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
Photo: Superstar Smoken Up
15 January 2011 - In humbling one of the finest $50,000 PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup fields of all time on Saturday night, iconic Victorian pacer Smoken Up took another giant step toward greatness.
Just seven days after producing arguably the most extraordinary run of his career to win the South Australian Cup for the second time, Lance Justice’s teak tough son of Tinted Cloud once again displayed his brutal combination of speed and strength, continuing what is fast becoming the defining season of his career.The richly sought after 2650-metre feature was his to lose just 100 metres out of the barrier. After gliding across stablemate Hollywood Bromac from gate two to find his favourite position in front, the champion eight-year-old and $1.30 favourite merely ambled through the first lap, recording a very comfortable lead time of 76.4. Almost waiting for his nemesis Melpark Major to work up outside the speed as an indication the race was actually on, the reigning Miracle Mile titleholder only began changing gears once he saw his old foe striding alongside him with a mile to run. But as Justice began to up the ante through a 59.8-second first half, the effort of circumnavigating the field after a difficult start was already beginning to show on Amy Tubbs’ former Victorian Horse of the Year, and there were no other challengers in sight. Clicked into overdrive spearing off the back straight the final time, Smoken Up took full advantage of the lightning quick Lords Raceway circuit – which had already seen Tony Peacock-trained former Kiwi Ransom Olds break it’s mile benchmark in 1:54.9 earlier in the night – to drop his rivals cold. Recording a breathtaking third quarter of 27.8, the pride of Melton only increased the tempo on entering the lane and despite the courageous effort of Karlsruhe, searing home off three wide cover to try and make the race a contest late, the 2011 Bendigo Cup was already over.Finishing in a 27-second final fraction to miss Safari’s three year old track record by just three-tenths of a second in 1:56 even, Justice’s cult pacer triumphed by 6.7 metres from Karlsruhe, with the luckless Standelle only seeing daylight late to run third a further 3.9 metres astern. Earlier in the night, rejuvenated squaregaiter Ronerail continued his resurgence under Great Western mentor Peter Manning to obliterate Bendigo’s 1609-metre track record by more than two seconds in the $20,000 Group 3 Aldebaran Park Maori Mile. Driven with supreme confidence by Peter’s other record breaker – daughter Kerryn – the talented eight-year-old trotter only escaped a pocket in running on entering the lane, but sprinted brilliantly late to win in 1:56.6 over Go Ahead Makemyday and Kyvalley Mac. Ronerail’s renaissance in the twilight of his career certainly adds another dimension to the upcoming SKY Racing Nights Of Glory, with the Group 1 Australasian Trotting Championship scheduled to run on the final night of the carnival; February 5.To be run at Tabcorp Park, Melton for the first time ever, the highlight of that program will be the $425,000 BIG6 Hunter Cup, where Smoken Up will aim to continue his streak of excellence and perhaps solidify his reputation as one of Australia’s greatest stayers.
10 January 2011
Miracle Mile champion Smoken Up, Australia’s fastest pacer heads the nominations for the $50,000 Group 2 PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup on Saturday. Last Saturday night the Lance Justice trained Grand Circuit champion cemented his place as one of South Australia's greatest Pacing Cup winners of all time, with his second victory in the Group 1 event at Globe Derby. Smoken Up added the 2011 edition to his 2008 victory on Justice's old home track. An equine millionaire and winner of the 2010 Miracle Mile in an Australasian record 1:50.3, Smoken Up is a harness racing legend. His Globe Derby performance was stunning. He started as a pronounced favourite despite a second-row draw and proved far too strong for Victorian Standelle and adopted local Ohoka Nevada in the 2645 metre event. Smoken Up has now claimed three Barastoc Grand Circuit features with two of those victories coming this season. Justice, a SA export to Victoria, was over the moon with the SA Cup win by the horse he calls ‘Trigger’. “This is just as good as winning the Miracle Mile, I love coming back home to Adelaide and Trigger was just unbelievable,” he said. As a result of the SA success, Smoken Up has now shot to the top of the Barastoc Grand Circuit leader board with 13 points. Smoken Up is now 3 points clear of Mr Feelgood and Monkey King who both have 10 points. Bendigo Harness Racing Club General Manager, David Aldred said the Cup nominations have come up to expectation. “The nominations are as good as anyone could expect for a major Country Cup, we have a list of Grand Circuit horses and the likes of Smoken Up, Melpark Major, Make Mine Cullen etc make the heart sing,” Aldred said. “We are looking for a quality final field to be announced tomorrow.” The Bendigo Harness Racing Club received 17 nominations for the Cup with Champion Strathfieldsaye trained mare Make Mine Cullen, the winner of the 4yo mares Breeders Crown Final last August and the Kilmore Cup earlier this season, New South Wales trained hotshot Holy Camp Boy, the brilliant Victorian Melpark Major, Standelle, Mister Swinger, Glenferrie Alexis, Cincinatti Kid and Decorated Jasper adding plenty of class to the line up. The other feature race on Saturday night, the Group 3 Aldebaran Park Maori Mile has also attracted a sensational list of trotters. Chris Lang’s 2010 4yo Breeders Crown Trotting Champion Let Me Thru, Saturday night’s SA Trotting Cup winner and runner-up Ronerail and Danny Cash, 2008 Inter Dominion Trotting Championship runner up Will Trapper, La Mosca, Armed Guard and defending inaugural champion Acacia Ridge are among the Maori Mile nominations. Champion three-year-olds Royal Verdict and Devilish Smile, both Victoria Derby aspirants have also nominated for the 3yo Pacers event
6 January 2011
Bendigo Harness Racing Club will create history this month, hosting the Finals of the time honoured $30,000 Warehouse Sales Central Victorian Pacing Championship and the $25,000 Trotting Championship for the first time at Lords Raceway. The second heats of the Championships, conducted by the Boort Harness Racing Club, will be raced at the Bendigo track on Monday afternoon with the starters attempting to qualify for the all important finals, under lights at Bendigo on 27 January. Recent Bendigo winner It And A Bit trained by Paul Campbell at Maiden Gully and driven by Strathfieldsaye ace reinsman Daryl Douglas will shoot for back to back victories in Monday’s Boort Pacing Championship heat over 2150 metres. The five-year-old son of Astreos will start from the outside of the front row after his bad manners at Bendigo on 29 December placed him out of the draw. In that race he travelled in the running line and was caught three wide at various stages before striding clear to win by almost seven metres, pacing a sub-2:00 mile. The Scott Stewart trained and reins Bitobliss in the form horse in the Pacing Championship heat with six wins from his last seven starts. This season he has gone unbeaten at two starts and has posted his last three wins in succession at Melton. Boitobliss last won over 1720 metres on 18 December. A son of Blissfull Hall, Bitobliss is a rising star in the restricted ranks with a total of seven lifetime wins from just 10 career starts. Stewart will steer Bitobliss from a 10 metre handicap in this race. Bitobliss is yet to race from a standing start with all of his victories in mobile start events. Left In Paris (Nathan Jack) is also building a picket fence of victories with three wins from her last three starts. The Life Sign four-year-old mare has won each month for the past three months, her most recent win at Echuca on New Year’s Day. Left In Paris is also a maiden from a standing start. The 30 metre backmakers in the 2650 metre heat of the Trotting Championship, Eisenhower (Peter Lane), Aldebaran Maori (Chris Lang) and Wont Be The Same (Nathan Jack) hold the key to the race. Aldebaran Maori has been in winning form winning two of his last four starts. Wont Be The Same resumed from a lengthy spell with a third placing behind Im Victor Trumper at Cobram on December 29. Kilmore-trained Einsenhower last won in October beating Jacob Oram and he has recent Cranbourne and Yarra Valley placings to his credit. - David Aldred
1 January 2011
With the Inter Dominion scratched off Melpark Major's to do list in the New Year, Bacchus Marsh trainer Alan Tubbs will concentrate on winning as many big 'local" majors as he can. First big assignment for 2011 is the $50,000 Group 2 PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup. Tubbs indicated at the Victoria Cup that Melpark Major's travelling days were over and he confirmed this week that the New Year plans are to remain close to home. "We will make the right decisions now and stay around home," Tubbs said. "We won't travel and the Inter Dominion in Christchurch and the SA Pacing Cup in Adelaide are off his list."
Instead Melpark Major will add plenty of class to the Victorian races at home base, Tabcorp Park Melton and the Country Cups. Melpark Major finished second to Mister Swinger (Geoff Webster) on New Years Eve in the last race for 2010 at Melton. He will contest another Free For All at Tabcorp Park this week before lining up in the PETstock Group 2 Bendigo Pacing Cup on 15 January at Lord's Raceway. - David Aldred
6 January 2011
Tatura trainer Patsy Abrahams was in the winners stall at a very mediocre Graduation fixture held at Lord’s Raceway Bendigo on Tuesday 4 January, when smart 4-Y-0 Continentalman/Why Worry gelding Im Chilled scored in the Aldebaran Park Trotters Handicap for TR0 & TR1 class over 2150 metres. First up since August, Im Chilled was away safely but slowly for Daryl Douglas from barrier two, settling four back in the moving line. Commencing a forward move three wide uncovered in the last lap, Im Chilled’s quality prevailed over the concluding stages, defeating the roughie Smile No More which followed him home in a rate of 2-05.8, with Clinton McSwain’s honest mare Cherry Sweet using the sprint lane from three back the markers for third. Both leaders Charlie Tee and Apollorita carved up on straightening.
Lockwood South duo Tony and Mary Dillon captured the Stallion Station 3-Y-0 Pace over 1650 metres with D M Dilinger/Calling All Angels gelding Johny Rondo in a rate of 1-58. With Chris Alford in the sulky, Johny Rondo from the pole settled three back the markers, moving to the back of the leader Endorsement with a circuit to travel when Tony Peacock moved away from the inside to pressure the front runner. Using the sprint lane, Johny Rondo hard driven nosed out Endorsement right on the wire, with Tallyho Bromac (four wide last lap) third. Shelbourne (Marong) trainer Larry Eastman and wife Lynette snared the quinella in the Petstock Pace for C1 & C2 class over 2150 metres with Kamwood Titan and Western Lover, but obviously not the way the stable wanted, as Kamwood Titan was a $11.30 chance, with Western Lover a heavily supported $2.20 favourite. Taking a concession for Charlton’s Ellen Tormey, Kamwood Titan spent most of the race one/one from gate four after Western Lover from the pole was crossed by the roughie Spaceman Bert, before moving to race in the open. Surging to the front on the home turn, Western Lover was grabbed by Kamwood Titan right on the wire who registered a nose decision in a finish which tricked many, with Wendy Anne using the sprint lane from four back the markers for third. The mile rate 1-59.6.
Chris Lang Jr. Kialla’s Darren Rowney combined with Chris Lang (Jnr) to land the SEW-Eurodrive 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2180 metres at Kilmore on Wednesday with Conch Deville/Flirty filly Teasing, leading throughout from gate four in defeating What About Perky which raced outside her and Adhesive in a rate of 2-07.
Glenn & Daryl Douglas added yet another winner to their large season tally, when Kiwi import Brigadier Scott (Live Or Die/Victoria Globe) outstayed the pacemaker Tayarna Mia to record a narrow victory in the Kilmore Trackside Function Centre Pace for C3 & C4 class over 1690 metres in 2-00.7. Jaz Equity (one/one) finished third.
Maiden Gully trainer David Van Ryn was also a winner at Kilmore, when former smart juvenile Amelia Darling greeted the judge in the Northern Fascia Trotters Handicap for T0 or better class (mares) over 2150 metres in 2-08. Driven by Kilmore based Damian Wilson, Amelia Darling a 4-Y-0 daughter of Kadabra and the open class performer Africa, led throughout from barrier six in accounting for Frosty Vale which trailed using the sprint lane to no avail, with Madiskita (one/two) running home nicely for third.