28 January 2011 - Former Inter Dominion winning driver Scott Stewart steered Bitobliss to a record-breaking victory in the 52nd running of the Group 3 Warehouse Sales Central Victorian Pacing Championships at Bendigo on Thursday night. Stewart a student of the late great reinsman Vin Knight tracked a wide course on his son of Blissfull Hall which is raced by his father Don. A 10 metre equal backmaker in the Championship, Bitobliss ($5.10) came out after frontrunner Arber (Chris Alford), the $2.50 favourite, on the final bend and wore him down to win by 1.3 metres. Sir Clive (Gavin Lang) was 3.5 metres away in third place. Don Stewart complimented his son for his hard work and said that he had personally achieved a long time goal. "Its a race I've want to win," Stewart said in his acceptance speech. Bitofbliss smashed the 2150 metre record, pacing a 1:57.5 mile rate, 1.5 seconds faster than the previous best over the distance. His overall time was 2:37.7. Bendigo's Lords Raceway is lightning fast at the moment with three records set in as many race meetings conducted by the Club. Scott Stewart is best known as the driver of 1989 Inter Dominion Champion Jodies Babe. In Perth he drove the bonny Vin Knight trained mare to victory while Knight piloted the runner-up Our Maestro into second place. Chris Lang and Chris Lang Jr combined to win the Group 3 Warehouse Sales Central Victorian Trotting Championships. The winner Good Thanks is on a winning streak with four wins from four starts this season and Lang Jr. drove the $1.80 favourite confidently.The mare spread-eagled her opposition to win by almost 13 metres. Mister Castleton ($12.00 - Ellen Tormey) finished second with $56.00 longshot Trappers Puzzle (Rod Petroff) giving a good early sight in front before holding on for third. The SJ Photo - Howdoudo 4yo mare was bred Will Shellie and owner/trainer was Peter Shellie. She is third generation of the Shellie's foundation mare Lucky Dinah. Chris Lang said he got Good Thanks from Shellie, when she was going good and she has continued to race well to achieve this target set for her. Lang also revealed that Good Thanks is likely to be in foal to Aldebaran Park's international sire Eilean Donan.- David Aldred
26 January 2011 - Radio Station Program Directors generally study the ratings with their target to attract the biggest listening audience possible but this week the harness racing form guide has taken precedence over the ratings charts for Bendigo Radio 3BO’s Program Director, Bryan Coghlan.
The local media man has just one target in mind, winning the time-honoured $30,000 Warehouse Sales Central Victorian Championship Final at Lords Raceway on Thursday night with his latest acquisition Chief Inanga. Coghlan loves his harness racing and six months ago along with Andrew Curran and John Hazeldene, he became a co-owner of the six-year-old Mach Three gelding which has thrived under the tutelage of Huntly trainer/driver Anthony Crossland. Coghlan said that the foursome’s plans to win the Championship are coming together but he said;” the team is still very nervous”. Chief Inanga will start from the pole position in the Group 3 race which for the first time is being held at the Bendigo track. Coghlan credited Curran with selecting Chief Inanga. The owner of Grand Circuit performer Mysta Magical Mach, Curran has an eye for big race performers. Mysta Magical Mach was the runner up in this year’s WA Pacing Cup and winner of the WA Pacing Cup three years ago.Chief Inanga showed good form early in its career in New Zealand and Curran made the selection, hoping the pacer could advance its career here. Chief Inanga won his first four starts before a series of unplaced performances in New Zealand during the 2008/09 season. After a 12 month absence from the racetrack, Chief Inanga was an instant winner for Crossland on debut in Australia in the Donald Cup at Charlton last month. On 7 January the classically bred type made it two wins from just four local starts, winning the Warehouse Sales Central Victorian Pacing Championship Heat (2100m) at Charlton. In that race he was untroubled to lead from start to finish and score by five metres. “Anthony has done a terrific job with this horse, the Charlton wins were a massive buzz for all of us,” Coghlan said. “But it would be absolutely huge for us to win a prestigious race in our home town of Bendigo.” Chief Inanga has raced 45 times, winning six races and almost $55,000 in stakes. The first prize for the Central Victorian Championship is $20,250. Two other local pacers also made the Final field. Maiden Gully trained It And A Bit is in the starting line up and his stable mate Dual Agent Tabman is the first emergency. Both horses are harnessed up by Paul Campbell. The pacers were both placed third in their respective Central Victorian Pacing Championship heats. Daryl Douglas will drive It And A Bit, a recent Bendigo winner from the back row. Four-year-old Village Jasper gelding Arber is likely to line up as the Pacing Championship favourite. Armstrong trainer Brooke Hansen returned Arber to the races for its first start since August to win its Heat at Maryborough last week. The victory was Arber’s fifth from just starts. Chris Alford will drive Arber which will start from gate four. - David Aldred
26 January 2011 - Glenn Comensoli-trained four-year-old Summanus posted a new track record time at Bendigo’s Lords Raceway on Australia Day shaving 2/10ths of a second off the previous best mile set by Ransom Olds at this month's Bendigo Pacing Cup meeting.Driven by David Moran the Jet Laag gelding clocked a 1:54.7 mile to win the Ultra Pour-On Pace on his home track. Junortoun-based Comensoli trains at Lords Raceway and he was excited by Summanus’ brilliant performance. “He (David Moran) didn’t even need to pull the plugs (ear plugs) he did it easy,” Comensoli said. It was Summanus’ first victory since November and easily his best winning time with his previous best mile paced in 1:57.8. Moran was trapped wide on the grey early and raced three wide with cover for the first lap. At the bell he moved forward to race outside the leader Three Card Brag (Nathan Cahir) who had been carting the field through a 58.5 first half mile. Moran kept a good hold on Summanus until the final quarter, covering the third split in 28.9, then surged forward to spear clear around the final bend and finishing in high cruise speed mode with the $1.60 favourite covering the final quarter in 27.1. Three Card Brag ($5.40) was 11 metres away in second place with Gyro Spirit ($7.60 -Daryl Douglas) beaten 16.7 metres in third place. It was Moran's first drive on Summanus but after the race Comensoli promised him more. “Wherever he goes if you’re available, you can have the drive,” Comensoli told Moran. Summanus is raced by Troy Comensoli and has now won 10 races from 37 starts.
26 January 2011
Chris Alford primed two glamour horses, super mare Broadways Best and Inter Dominion Trotting Championship aspirant Down Under Muscles, for their upcoming major assignments on Monday night at the Bendigo trials. The Shannon McLean trained Broadway's Best coasted to an easy 2150 metre (MS) trial victory against just two opponents while Down Under Muscles looked good coming from a 40 metre handicap to finish second, beaten a head by Bendigo's SA Trotting Cup placegetter Barney's Invasion in its 2150 metre (SS) trial. Alford gave Broadways Best an easy time to register a 1:58.6 mile rate, the Village Jasper mare pacing home her final quarter in 27.4. "She did it easy, she is quite fit and coasted under her own steam," Alford said. The mare, which has won almost $350,000 including the Group 1 Victoria Oaks and Group 1 Vic Bred Series, is likely to have one more trial before contesting the Angelique Club Cup at Tabcorp Park on 5 February. Broadway's Best hasn't raced since finishing third to Bendigo's Make Mine Cullen in the 4yo Breeders Crown Final last August. Down Under Muscles has a much more immediate assignment. Alford will start him at Ballarat on Saturday night in a heat of the Australasian Trotting Championship. "Down Under Muscles had a nice trial," Alford said. The trainer was pleased with the trotter's last mile time of 2:01.5. Barneys Invasion (Paul Morrissey) and Algranco Alive (Jason Tyack) matched motors with Down Under Muscles in a great three way finish. "He needed the hit out, so that (trial) was good," Alford said. Down Under Muscles, by Muscles Yankee, has won almost $180,000. The rising star hasn't raced since failing in the Group Australian Trotting Grand Prix won by Sundon's Gift in December. Alford said he hasn't totally made up his mind but he is more than likely to give Down Under Muscles just a few starts before shipping the horse to New Zealand to prepare for the Inter Dominion. "I haven't finalised the flights yet but the Inters is the goal, so he will not have too many starts here beforehand, hopefully he will make final of the Trotting Championship," Alford said. - David Aldred
23 January 2011 - Geoff Webster's Mister Swinger came with a barnstorming finish to snatch a last stride win in the Group 2 Shepparton Gold Cup (2690m) on Saturday night. Held up in a traffic jam midway through the last half mile, driver Greg Sugars dropped Mister Swinger back before peeling to the outside at the top of the straight. Frontrunner Karlsruhe (Chris Alford) was low flying to the final bend and kicked away with a commanding lead but by the 250 metres the David Aiken trained pacer was running on empty. Mister Swinger and Kerryn Manning's Standelle finished the best of the swoopers. The last half mile was covered in 55.2 and Mister Swinger ($17.40) reeled in Karlsruhe ($7.30) to win by a neck with just 1.3 metres to Standelle ($7.50). Bendigo mare Make Mine Cullen (Daryl Douglas) was the first of the 10 metre back markers home and finished fourth 6 metres from the winner. Just 7 metres covered the first seven horses. $4.20 hotshot Villagem (Lisa Miles) galloped away from the stand and then travelled wide before finishing in seventh place. The $2.80 favourite The Sleepy Tripp (Mark Purdon) didn't produce the same dash as he did in the Victoria Cup. The Kiwi pacer began badly and then travelled wide. The mile rate for the Cup was 2:00.8. It was the second win for Mister Swinger this season. Last week the gelding finished fifth in the Bendigo Pacing Cup won by Smoken Up. Webster will now take the son of Village Jasper to Ballarat for the Group 1 PETstock Ballarat Cup, a race Mister Swinger won two years ago.
In the Group 2 Trotters Cup Purdon's I Can Doosit ended Ronerail's winning trot. Ronerail (Kerryn Manning) led with I Can Doosit going to the chair for the final circuit. The pair matched strides into the straight with I Can Doosit ($3.00) wearing down Ronerail ($1.60 fav) close to the post. The locally trained Go Ahead Makemyday ($26.10 - Chris Lang) finished third. - David Aldred
20 January 2011 - Hamilton part-owner/trainer David Lewis and nephew reinsman Caleb Lewis were successful at the St Arnaud harness racing meeting held at Maryborough on Wednesday 19 January, with quality Bettors Delight/Frosty Mattina gelding Abettorpunt in the Town Of St Arnaud 3-Y-0 Pace over 2190 metres. A prohibitive $1.04 favourite, Abettorpunt which had been so disappointing when third to Glengowan in the recent South Australian Derby after leading, faced the breeze on this occasion from gate six, before asserting his authority on turning to score from the pacemaker Farmersntradies to give the Western District the quinella, with Scan The Calls a gap away third after a sweet one/one trip from the pole.
The mile rate was 2-00.9.
Stawell breeder/owner/trainer Owen Martin combined with son-in-law Michael Sullivan to snare the Central Goldfields Pace for C1 class over 2190 metres with Hellovanite, going one better than stablemate Farmersntradies. First up since September, Hellovanite was given the run of the race one/one from outside the front row, with the pacemaker Flyin Ferrari from Peter Manning's Great Western base. In what was the "drive of the day" Sullivan switched Hellovanite down to trail Flyin Ferrari into the final bend and used the sprint lane to perfection in accounting for a death-seating Kamwood Titan and Flyin Ferrai in a rate of 2-01.7.
Ararat part-owner/trainer Terry Preston would have been beside himself after his honest 4-Y-0 Jennas Beach Boy/Overton Miss gelding Igetaround landed the 4th Heat of the Warehouse Sales Central Victorian Pacing Championship for C2 or better class over 2190 metres in a rate of 2-03.7. Taking a concession for Glen Craven, Igetaround enjoyed a cosy passage three back along the markers after stepping safely from the inside of the second row.
Easing into the one/one spot on the back of the heavily supported backmarker Whiskey And Ice approaching the home turn, Igetaround when taken three wide on straightening, ran home strongly to gain the day over the undefeated Washies Chance which trailed the leader Kamwood Jack before using the sprint lane to no avail, with Kamwood Jack weakening third.
Sedgwick trainer Ross Graham's very smart Wind Cries Maori/Tachometer filly Djasker scored her first victory as a three year old after two juvenile successes, when victorious in the Northern Grampians 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2190 metres at the St Arnaud fixture.
Driven by Daryl Douglas as Ross was committed to first starter Cool Chance, Djasker was best to begin from the pole and bowled along at her leisure throughout the event. Holding a commanding lead at the top of the straight, Djasker coasted to the wire in advance of the hot favourite Waikare Aristocrat (last at the bell) and Living Bonus (three wide last lap) in a rate of 2-07.7.
Veteran Huntly trainer Bill White combined with son Ian to land the 4th Heat of the Central Victorian Trotting Championship for T0 or better class over 2690 metres with talented 6-Y-0 Keystone Salute/Maori Joy rig Billy The Brat in a rate of 2-04.2. Bred and raced by Ian and wife Sue, Billy The Brat first up since July starting from a daunting 40 metre backmark, settled at the tail of the field, with the well backed The Rolls Roy undefeated in two previous outings circling the field from the 20 metre mark to assume control after starting a warm favourite. Aided by several gallopers in the final circuit includingThe Rolls Roy and Im Chilled, Billy The Brat unleashed a brilliant burst of speed from mid-field on straightening, to record a runaway victory in advance of Mister Castleton which led before taking a trail on The Rolls Roy, with Going Command first up for Peter Manning third. - Len Baker
18 January 2011 - A crackerjack field will line up in Saturday night's Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup with Chariots of Fire champion Villagem and 2010 Victoria Cup runner-up The Sleepy Tripp set to go head to head again in the $50,000 Group 2 event. The race looks set to be one of the best in it's 53-year history. Drawn side by side for the second time in a month, following their outstanding runs when second and fifth respectively in the Group 1 SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup on December 18, Christchurch trained The Sleepy Tripp (Mark Purdon - 12) and Monegeetta's Villagem (Lisa Miles - 11) are two of five horses set to start off the 10 metre tapes. Defending champion, the Keith Gotchin trained Elmore pacer Tanabi Bromac (10) and Australia’s two best mares, Bendigo's Glenn Douglas trained Make Mine Cullen (Daryl Douglas - 9) and Craig Demmler's Parwan trained Christian Melody (Jodi Quinlan - 12) will also be at the back. Despite the obvious class of that quintet, they are by no means the only hopes in Shepparton’s 2690-metre stand start feature. Last week’s PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup placegetters Karlsruhe (3) and Standelle (2) are also well in the mix after drawing the front line along with Geoff Webster’s duo from Bannockburn; Mister Swinger (1) and Tear It All Away (6). In the last decade alone, the Shepparton Cup has crowned many modern day greats, including Tailamade Lombo, Sokyola, Divisive and Mr Feelgood, confirming its reputation as one of the most revered and sought after races on the Choice Hotels Country Cup circuit. And with exemption to the $425,000 Group 1 BIG6 Hunter Cup on February 5 afforded to this year’s champion, fans can be sure that the 2011 renewal of the flagship feature will be one of the most keenly contested of all time. Shepparton’s marquee meeting doesn’t start and finish with the Cup either, with many of Australia’s best trotters and two-year olds also set to flaunt their wares at Quest Racing Complex on Cup night. In the $30,000 Group 2 E B Cochran Trotters Cup all eyes will be on whether rejuvenated star Ronerail can continue his record breaking performances for Peter and Kerryn Manning ahead of the Australasian Trotting Championship, while finals of The Lombo will give fans a glimpse of some of the states future racing stars.
17 January 2011 -Harness Racing Victoria advises that the Alabar Echuca Pacing Cup has been rescheduled for Wednesday 9 February after the abandonment of last night’s meeting.
HRV and Echuca Harness Racing Club made the difficult decision to cancel the meeting after an evacuation warning was issued for the area by the State Emergency Service late on Sunday afternoon. HRV CEO Mr John Anderson said, “Previous advice from emergency services, including the SES, as late as Sunday morning indicated that the flood peak would arrive in the early afternoon and cause ‘negligible inundation’. “Despite access to and from the venue being available and the presentation of a track fit for racing, HRV and Echuca HRC took the decision not to proceed once the revised information was made available to us after 3:00pm.
“Whilst losing a meeting such as the Alabar Echuca Pacing Cup is unfortunate and some participants may have been inconvenienced by this decision, HRV asks that everyone spare a thought for all of our racing industry friends and colleagues who have lost property, horses and loved ones during the events of the last week.” The rescheduled Cup on 9 February will be run under the same format and conditions. The race did previously carry a ballot exemption into the Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup. Given the re-allocation of this date subsequent to that event, this will no longer apply. Any trainer with a horse or horses engaged at the cancelled meeting will receive a $100 payment to offset any costs associated attending the meeting prior to its cancellation. All drivers engaged at the cancelled meeting will also receive payment of their driving fees. Due to the flooding of the Charlton township, the St Arnaud @ Charlton meeting scheduled for Wednesday January 19 has been transferred to Maryborough. Flood issues relevant to the Maryborough Club have now passed.
17 January 2011 - Some of Victoria's most promising two, three and four year olds stepped out at the Ballarat harness racing meeting held at Bray Raceway today, showing what they are made of, with all touted as having a huge future.
Blissful Hall/Clasic Amy filly Classic Bliss made it two from two, with a strong victory in the Kevin Foley Memorial 2-Y-0 Pace over 1710 metres.Trained at Rockbank by Bill Galea and driven by Damian Wilson, Classic Bliss began with a wing on every foot from outside the front row to lead, kicking away approaching the home turn well in advance of the hot favourite Fulsome which had shadowed her for the final circuit. Starting to shorten stride as the winning post came into view, Classic Bliss was challenged by Fulsome who rallied after dropping to the back of the leader on straightening, appearing to have her measure, with Classic Bliss responding gamely to stall off the challenge and score by a head in a rate of 2-01.2, with Life Sentence a further 11.6 metres away in third place.Three year old geldings Manwarra Makamile and Suave Stuey Lombo were both ultra impressive in their races – Manwarra Makeamile the Keith Bray Memorial 3-Y-0 Pace (1st Heat) over 2200 metres and Suave Stuey Lombo the Frank Britt Memorial Pace for C0 class over the same journey. Manwarra Makeamile (Bookmaker/Manwarra Goldngem) trained at Smythes Creek (Ballarat) by Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin also made it two from two after racing in the open from the extreme draw, before coasting to the wire 7.4 metres in advance of the pacemaker Major Mac in a 2-01.8 rate, with Dee Devito (three back the markers) 7 metres away in third place. Suave Stuey Lombo (Bettors Delight/Magic Maddy Lombo) trained by Jayne Davies and Noel Alexander at Clyde south of the Yarra and raced by Mick Lombardo, had to do his share of work from gate five to park outside the leader Edward Strike, before surging to the front on straightening in accounting for Jadahson which trailed and Edward Strike in a rate of 2-05.5. Four year old Modern Art/Mary Mazzini gelding Ole Master Lombo has been going great guns for Sunbury trainer/driver Ahmed Taiba and coasted to a 6.7 metre victory in the Bob Freeman Memorial Pace for C1 class over 1710 metres, leading throughout from gate two in a 2-00.6 rate to score from Tres Hombre (four back the markers) and One Fellas Fancy which raced in the open from the bell. It was Ole Master Lombo’s 6th success in 10 outings. Another 4-Y-0 winner on the program was S J’s Photo/Be Positive gelding Posimistic for Melton’s Maree Caldow in the Clive James Memorial Vicbred Trotters Handicap for T0 & T1 class over 2200 metres. Having his first outing since August when unplaced in the Breeders Crown Final at Tabcorp Park Melton, Posimistic (John Caldow) led throughout from barrier two in defeating the honest Ships Choice which shadowed him in a 2-09.4 rate, with Paper Trail third after racing three wide from the bell. South East South Australian trainer Joey Buttigieg combined with Daryl Douglas to land the Eric White Memorial Pace (2nd Heat) for C1 class over 1710 metres with Kiwi bred 4-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Les Payzen Star entire CC Star. Despite racing wide, CC Star led for the final circuit in scoring easily over Our Universal Ruler which raced in the open from the bell and The Red Opal which trailed the winner after handing over the front running. The mile rate 1-57.8. - Len Baker
Photo: Ransom Olds after his record win
16 January 2011- Ransom Olds could not have been more impressive at his Australian race debut, he blasted a record 1:54.9 mile at Bendigo's Lords Raceway to score an ultra impressive victory. The beautifully bred three-year-old old now trained by Kilmore's Tony Peaccok signalled that he could be a force in Australia this season. It was only a C1 field but the Artsplace colt did it easy. Damien Wilson was at the controls and dictated the pace scorching a 27.6 first quarter of the mile. He had Ransom Olds, the $1.50 favourite on a loose rein coming to the final bend but the others were flat out behind him. In the straight Ransom Olds drew away and scored by 8.3 metres from Major Player (Greg Sugars) with Artillery Fire (Scott Dyer) beaten 11 metres in third place. Wilson said Ransom OIlds had improved a lot under Peacock care. "Since he has been here he has just kept on improving," the driver said. "We knew he was going well but this is the first time I have driven him away from the training track, he just keeps on getting better." Ransom Olds, a daughter of former smart NZ mare Adios Dream, won two races from 14 starts and $22,000 in New Zealand and added almost $5,000 to that tally at Bendigo. - David Aldred