous Maryborough all-trotting race day, dug deep to donate $500. There was also a GoFundMe which raised over $24,000 and a donation from HRV. Connor's comeback comes as the harness racing community again rallies for one of its own, with a GoFundMe fundraiser to support champion reinsman Gavin Lang, who is also battling with a rare form of Lymphoma. Connor said although he was "a late starter" in the pony trots as an eight or nine-year-old, harness racing was his big ambition. "I had a nice pony in Pride of Petite, but now that I'm out of pony trots, my 12-year-old sister Reagan has taken over there," he said. "I have two brothers in Brodie, 23, and Leyton, 13, but they have no interest in the horses. "But for me, harness racing was always what I wanted. I enjoyed football, but the horses were nearly always on my mind, so I'm just loving it at the moment."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Exuberant south west Victorian reinsman Jason Lee combined with his mother Marg to snatch the duo’s most coveted trophy at the weekend – a victory in their hometown harness racing pacing cup. Five-year-old stallion Code Bailey gave Jason his first Terang Pacing Cup and he confirmed it was one of his sweetest victories. Marg won it in 2013 with Keayang Cullen, driven by Glen Craven. “It has been at the top of my bucket list for a while,” Jason said. “Even though it may not be the biggest race on the calendar, it’s no secret that I wanted the Terang Cup, then an Inter Dominion and after that any other G1 event,” he said. The brilliant young reinsman blasted Code Bailey (Christian Cullen-Taffeta Bromac (Badlands Hanover) to the head of affairs soon after the mobile barrier despatched the field in the $50,000 feature. Jason was determined to make it a solidly run race, setting a cracking pace and making it awfully hard for those back in the field to make any ground. The mile rate of 1.56-8 over the marathon distance of 2680 metres was super, but the last mile of 1.52-7 was quite sensational. Code Bailey cruised to the line with an 18-metre advantage over recent SA Cup victor Pat Stanley (Kerryn Manning) with a further two metres back to A G’s White Socks (Greg Sugars). “We were travelling pretty good a fair way out. I was really happy coming up the home straight—perhaps it more relief than anything,” Jason said. “There was that expectation that we had our big chance to win our hometown cup. You just don’t always get the opportunity to do that,” he said. “I can tell you that I was very nervous. I’ve probably never been that nervous in the past. But we are just over the moon that we’ve now ticked it off.” Jason said his nan had always told him he would win the Terang Cup one day. “So now she’s right. Even back when I was younger doing the pony trots, I always loved the Terang Cup meeting,” he said. “But sometimes you find these races are harder to win than a feature that you’ve been aiming for. Ever since I got my metro licence, I’ve pretty much taken part in it every year.” Harness racing identity Paul Campbell presenting the Terang Pacing Cup trophy to trainer Marg Lee The Lees are based at Ecklin South (15 minutes from Terang), and Jason said he loved living in such a harness racing stronghold. “The town always puts on a big show, particularly cup night. We are a close-knit harness racing region down here. We’re like a big family,” he said. “Win, lose or draw we’ll always go and shake their hand. “But it’s probably best said that Harness Racing is really like a big family too. You just have to see what’s going on with Gavin (champion driver Gavin Lang who is currently in hospital battling a rare form of blood cancer). “The industry has really got behind him with financial support for the best treatment.” Code Bailey, who was sent out as the $1.80 favorite, gave a carbon copy performance when he won the Garrards Horse and Hound Bendigo Cup on January 3 with a bold front running display. Jammed in between the two Cup victories was a solid fifth in the Ballarat Cup (beaten 7m) and a close-up fourth (4m) in the prestigious Hunter Cup. Jason said that provided Code Bailey pulled up okay, a campaign in Sydney for the coming big races was on the cards. Code Bailey is part-owned by two popular AFL players in Darcy Gardiner of the Brisbane Lions and his former teammate Louie Taylor, who this season lines up with the Sydney Swans. It was a big night for Marg who in addition with taking home the gold cup, also trained two other winners on the program in Keayang Liberty and Keayang Livana. Trainer-driver Chris Svanosio, fresh from an overseas holiday, took the honors in the Terang G3 Trotters Cup. Chris got the money with Magicool (Tennotrump-Free Rider), while close friend Glen Craven was runner-up with stablemate Kyvalley Finn (Skyvalley-Kyvalley Paris).   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

New South Wales central west based harness racing caller Michael Dumsney was right on the money at Wagga Wagga earlier this week. As the leading bunch in the Riverina Security Solutions Ladyship Pace hit the line, Dumsney declared "this is close - these three have hit the line completely locked together." From the naked eye it appeared a triple dead heat could have been on the cards in what was the closest finish seen at the track in the past 12 months. Dumsney further added: "This is an absolute rib tickler." After some deliberation, the judges were unable to separate long shots Majoress Jujon ($51) who flashed home down the outside, and Shes Courageous ($26) aided by a sprint lane passage. Those pair were just millimetres (the official margin being a nose) In front of third placegetter Seattle Trace ($26). And just a further neck away was $4 chance Florist in fourth spot. One of the favored runners in Dancing Chick (Neil Day) looked set to take the lead halfway down the straight and get the job done. But she galloped and put herself out of contention. Gerard Cooper, trainer-driver of Majoress Jujon, said he didn't think he was going to be in it until Dancing Chick blew her chances. "We wouldn't have won if that didn't happen - it's the first dead-heat I've been in and I actually thought I'd gone down," Cooper said later. Shes Courageous, who raced behind the leader before darting up the sprint lane, continued a successful run for Junee based connections winning her seventh race for owner Sarah White and her uncle, well-known trainer Trevor White. Driver Miranda McLaughlin has formed a great combination with Shes Courageous, with three recent wins and four placings from seven starts. Dumsney, who recently took over from longtime Riverina race calling legend Allan Hull, was kept on his toes with just a half neck separating the first two horses in both races two and five. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

Former New Zealander Geoffrey Clout first got interested in harness racing as a teenager and over 20 years on, he's making up for lost time. Clout is based at Tyabb on Victoria's picturesque Mornington Peninsular and recorded his first victory as a trainer early last month with four-year-old mare My Superannuation. The pair then repeated the dose at Cranbourne last Sunday. To watch a video replay click here. "Her latest win was a big surprise. I still can't believe it, but perhaps she's turned the corner. She went way better than I thought she would," Clout said. Clout grew up near the Hutt Park Raceway in Wellington on the south-western tip of the North Island of New Zealand. "We were just a few hundred metres from Hutt Park, and my brother Phil and I went walking down to the raceway one day with our mother," he said. "We got to know a few of the guys there, including trainer Robert Woolley, and we ended up regularly giving them a hand before and after school. "It was a lot of fun and looking back on it, I'm pretty sure it kept us out of trouble. "I got a trainer's licence as an 18-year-old when I was over there. You had to go to what was called a cadet school at Cambridge and complete stablehand training blocks over two years," he said. "That was over 20 years ago, but the timing to train horses myself was never quite right. I never lost my interest, but I had to be patient!" Clout, who runs his own solid plastering and rendering business, said for a long time he didn't have land to pursue his harness racing interest. "But virtually as soon as we bought our 10-acre block, I started looking for a broodmare to get involved. And it obviously happened quickly because we've been in our house for five years and the first horse we bred is now a four-year-old!" he said. "I got my NZ licence transferred across at the start of this season and thought I'd give it a go with taking over her training. Simone Walker had her as a two and three-year-old and did all the early work." Clout kicked off his training career with an impressive second placing at Yarra Valley in early December. It was nearly four weeks before the pair reappeared to post the first of two Cranbourne victories. Clout said My Superannuation had tied up badly after her first run and he then had to modify her feeding and training routine. "We've only got a small 350 metre jog track on our property, so I float into Cranbourne, which is half an hour away, probably two or three times a week just to work the horse," he said. "I've got to know trainers like Dylan Stratford, Rick Cashman and some others who have been fantastic, so I've had heaps of valuable help along the way." My Superannuation (Mr Feelgood-Honeyrose (Partywiththebigdog) is handled by much-travelled junior concession driver Kyal Costello. Clout recently produced another horse to the races in three-year-old Tyabb Wonder (Mr Feelgood-Ezy Lady (Nuke Of Earl). The brown filly wasn't on her best behavior and finished unplaced after galloping in the run. "I sort of rushed her into the races. It was like the last throw at the stumps because both of the horses have been turned out now-my wife Rosie is expecting our second child," he said. "She is actually due this Saturday so there's more exciting times ahead," he said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Veteran reinsman Peter Dornauf is still counting his blessings after escaping serious injury in a spectacular harness racing incident. In an action-packed Launceston Discretionary Stakes on Sunday night, Dornauf got his horse away like a bullet from a 10 metre handicap, only to be confronted with another runner rearing high in the air and in his pathway. "It's strange when you are in a dangerous situation, just what goes on in your head. I remember thinking that this could be the end for me. I was very, very lucky. I really was," Dornauf said. "I could see what was unfolding. But I couldn't dodge too much and try and avoid it. I was worried my horse was going to cop the brunt of it-then I would have been in big trouble with my wife Karen!" he said, tongue-in-cheek. The drama unfolded after take two of the $12,000 standing start feature event, conducted at the picturesque Mowbray Racing Centre by the Launceston Club. When the tapes were released, Jaccka Len in barrier two, dwelt briefly before rearing up high in a full stretch despite the efforts of reinsman Ricky Duggan. Starting from the inside of the 10m handicap, Dornauf had Sea Double Ugrant out of the blocks like a shot out of a gun. Jaccka Len then twisted toward the inside and come down just when Sea Double Ugrant was darting through the inside. "For a split second I thought the horse was going to come crashing down on mine," Dornauf said. "But he got me instead. I didn't get hit as bad as it appeared on the race reply. It could have been way worse as he could have come down a lot harder," he said. "I got knocked out of the sulky pretty smartly and landed in under the running rail. I initially thought I'd broken my arm, but my biggest worry was my horse. "He gets really cranky when he's stirred up. Thankfully the sulky stayed upright when he took off. The clerk of the course Richard Housego did a great job and was able to grab him before any harm was done." Watch the race replay here (make sure you watch the head-on vision!): Check out on-course photographer @Stacey Lear's brilliant series of shots here: Dornauf said he ended up with a sore wrist and some back pain. The sensational series of photographs captured by Stacey Lear "There's a few other aches. I've been lucky because I've been driving for nearly 50 years and haven't had too many falls. But now Karen and my 12-year-old grandson Dylan reckon I'm too old and want to sack me!" he said. "I actually only took the drive because Mark Yole was unavailable because he had a horse of his own in the race. Our horse won a few starts back and we have the Easter Cup at Launceston in mind for him-but I won't be driving him!" The Dornauf family are well-known through the deeds of former super mare of the late 1980s and early '90s -Jane Ellen (Torado Hanover-Ima Goldie (Golden Alley). She was a winner of 29 races from 42 starts for an impressive $375,000 bankroll. Jane Ellen, bred by Karen, won at her fourth start in a 2yo event at Launceston when trained and driven by Peter. She won again later at Carrick before entering the all-powerful stable of the time, Bob and Vin Knight, who strung together nine consecutive victories with the pacer. Jane Ellen went onto win many group one and other top races in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart. These included the Victorian Oaks Preview and $60k final, Ladyship Cup final of $30k at Moonee Valley, 4yo and 5yo Championship at Harold Park, 1990 Mildura Pacing Cup heat and $30k final, and the George Johnson Stakes of $30k in Hobart.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Any win is welcome for young harness racing drivers, but Goulburn Valley reinswoman Abbey Turnbull took out a race recently that she says will always have a special place in her heart. The talented concession driver, based at Tatura, near Shepparton, won the second division of the Tiffany Murray Memorial at Echuca on Friday night with six-year-old gelding Mangochililime (McArdle-The Land Lover (Badlands Hanover). "I was just pleased to be invited to be part of the Tiffany Murray Memorial races. It was such an honor, but to be successful, it will definitely be a win I will cherish forever," Turnbull said. "Tiffany was loved by everyone because of who she was and her beautiful ways and she's someone I aspire to be like," she said. Aged just 22 when she was diagnosed with multiple brain tumors, Tiffany Murray was a popular figure in the industry. She had twice beaten cancer as a child and had lost her own mother just a few years earlier, also to cancer. With her fiance Leigh Sutton and their baby daughter Milla by her side every step of the way, Tiffany fought a short but brave battle before her death in 2011. The Tiffany Murray Memorial was established in her honor the following year, and this year was the first since its inception that the race was conducted in two divisions. Local trainer Susan Hunter was successful in the first division with enigmatic pacer Monash (Somebeachsomewhere-Nightn Georgia (Safely Kept), who was well rated by in-form Heathcote junior Shannon O'Sullivan. Part owner of Monash Shane Gourley with victorious driver Shannon O’Sullivan accepting the rug for winning the first division of the Tiffany Murray Memorial (Photo Echuca Harness Racing) The female drivers' race has always carried significance for those invited to compete, and Turnbull said she is now hoping to again be part of the special night next season. "It was just lovely because members of Tiffany's family were all there. They went onto the track to present the rugs. It was awesome," she said. "And it was just the perfect race to get my first Team Teal win." Abbey Turnbull crosses the finish line to win the second division of the Tiffany Murray Memorial with Mangochililime (Photo Echuca Harness Racing) In addition, Turnbull was the toast of her parents Craig and Rebecca, who recently took over the training of Mangochililime. "That was only his second start for us and dad trains him, so yes it was a good result. The horse has some ability, so they will have fun," she said. Turnbull, whose grandfather is the legendary AD (Tony) Turnbull, of Bathurst, works for her father as well as doing university studies. "I spend one or two days at Bundoora in Melbourne where I'm studying osteopathy. I've still got a few years to go, but I'm enjoying it," Turnbull said. "Luckily I can do a bit on-line at home because dad's stable numbers seem to be increasing," she laughed.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Ace Victorian harness racing driver Kima Frenning has swept all before her in a short time on the track...now she's again trying her hand in her own right at the training side. "I really love training them. But whether I eventually build up a bit of team, we'll have to wait and see," Frenning said. "I actually have a runner at Ballarat this Tuesday night. I can't believe how nervous I am. I haven't been talking much about it because I don't want to be a jinx," she said. Frenning has warm pre-post favorite Kardesler (American Ideal-Kusadasi (Presidential Ball) competing in the opening event, the second heat of the Barkley Motor Lodge Pace. The six-year-old bay horse showed his qualities with an easy trial win at Kilmore early last week in a small field-the mile rate of 2.02-6 being easily the quickest of the seven trials conducted. "He did go nicely. Luke Stokie, of Stokie Racing Group, picked him out and his form in New Zealand was pretty good," Frenning said. "I've got the horse at Shepparton, which is only 25 minutes from my home." Frenning, who has held a trainer's licence for about 16 months, prepared the brilliant Buster Brady for the Stokie Group, winning eight of 19 starts, when attached to the strong Aiken barn. He was the first horse she trained in her own right. "I really did get spoilt with Buster Brady. He's a lovely horse and we won a number of cups before taking out the country club championship, which was decided on a points system," she said. The Frenning/Buster Brady combination claimed the $50,000 G2 Geelong Pacing Cup, followed by the $35,000 apiece Cobram, Echuca and Maryborough G3 gold cups; and then the $60,000 Horsham G2 cup. This was all in a four-month whirlwind period from late November, 2018, to March, 2019. The new season then saw a victory in the $24,000 VHRC Classic at Melton. Buster Brady (Real Desire-Kacie Marie (Clever Innocence) has 16 wins and seven placings for stakes of over $350,000. Frenning, a former Swedish Monte rider, arrived here about five years ago, hoping to get an opportunity in similar events being held in Victoria at the time. After transitioning from rider to driver beginning in the 2014/15 season, she has now driven 285 winners, with last season being a standout, topping the ton for the first time with 121 in total. So far this season Frenning, fresh from a Globe Derby double and a Cranbourne victory at the weekend, has moved to 73.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Young Queensland harness racing trainer Marrissa Jones hasn't wasted much time in landing her first winner after only being licensed for a short time. "It still hasn't sunk in yet. And I can't believe I haven't even celebrated because I've been too tired," Jones said. Six-year-old journeyman pacer Callmedemaro (Stonebridge Regal-Cherwood (Riverboat King) scored an all-the-way win at Brisbane's Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon. The gelding, who started his career in Victoria, before border-hopping to South Australia, and then up to Queensland last October, is raced by 22 year old Jones and her partner Lucas Anticevic. The successful reinsman was Nathan Dawson. "He'd got close a few times with a couple of second placings and a third. We were so proud of him when he won because he got challenged a bit, but stayed strong," an elated Jones said. "He's actually improved out of sight. We are going to have a lot of fun with him because he's so easy to do anything with," she said. "I work for (well-known trainer-driver) Graham Dwyer who has been terrific in teaching me all about the sport. And I've had John Cremin as well as Nathan doing my driving, so I'm learning a lot along the way." Jones, from Park Ridge South, half an hour from Brisbane, first got involved with horses about seven or eight years ago. She said her family were not "real horsey people", but she and her sister Brittany always loved them. "Our parents lived at Greenbank and had a few spelling there. Somehow, I became interested in trying to re-train them. Brittany would help me, and we'd get on their backs, they'd throw us off and we'd get back on again!" she said "That was the way we learnt to ride. It was hard going at times, but we stuck at it and fortunately I don't think either of us got any real injuries." Jones later got a stablehand job for 12 months with recognized square-gaiter trainer Peter Carson, of Nowra and enjoyed every minute of it. "I remember I talked Peter into letting me ride a couple of his horses on long trail rides rather than constant trackwork in the sulky. It was just to try and mix up the normal routine. Anyway, the horses thrived and when we took the first one to the races, he won," she said. "When I shifted back to Queensland, I worked at other jobs to save some money. But the last few years I've pumped a lot into re-training standardbreds. There's a big need for a facility to cater for horses at the end of their racing careers. "I've probably broken more than 20 horses into saddle. I keep in touch with all the people who have taken them. I always seem to have one or two that I'm re-training. "Most of them quickly learn that you want them to canter. It's more about getting them balanced and calming them. Now a lot of standardbred trainers canter or gallop their horses during trackwork anyway." Jones said she spent about eight weeks re-training her most recent candidate. "I'm actually far more confident riding than driving them-it still feels so unnatural with the driving part, but I'm getting better," she said. "My partner Lucas didn't want anything to do with horses when we got together about two years ago. Now he loves them-he's all over it. He keeps asking me when are we going to get another one! "But I think part of our success is because we are still learning, it's best to just focus on one horse. Maybe later we could look at owning more and trying to get our own place." Jones said the couple were finding horses to be very time-consuming. "Lucas says we don't now go camping as much as we did-but we'll learn to juggle things around." In the meantime, the couple is having fun cheering on their stable star Callmedemaro.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Prominent West Australian reinsman Shannon Suvaljko doesn't take too long to name the Northam harness racing track as his favorite-and little wonder! And he was back there at the weekend...this time taking home the $30,000 Grafton Electrics Northam Pacing Cup. Also grabbing the spotlight was his talented 19-year-old daughter Emily, who scored a pillar-to-post victory in the other big feature on the program. "It was certainly an awesome day-I think I've just got the wood on Emily at the moment for the season, but probably only by one or two wins," Shannon said. Emily, who was the leading junior driver in the State last year with 60 wins, landed Sokys Bigbullet (Modern Art-Sokyeni (Sokys Atom) for trainer Tony Svilicich in the $20,000 Village Kid Sprint. Winning team: Shannon Suvaljko and daughter Emily (Photo Hamilton Content Creators) It was one of the biggest wins of the youngster's career, adding to the recent Albany Cup when she scored with Culpeka (Mach Three-Tuapeka Maddy (Christian Cullen), trained by Barry Howlett. Emily has driven over 100 winners since joining her dad in the driving ranks about 18 months ago. The Northam Pacing Cup triumph was the third over the years for Shannon, who won it in 1991 and then again four years ago. This time he was successful on Son Of A Tiger (American Ideal-Tiger Cher (Christian Cullen) who was one of the joint back markers on the 20-metre handicap in the 2560m Cup. After racing midfield for most of the way, Shannon moved out three-wide and three-back at the bell. He made a four-wide run on the corner and they rattled home to win. Shannon Suvaljko took out his third Northam Pacing Cup with Son Of A Tiger (Photo Hamilton Content Creators) "The horse did a great job and full credit goes to Matthew Scott who is an excellent trainer. Matt is actually a bit unusual in that he is dual-code, preparing a team of gallopers as well," Shannon said. "A couple of weeks back he got a double with a pacing winner at Narrogin and then a thoroughbred win at Albany just two hours later," he said. In addition to helping out astute trainer Peter Tilbrook with his team, Shannon is one of WA's most travelled freelancers. He names the Northam circuit, at 820 metres and no sprint lane, as his favorite. "Northam's an easy one-hour drive from where I live in Byford and I'm pretty much always there. But I do just love winning in the country and I try to get to Collie, Bridgetown and the others as much as possible." Son Of A Tiger is raced by enthusiastic owner Tim Blee, who has a long association with Shannon. "Tim had horses with Phil Coulson years ago. He went out of them for a bit and I bumped into him when he was looking to get back in the sport," Shannon said. "I sort of recognized him but couldn't put a name to his face. In the end Tim had to remind me that he was my science teacher at secondary school! "So, I suggested he give Matthew a try. Tim now owns probably seven or eight, so he certainly deserved to win the Pacing Cup. "Son Of A Tiger has won seven since coming out from New Zealand. The cup was his first go for us in a standing start, but he handled it okay." Shannon has landed 21 winners at Northam in the past 12 months. Emily is in the top four with 12 wins.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The exciting form of a genuine up-and-comer in Victorian harness racing circles might be coming as a pleasant revelation to his owner, but it's hasn't overly surprised his trainer. Four-year-old square gaiter Sammy Showdown (Bacardi Lindy-Alabama Showdown (Yankee Paco) made it six in a row with another tradesman-like performance to win the $24,000 G3 DNR Logistics Vulcan Trotters Free For All at the big Melton meeting on Saturday night. "We really thought last season he had the ability to mix it with the best-he was on the verge of being more than competitive in the Sires and Derby and then he went and badly injured a leg," trainer-driver Kylie Sugars, of Myrniong, said. "It was just heart-breaking. But we've put all that behind us and he's picked up from where he left off. He's alright now, but I keep a check on the leg," she said. Sugars said an injury to a hind tendon was responsible for Sammy Showdown missing nearly six months of racing. "Before he did it he'd won comfortably at Ballarat in a tick over two minutes-that was his second win for me after he'd previously scored at Maryborough," she said. Sammy Showdown was bred by enthusiastic Bacchus Marsh owner-breeder Graeme Rayner, who has had a successful association in the sport over many years. Rayner has been busy selling real estate since the 1970s, but rarely misses a chance to watch his horses go around. "You never want an injury of any sort but they do happen and in the end it might have been a blessing in disguise for this fellow," Rayner said. "I honestly don't know how far he can go, and he just keeps surprising me. But Kylie did say all along that she felt he was some something special," he said. Rayner admits his first love is breeding, and usually has between six and 10 foals a year on the ground. Among his successes have been My Miss Independent (former 2yo and 3yo Australian Trotter of the Year), Mister Malakye (Queensland Trotter of the Year) and The Paigeboy (Trotter of the Year in South Australia). Sugars is the older sister of champion reinsman Greg, and said Sammy Showdown was "the best by far" that she had raced over the years. "I had a handy pacer in Lord Monaloo about four or five years ago who won seven for me, including a couple in town at Melton. One was a Group Three so that was pretty good," she said. "I've always had one or two in work and usually race at country tracks. I really enjoy the training side of it. There's a lot of care involved and I probably spoil them too much! "I don't drive a lot, although sometimes Greg will stick me on one of his. But it's really with the training where I get a thrill." Sugars said Sammy Showdown was a lovely horse, an absolute pleasure to have around the stables. "He's a no nuisance fella and I love it that he just tries so hard in his races-exactly the type that you wished you could have another three like. "In the past he probably lacked gate speed and always plugged away. I don't know if it's maturity or the time off he had, but he can now accelerate off the gate and is very strong over the latter stages. "He dashed home over the last quarter in 27.5secs at the weekend. That was a surprise because even I didn't think he had it in him!" Sugars said she would most likely aim Sammy Showdown at the $50,000 Knight Pistol G1 feature event at Melton on Friday week, February 14.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

MOTHER Nature threw up a shocker of a day on Australia's east last Friday with not only high temperatures, but blustery hot winds which whipped up dust storms and made things far from comfortable. Shepparton got on the front foot early and quickly transferred their planned Friday early-start fixture to last night, while on the NSW country scene, Albury "pulled the pin" on their scheduled night meeting. This robbed the 'Voice of the Riverina' Allan Hull of having his official swansong as a race commentator at TAB meetings. Hull, after 50 years' service behind the microphone, had nominated the Albury meeting as his last-although he has hinted that he'll be available to fill-in at his favorite non-TAB gallops tracks for a while. Fortunately, his outstanding service was recognized at a dinner the previous night. Hull received a framed certificate for his long-term calling duties, while Albury photo finish operator Mike Gardiner was also acknowledged for his valued 26 years' service. The grapevine tells us that Hull and his wife Gayle are now planning a few trips with their caravan to some of Australia's tourist hot spots. Brisbane is sure to be high on the list with the couple's children and grandchildren residing there. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ ANOTHER to join the ever-growing list of Chariots of Fire hopefuls is recent impressive Penrith winner Make Way (Mach Three-Grace Way (Dream Away), prepared by Sonya Smith at Menangle. Driven by her partner Anthony Butt, the bay horse was wide in early proceedings before pressing on to find the top. After getting some easy early sections, Make Way hit the accelerator with 28.8 and 27.8 final splits to win untouched. An elated Butt said afterwards the pacer felt enormous in clocking 1.56-3 for the 1720m trip. The classic event for four-year-olds, the $200,000 Chariots of Fire will be run at Menangle on February 22. But the Smith-Butt team has an ambitious campaign planned prior to that for the speedster-looking at the $50,000 Honda Grattan Mile on February 8 and then the $50,000 Paleface Adios seven days later. "While our horse is flying, the Chariots won't be easy with top-liners like Self Assured and Lochinvar Art being set for it. But we've got to have a go. It would be exciting to just get a start in the feature event," Butt said. Make Way winning at Penrith on January 30 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ IT'S been a successful stint recently for the Murphy clan of Dunnstown, situated a stone's throw from Ballarat. Eighteen-year-old Brent landed his maiden winner in 12/1 shot Madeeba (Courage Under Fire-Mesmerizing) at Maryborough last Thursday week and then followed up at his home track a week later with 7/1 Horratio (Roll With Joe-La Belle Aurore) for Kylie Sugars. Not to be outdone, father David showed that he still knows a thing or two about driving, with a treble at Bendigo. He won the opening two events with progeny of Village Jolt-one a trotter, the other a pacer. Heather Morrissey prepared six-year-old square gaiter Get Smart Max, whose dam was Retlaw, while Murphy was also the trainer of his next winner in filly Final Peace, out of the mare Peaces Of You. He finished the night with a treble as a driver and a double as trainer, producing another stable winner in Juliustigres (Julius Caesar-Sexy Way). A nice night at the office, "Murph". David Murphy ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ ACE Queensland reinsman Pete McMullen continues to add to his already impressive tally of winners. McMullen recently reached a magnificent milestone when he landed his 1900th career victory. He achieved the feat courtesy of an excellent win on Corey William (Mr Feelgood-Lets Rocknroll (Rocknroll Hanover) at Brisbane's Albion Park. Corey William is trained by long-time horseman Peter Grieg, a popular figure in the north. And while on the subject of milestones...Trent Dawson celebrated his 100th training win when Divas Delight (Bettors Delight-Draw Card (What's Next) was successful at Albion Park. And Tayla Gillespie recently notched up her 50th training success. Meanwhile talented young driver Jonah Hutchinson has teamed up with the strong Shane and Lauren Tritton stable at Menangle. "Hutchy" will be there until the couple leave for the USA in May. The 20-year-old has hinted he hopes to stay on in NSW, believing his career could further blossom in the harborside city. Pete McMullen ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ THE harness racing industry continues to dig deep for champion horseman Gavin Lang, who is facing his biggest-ever challenge. Lang, 61, has an extremely rare form of Lymphoma, and his medical team has now recommended an intensive three-month course of a new drug, available only in the USA. The Victorian Caduceus Club recently established a GoFundMe campaign with a target of $100,000. In just a short time, the site has received donations totalling more than $75,000 from 222 people. Lang, a legend of the Club, has been one of our finest drivers for many years with 6300 wins to his name. Please make a donation to the campaign here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/group-1-gav or search for Gavin Lang at GoFundMe Champion horseman Gavin Lang     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Hard working South Australian harness racing trainer Aaron Bain saw a long-range plan pay off in the best way possible at the Mount Gambier Pacing Gold Cup on Saturday night. Four-year-old brown mare Alcatraz Lass (Pet Rock-Double Justice (Albert Albert) led from start to finish for in-form reinsman Mark Billinger, scoring at 10/1 in the $12,000 feature event. "I won consecutive races with her at Mildura, Port Pirie and Globe Derby Park last November and December and then decided to put her in cotton wool for the Mount Gambier Cup," Bain said. "She tries her heart out when in front, so to get a good barrier draw, I couldn't risk racing her and earning more points which would have put her out in a wider barrier," he said. "The Cup was for horses with NR of 56 to 65 so in the end we had to draw one or two. We ended up with the one, Mark pinged her to the front and everything fell into place from there." The Gawler-based trainer said Alcatraz Lass was a completely different horse when forced to come from behind. "She doesn't go a yard-so we just have to try and find the top whenever possible," he said. "We had to keep her in peak condition and ready to race because there was a six-week gap between her last win and the cup. But I have to be honest and say we had a bit of a scare on the previous Sunday at the trials when we ran the gate and she galloped into the bend. "A few urgent changes were made and thankfully she didn't miss a beat at Mount Gambier." The Gold Cup success was a first for trainer Bain and reinsman Billinger. Bain ran third in the race last season with Ideal World, the winner being Iam Erik. For Billinger, his closest was fifth in the 2013 edition with Aveross Mac (although he's since won six races on the horse, and they will again team up at Globe Derby this afternoon). The freelance reinsman was thrilled with the win. To watch the video replay of Alcatraz Lass click here. "Aaron had the horse spot-on and she was full of running so I did have a few celebration beers and a bit of a sleep in before driving home the next day," he said. Aaron Bain The cup win was the second leg of a winning double for Bain and Billinger at the Mount Gambier meeting, after taking out the $7000 Baxter Hire Pace earlier in the night with sit-sprint pacer Miss Soapbox (Santanna Blue Chip-Blah Blah Blah (Christian Cullen). Miss Soapbox was driven perfectly by Billinger who sat patiently at the rear of the field. "The only way she goes any good is by sitting up and waiting as long as you can," Bain said. "She absolutely sprouts wings when she's driven like that and Mark did a great job - he was last and about five wide on the home corner, but she worked home 100mph," he said. "She looked disappointing at her previous start in Adelaide, but we had some excuses because she tied up a bit and was also wide from the 1200m mark, and that's just not her cup of tea." To watch the video replay of Miss Soapbox winning click here. Bain had his sights set on a unique Cup double with consistent pacer Ideal World tackling the Devonport Cup last night. After reinsman Wayne Hill got his charge away with fine touch in the standing start race, Ideal World seemed to be cruising out in front. However, with one-and-a-half laps to go, the American Ideal-sired gelding experienced gear failure and went into a gallop before being retired from the race. Ideal World took out the $12,000 North Eastern Pacing Cup at Scottsdale two starts prior. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E hello@newsalertpr.com.au   W www.newsalertpr.com.au      

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