Sheer Modern is a seeking a big payday tonight at Melton.
Trained by Kyabram horseman Brent Thomson and owned by himself, his father Russ and brothers Scott, Steve and Rick, the Shadyshark Hanover filly is a finalist in the $50000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Home Grown Classic for three-year-old fillies.
Sheer Modern, resuming from a brief let-up and having her first start for Brent, rocked punters in her heat of the series at Bendigo last week, winning at odds of more than 50-1 with David Moran in the sulky.
Russ Thomson has handed over the training of Sheer Modern to Brent while he recovers from neck surgery. He hopes to get the all clear from a specialist to resume training in a couple of weeks.
Sheer Modern has drawn barrier eight inside the second row in tonight’s final, which naturally boasts a strong field given the prizemoney on offer.
A daughter of the Modern Art mare Modern Society, who was bred by Russ and Pauline Thomson and was a winner of five races, Sheer Modern was having just her fifth race start and her first outing since July.
She was a winner at her second start in June at Shepparton.
Also in tonight’s final is the Amanda Turnbull-trained Quinzel, who Lisa Bartley will drive from barrier five.
The one to beat in the race is the Emma Stewart-trained Shez All Rock, who won her heat in scorching 1:53.7 mile rate time with Avenel reinsman Mark Pitt in the sulky.
In the male version of the same series tonight, Amanda Turnbull will line up You Ninety Two, who will driven by Mark Pitt and has drawn barrier three, while recent addition to the Goulburn Valley training ranks Craig Turnbull will drive the pacer he trains My Joey Jones from barrier six.
Flying start to season
David Aiken has made a flying start to his defence of Shepparton Harness Racing Club’s Trainer of the Year award.
At the club’s first meeting for the new season last week, the Avenel trainer produced a winning double courtesy of pacers Waimac Attack and He Can Fly.
Both horses were driven by Josh Aiken, who was runner-up to Mark Pitt in Shepparton’s concession driver of the year for the season just finished.
Mach Three four-year-old Waimac Attack made it successive wins with his victory, following up a Geelong win on August 23.
Waimac Attack had five starts for one win on debut in New Zealand before joining the Aiken barn and his four starts in Australia have produced two wins, two seconds and a third. (He ran second to Carl Mattgregor at Echuca on Wednesday night).
He Can Fly looked a shade disappointing when a $1.20 favourite and third at his previous start at Shepparton in the final meeting of last season, but bounced back to win impressively last week.
He Can Fly has a 1:52.2 PB mile rate achieved at Menangle in January this year, so is obviously a pacer with plenty of ability.
While Josh Aiken drove two winners at Shepparton for his father, he has also enjoyed a good week as a trainer.
Josh trains and drives Dynamic Bromac, who notched his first metropolitan win at Melton last Friday night, and then followed that up with a win on Hotjane Bling, a horse he also trains and drives, in the trotters race at Cranbourne last Sunday night.
Dynamic Bromac lines up again tonight at Melton.
Shepparton pacer Sheza Sportsgirl took only seven days to redeem a second placing on the track when she saluted at last week’s meeting.
At the final meeting of last season, the daughter of Sportswriter, then a three-year-old, chased home the Glen Freeman-trained Rockin In Memphis.
But last week she went one better to notch her second career win for Shepparton trainer-driver Steve Boyington, claiming the honours in a C0 only class race for four-year-olds or older.
It is a family affair with Steve’s son Michael owning the horse.
On a hot streak
Shepparton trainer Laura Crossland’s red-hot start to the new season has continued in the past week.
After producing the first two winners of the new season at Kilmore on September 1, Crossland experienced another training double at Shepparton last week and also a winner at Melton last Friday night.
At Shepparton, she produced former New Zealander Scotlyn Jack for a first-up Australian win in a C1 only class race and then buttered up with in-form trotter Sky Majesty for another win.
Scotlyn Jack, a five-year-old Courage Under Fire gelding who had three wins in 17 starts across the ditch, was driven to a soft victory by David Moran after sitting parked for the entire 1690m trip, while Crossland did the driving honours on Sky Majesty.
Sky Majesty proved too classy for her rivals in posting her third win in her past four starts.
In the other outing the Skyvalley mare ran second behind Aldebaran Ay M in the four-year-old mares Breeders Crown feature.
Crossland’s good run continued at Melton on Friday night when Hashtag turned in a career best run.
The four-year-old son of Shadyshark Hanover came from last at the bell, got a three-wide tow in the race and cleared away from his rivals in the home straight to hoist her seventh win in 23 starts.
Hashtag’s 1:57.3 mile rate for the 2240m trip was also a PB and his win completed successive victories for the pacer after saluting at Kilmore on September 1.
Nice McCool change
Miles McCool mare Lucy McCool ended a run of 23 outs when she prevailed for Wahring horseman Kevin Weidnbach Jr at Shepparton last week.
Contesting a C1 only four-year-old and older 2190m event to complete the nine-race card, Miles McCool led throughout to beat the Doc Wilson-trained and driven Eliska and the Shane Gilligan-trained and driven Radical Art.
Lucy McCool’s previous win was at Echuca in September 2015 when she was being prepared by Barmah horseman Mal Whitford.
Lucy McCool was having only her third start for Weidenbach and was a $9.70 chance on the tote.
Although well beaten, but in fast time at her previous start at Kilmore, Lucy McCool showed she was working towards her second career win.
The finish of the C2 only race at Echuca on Wednesday night was a sure winner for Echuca Harness Racing Club stalwarts Norm and Joan Visca.
Joan bred and owns the winner Master Mach Manus and the runner-up Winkn Nod in partnership with Norm.
Master Mach Manus, driven by concession reinsman Darcy McGuigan, led throughout to beat Winkn Nod comfortably to notch his 11th career win and complete a training double for Greg Albert.
Albert had scored earlier in the program with Gems, who he drove to victory in a R0-R1 class race at tote odds of nearly 15-1.
It was a good night at Echuca for district trainers and drivers.
Congupna trainer Mark Lee and Stacey Towers combined to win with trotting mare Nica Macdonon, Steve and Ryan Duffy landed the money in a C0 only race with Connerman and Avenel reinswoman Kima Frenning continued her rise to prominence, scoring on the David Aiken-trained outsider Trouble Looming.
Shepparton reinsman Daved Moran also had a win on Jumpingjackhanover.
Hot to trot in Tas
Tasmania harness racing is to embrace the trotter.
From next season trotting races are to be introduced into Apple Isle racing from July 1.
Tasracing chief executive Vaughn Lynch said trotting races would be regularly scheduled from next year.
‘‘Trotting is the most popular gait internationally, especially throughout France and in Scandinavian countries where they race trotters exclusively,’’ he said.
‘‘It is an important step forward for the local industry.
‘‘We are confident that this will give Tasmanian harness racing the opportunity to be exported around the world.’’
The announcement that trotting is set to return to Tasmania coincided with Yabby Dam Racing, a leading Victorian-based trotting establishment, becoming the naming rights sponsor of next year’s Australian Drivers Championship in Hobart on October 28.
Principal Pat Driscoll said sponsoring the drivers championship in Hobart was the perfect way for Yabby Dam Racing to engage with the Tasmanian industry.
‘‘I am obviously very supportive of the reintroduction of trotting in Tasmania from next year,’’ he said.
‘‘We are very much looking forward to working with local owners and trainers to build the trotting population in the state.’’
Triple treat in SA
To say a Victorian trotter called Zamba Deville had a big weekend last weekend would be an understatement.
The five-year-old son of Conch Deville, trained by Toolern Vale horseman Paul Gabriel, scored three race wins in the space of three days in a raid on South Australian meetings.
Two of these wins were within two hours of each other.
Zamba Deville won at Globe Derby on Saturday night and then won twice on the same track on Monday.
The Monday successes were achieved in two rounds where the same horses faced the starter.
Zamba Deville, driven by local horseman Wayne Hill, had easy wins in both rounds.
Racing horses twice on the same program was popular in bygone times, but rarely happens these days.
Australasia’s biggest trotting race the Great Southern Star started off with heats and a final on the same program, but reverted back to just one race last season.
Zamba Deville went to South Australia with just the one lifetime win — achieved at his previous start at Shepparton — but has returned home with four palings on a picket fence.
Tonight: Melton (n).
Tomorrow: Bendigo (n).
Sunday: Swan Hill (d).
Monday: Kilmore (d).
Tuesday: Ararat (n).
Wednesday: Ballarat (n).
Thursday: Shepparton (n).