Day At The Track

Wheels On Fire went wire-to-wire against harness racing Preferred regulars in Woodbine Mohawk Park's top condition race Saturday night Feb. 20.   The six-year-old has been a mainstay in high-level overnights, winning three Preferred harness racing events at Mohawk last summer. His Feb. 20 score in the N/W $22,000L5 class was his first since Oct. 10, 2020.   Bob McClure, Canada's 2020 Driver of the Year, sent Wheels on Fire to the engine with ease. The pair hit the quarter in 27.3, and McClure gave the son of Somebeachsomewhere a breather going to the half in 56.3. Odds-on first choice So Much More left the single file formation first, coming off the rail near five-eighths. That mare forced the hand of Jody Jamieson and East End, who left the pocket to assume first-up duties. The field finished the third panel in 1:25, and Wheels on Fire seemed to put away both So Much More and East End at the head of the stretch. So Much More, however, had more, and she launched a late rally. Wheels on Fire had just enough though, and he survived to win by a neck at 7-1.   So Much More's charge amounted to a second-place check, and East End was game to finish third. The winner paid $16.80.     Wheels on Fire approaches $400,000 in lifetime earnings with this 23rd win from 67 total. The older pacing gelding competed in stakes events at two and three, and he's transformed into a reliable condition performer with age. He's owned by Brad Grant and trained by Richard Moreau, Canada's 2020 Trainer of the Year. The latter won three of the ten on the Feb. 20 card.   Mohawk's next race date will be Feb. 22.   For full race results, click here.   by Nicholas Barnsdale, for Harnesslink

LEBANON, OH - After three legs, all at different harness racing distances, The First Step (Chris Page) won the $25,000 championship of the Bill Dailey Memorial Medley at Miami Valley on Saturday (Feb. 20). Making a move to the top just after the first quarter was reached in :28.4 proved to be the right decision as the winner was able to control the remaining fractions of :57.1, 1:26.2, 1:54.3 before tacking on a final :28.1 panel to triumph in 2:22.4. The clocking was three seconds off the world record (2:19.4) established by Boulder Creek on November 27, 2006 at Dover Downs, but was admirable considering it is mid-February and the temperature was 28 degrees. Shagnwiththedragon (Dan Noble) finished second and Snowball's Romeo third in the added-distance event.   The First Step, shipped in by the Burke Brigade to Miami Valley from Yonkers for the Dailey Series, was fourth in the initial 5/8ths mile dash, then followed up with a win in 1:51.3 at the traditional mile. The five-year-old Betterthancheddar gelding now has 13 wins and $161,719 in earnings. The medley annually honors the memory of Bill Dailey, one of the top trainer-drivers in Ohio harness history, who died way to soon at age 57 in 2018. Dailey produced six Ohio Triple Crown winners, was named Ohio Trainer of the Year on four occasions, and remarkably was able to win at least one Ohio Sires Stakes champion in seven of the eight divisions for two and three year olds. The weekly $22,000 Open Handicap pace was won by General Dolan in come-from-behind fashion with Brandon ("Big Ticket") Bates in tow. The 1:52.2 score resulted in a $34.80 mutuel. Favorites GD Western Joe (Page), Fan Of Terror (Brett Miller) and Voracity (Noble) were battling for the lead before General Dolan flew bye on the outside, but were next to cross the line. While General Dolan did take a 1:49.3 record at Miami Valley in 2020, he had been struggling to regain his form in high condition races until recently. It was the 19th career win in 101 starts and increased his earnings to $277,425. The six-year-old by Rockin Image is owned by John and Robert Esposito. Three races after scoring the upset in the Open, driver Bates was back in the winner's circle with Beach Pro, a $15,000 claimer the paid $25.80 for the winning 1:53.2 mile. Miami Valley will race the next four afternoons (Sunday through Wednesday) will 2:05 p.m. post times each day. For full results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway

Ego's aside . . . McCarthy's just too good for them Luke McCarthy simply thrives when the big races roll around. And the champion reinsman was at his best tonight to land the Group 1 $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Tabcorp Park Menangle with a supreme display aboard amazing pacer Expensive Ego. Drawn closer to the outside fence than the inside, McCarthy had to be at his wily best to land the four-year-old feature, scoring in a stunning 1:48.9 beating a plucky Zeuss Bromac (Gavin Fitzpatrick) and Victorian success story Kowalski Analysis (Sophie Arvidsson). The lone mare in the race, Stylish Memphis finished a close fourth. Ever the perfect sport, McCarthy paid tribute to Expensive Ego's former trainer David Thorn who prepared the horse, including several Group 1 wins, before he was transferred to Team McCarthy. "This horse had some tendon problems and that's the only reason we got him," said McCarthy, "David Thorn did a superb job with him but we needed to be able to swim him and use the water walker and that has made a massive difference to this horse." McCarthy explained that from the wide gate he didn't have a lot of options on where he would settle. "I dropped him out and didn't get involved in any of the early speed battles," said McCarthy. "Then we got a nice cart into the race on the back of Bondy's horse (Minstrel). "He was so strong last week that we were quietly confident going into this race. "He travelled really well throughout the race, was three-wide and then two-wide but he's such a good trier this horse - he never gives up." Watch the race replay click here! Expensive Ego became the second horse into the Miracle Mile, joining Newcastle Mile winner The Black Prince as the first two into the $1million race in two weeks. "When you can go 1:48 you are always going to be competitive - even in a Miracle Mile," said McCarthy. "He's just as good when he can race off the speed and I'm sure he'll handle it well." While nothing could be taken away from Expensive Ego's stunning victory, third placegetter Kowalski Analysis also earned plenty of plaudits with his mighty effort to lead early and still be a contender in the run to the line. "He'll be even better next year," said Club Menangle racing manager David Wonson. Club Menangle  

Stewart, Gath bag another feature on a stellar night IS there anything trainer Emma Stewart and gun driver Kate Gath cannot do? Stewart dominated the heats of the NSW Oaks, winning all three earlier in the night, with Gath winning one of them for her with Tough Tilly. The pair were back in the winners' circle again when they captured one of the night's major features, winning the $50,000 Group 2 Robin Dundee Stakes with another of Stewart's stable stars Maajida. It was something of an upset as Belinda and Luke McCarthy's star mare Bettor Enforce was sent out an odds-on favourite in the 1609m dash but Maajida and Gath dictated terms to score an amazing win in a slick 1:50.2 mile rate. Watch the race replay click here! The surprises were on right from the start of this race when Queenslander Justalittle Torque shot out of the gate from nine and showed any amount of speed to find the front in a quick sprint-off with Maajida, who drew a lot better in five. But Gath would have none of that and no sooner had Leonard Cain settled his charge in front when Gath took her on again and found the front where she could dictate terms with opening splits of 26.5 and 28.2 seconds. In the meantime Luke McCarthy had a quick 'look' for the front with Bettor Enforce before Gath showed she would have none of that and held the front. Rocknroll Angel (Cameron Hart) then appeared on the scene three wide and McCarthy had little choice but to drop back into a one-one trail hoping for a final crack at them in the straight. Yet that was about as close as Bettor Enforce was able to get to them as Maajida held them all off in the run home with a last half of 55.6 seconds (27.5, 28.1) to score by a half head from Rocknroll Angel with Miss McGonagall third and Bettor Enforce a close fourth which was enough to get her through to next week's Ladyship Mile, where she will again have a crack at the three placegetters. Club Menangle

Harness racing fans, harnesslink community, we have some important and exciting news to share with you. The current iteration of our website is now over ten years old and while it has done it's job incredibly well, the time has come for an upgrade.  Due to a number of technological changes, our current website has started to experience several problems behind the scenes which need to be solved. This has also fortunately given us the chance to review our current design as website design has changed a lot over the last ten years.  Our new website will be coming sometime in the next few weeks and should bring with it a faster, cleaner, more modern design. We know that change is hard but we also hope that you will keep an open mind and enjoy our new look when it is launched. Here's to the next chapter! John and the Harnesslink team Here is a picture of our original Website dated 2002

Champion Victorian trainer Emma Stewart brought five harness racing fillies to Tabcorp Park Menangle in Sydney and completely dominated heats of the New South Wales Oaks. Incredibly, Stewart won all three heats and qualified all five of her fillies for next weekend's $200,000 final. Tough Tilly, Joanna and Beach Music were the undoubted stars, winning their heats with impressive efforts. Stewart shared the riches around too with Kate Gath, Amanda Turnbull and David Moran the winning drivers, giving all three the opportunity to win next week's feature for a stable that has dominated Victorian harness racing in recent years. The first heat saw short-priced favourite trainer Emma Stewart's Tough Tilly quickly tackle Chrissy Chic for the front and thereafter show her mettle to take the 2400m race in a 1:59 mile rate. Kate Gath was quick to indicate her intentions to control the race from the front and the Captaintreacherous filly did the rest. When the star Victorian youngster was able to get away with a 31.9s opening split of her final mile, Gath looked to have something in hand in the straight as Tough Tilly held off Chrissy Chic and the fast-finishing Rogue Wave, who was the only runner to make ground from back in the field. "She had a bit of a look around which isn't something she normally does, but once she knuckled down in the straight she got to the line well," said Gath. "It's such a big track here at Menangle it often takes the Victorian horses a run or two to adapt but this was the perfect hit-out for next week and she did the job well." To watch the video replay of Tough Tilly winning click here The second heat saw Stewart again provide the short-priced favourite Joanna, with Amanda Turnbull taking the reins. Turnbull wasted no time surging to the front and the classy Somebeachsomewhere filly did enough to win. It was not dis-similar to the first heat as they dawdled through the middle half before surging home in a 1:55.2 mile rate with the last quarters in 27.2 and 27 seconds as Joanna held off a gutsy stablemate in Platinum Sparkle with Prestige Stride third after settling behind her on the pegs and appeared to have every chance to run her down in the straight. "I didn't want to go too slow because I know how tough she is," said Turnbull after the win. "She was good out of the gate tonight and she was never going to let that other horse get past her in the straight. "She never wants to do too much on her own and she'll improve on that next week." To watch the video replay of Joanne winning click here The third heat saw Moran cement Stewart's stranglehold on the Oaks final when the Somebeachsomewhere filly Beach Music held off a gallant Anntonia, who raced without cover the entire journey and held on well for second, with Arma Renegade third in a 1:55.4 mile rate. "I think the trip suited her down to the ground and when she got the lead back she was able to dictate terms, which was perfect. "This horse has been racing against some of the best fillies, like Tough Tilly and down the track she is showing the benefit of that." To watch the video replay of Beach Music winning click here. The final field for the NSW Oaks is: Tough Tilly (by Captaintreacherous from Beninjurd by Art Major) Chrissy Chic (by Major In Art from Beach Baby Beach by Jennas Beach Boy) Rogue Wave (by Somebeachsomewhere from Perfect LIfe by Live Or Die) Joanna (by Somebeachsomewhere from Repelem by Dream Away) Platinum Sparkle (by Bettors Delight from Bollinger Baby by Christian Cullen) Prestige Stride (by Sweet Lou from Bee Jays Money by Christian Cullen) Beach Music (by Somebeachsomewhere from Musical Delight by Bettors Delight) Anntonia (by Bettors Delight from Perfect Pennt by Christian Cullen) Arma Renegade (by Captaintreacherous from Arma The One by Badlands Hanover) Soviet Stunner (by Mach Three from Russian Rocket by Pacific Rocket) Celestial Fragrance 1st em (by Terror To Love from Neavenly Scent by Rock N Roll Heaven) Whos My Mother 2nd em. (by Sweet Lou from Dancing Dixie by Bettors Delight) By Mandy Madern

A delicious Zac Phillips drive set up a dominant Wolf Stride victory in tonight’s Terang Co-Co Pacing Cup, and the winner's “miracle” early move to the front may well lead to a Miracle of another kind. Co-trained by Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith, the five-year-old gelding is on a path north to chase qualification in the $1 million Miracle Mile and will head in full of confidence after a peerless performance in tonight’s $50,000 Group 2. Watch the race replay click here Despite his gate 12 draw, Phillips had the race favourite in the lead within 500 metres of the green light going on in the 2680-metre Cup, having glided past Malcolms Rhythm and the latter’s stablemate Sirletic who were first to the pegs. Somewhere Secret emerged at Wolf Stride’s outside but there was little pressure throughout and when Phillips urged the leader on in a 55.1sec last 800 metres the win was always in hand. Accepting the trophy post-race for winning connections, Amanda Grieve told Trots Vision Phillips had declared his intentions to her in the lead-up and told her he was “either going to look like an idiot or I’m going to pull this off”. And pull it off he did. “He’s pretty special,” Phillips said of the winner, who’s now won 13 of his 27 starts. “Anthony and Sonya have done quite a remarkable job with him, it’s just really a credit to them. “I’ve really got to pay credit to all the staff at home, Anthony’s been away and Sonya and all the team have done a remarkable job, not just with this horse but the whole lot of them.” Butt is up north for Sydney’s Carnival Of Miracles and Phillips said he would soon be joined by Smith and Wolf Stride, who was chasing a place in the March 6 Miracle Mile. “(Wolf Stride will) head up Monday,” Phillips said. “Anthony’s up there at the moment, Sonya’s going to head up on Monday for the Miracle Mile qualifiers and fingers crossed he can get into that.” The victory propelled Wolf Stride to the top of the Trots Country Cups Championship, having amassed 12 points this season courtesy of wins at Bendigo and Terang and a third at Ballarat. Terang also delivered a new leader in the Maori’s Idol Trotting Championship, with Well Defined producing a perfect performance to back up his success at Ararat for trainer Kate Hargreaves and reinswoman Ellen Tormey. “It all worked out perfectly,” Tormey said of tonight’s win from the standing start. “After we went away and found the front it was always the first suitable one that we could hand up to and Robbie Royale was that – he’s a really good front runner and been in really good form, so he was a good one to follow.” While it was easy going out front, there was drama behind with local favourite Pink Galahs breaking gate early and having to spend much of the race recovering lost ground, while McLovin advanced to the breeze and kept things ticking over only to surprisingly tire and fade. That enabled Robbie Royale and Well Defined to clear out in the closing stages and the latter overrun Brent Lilley’s seven-year-old in the 28.6-sec last quarter to score. “He’s a little beauty to drive,” Tormey said. “He’s a little bit difficult in the warm up, but once those tapes go he just rockets away and then puts himself in such a good position every time. “I think he just makes you look good. He goes away that fast you are nearly in front or behind the leader every race. He’s got that nice little sprint, so when you are in that spot he’s going to run a nice little place or be near about. “These stands and the 2600, they suit him down to the ground. He runs them out really well. Whatever he does the owners and trainer are really rapt with the job he’s done.”   HRV - Michael Howard

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - It was one for the harness racing chalk players and one for those who like bombs in the two $17,500 Play Meadowlands Series Finals at The Meadowlands Friday night. In the division for pacing fillies and mares, Its Mesmerise N completed a two-race sweep of the event for trainer Darran Cassar and driver Scott Zeron. Sent to the gate as the 1-5 public choice for a second straight start despite facing a tougher field this time around, Zeron had the 7-year-old daughter of American Ideal-Cullens Charm in the three-hole early before brushing to the top at the half, which was clocked in a quick :54.2. Windsong Parisian, the 10-1 fourth choice in the 10-horse field, applied pressure to the leader while first-over past the half and three-quarters (1:22.1) and appeared to be done off the turn as they straightened away in the stretch, but she kept on digging all the way to the wire through a slow final quarter of :30.2 to come up a neck short of pulling off an upset. Misty Memory N was third.   "I wish I could have bided my time a little more," said Zeron of moving Its Mesmerise N to the lead. "She raced unbelievably given the pressure and the fractions. When I had to move as early as I did at the half, it was a bit of a concern and the immediate pressure didn't help. [Windsong Parisian] raced well. Both fillies cruised around the last turn and both hung in there down the lane. I think my horse is classier than these horses. I had been racing her from off the pace because she likes a target but had been a victim of being too far back. She showed tonight she can do it any which way." Its Mesmerise N paid $2.60 to win after completing the mile in 1:52.3 for her 18th lifetime win from 69 starts. She now has earnings of $117,364. Longshot lovers got their way in the Play Meadowlands for trotters as driver Steve Smith saved ground with Take A Wish from start to finish before bursting through between rivals late to score at 30-1 in 1:55.2. After racing Take A Wish at the rail in eighth in the 10-horse field in the early going, as the flow developed on the rim, Smith advanced the Dawn Anderson trainee to the four-hole along the inside at the half. Remaining glued to the cones around the far turn, Smith waited until there was room and came with a rush in deep stretch to score the upset by a head and return $62.40. Life Well Lived closed well on the far outside to get second while third-place finisher Gruden, the 2-1 favorite, failed in a second straight attempt to go wire-to-wire.   Take A Wish, a 6-year-old mare by Wishing Stone-Take A Taste, won for the 12th time from 85 lifetime outings and upped her earnings to $210,836. A LITTLE MORE: Handle topped the $3-million mark again as a total of $3,080,321 was put in play on a 13-race card conducted over a sloppy track that saw snowy conditions for the first third of the program. Wagering has now surpassed $3 million on three straight Fridays, and 10 times overall for the 14 cards conducted thus far in 2021. ... Driver of the Week Dexter Dunn kept on rolling, racking up three winners to up his Big M leading-driver victory tally to 42. He's scored 15 times over the last four programs. ... No one hit the 20-cent Pick-6, setting up Saturday's wager with a carryover of $7,222. .... First-race post time on Saturday is 6 p.m. The Pick-6 begins in race eight. Free past performances for every race of every Meadowlands card are available by going to playmeadowlands.com. For full race results, click here. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

LEBANON, OH - Kobe Bryant would have been proud! Black Mamba AS added the $25,000 championship leg of the Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley trot series at 1-1/4 miles to her impressive harness racing resume on Friday (Feb. 19), trotting gate to finish line in front in 2:25.2 at Miami Valley Raceway. "I knew she'd have a big shot," exclaimed driver Tyler Smith. "Anette (Lorentzon, the trainer) keeps all her horses fit and sharp and the added quarter mile didn't bother her or me a bit." A six-year-old daughter of Lionhunter, Black Mamba AS recorded her 16th lifetime victory and boosted her career bounty to $342,912 with the score. She has finished on the board in 42 of her 77 trips behind the starting gate. Merci Monsieur AS (Kayne Kauffman) made a valiant late surge to get within a length of the winner, with Compelling (LeWayne Miller), the even money favorite, finishing third. Say You Do (Brett Miller) and Perfect Chapter AS (Chris Page) picked up the minor spoils in the lucrative final. ACI Studeri AB of Paris, Kentucky, owns Black Mamba AS and were involved in the breeding and early lessons of Merci Monsieur AS and Perfect Chapter AS, although the latter two have changed hands in recent years.   Black Mamba AS paid $11.60 to win, coupled with Merci Monsieur AS the exacta returned $129.20, and a 50-cent trifecta was worth $79.63 with favored Compelling completing the ticket. The Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley, which featured preliminary legs at 5/8ths of a mile and the traditional mile, pays homage to the Hall Of Fame trainer-driver who was born and lived his entire life in Hamilton, Ohio, just a stone's throw from Miami Valley Raceway. Beissinger won three Hambletonians with Lindy's Pride, Speedy Crown and Speedy Somolli and maintained his base of operations in southwest Ohio throughout his career. A $20,000 Mares Open Pace was also showcased on the Friday program at Miami Valley. Bettor's Up (LeWayne Miller) pulled a mild 9-1 upset over Checks On The Way (Trace Tetrick) and Gone Girl (Tyler Smith). Using her inside post position to full advantage, the winner enjoyed a two-hole trip behind Checks On The Way through fractions of :27.3, :56.1 and 1:24.2 before pulling on the leader and wearing her down in the final furlong. The 1:52.3 win was the 25th of Bettor's Up's career and boosted her bankroll to $981,752 as she seeks millionaire status in the coming weeks. The Platinum Stables of Indiana own the seven-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight. Racing resumes Saturday (Feb. 20) at Miami Valley with the $25,000 championship of the Bill Dailey Memorial Medley, at 1-1/4 miles, and a $22,000 Open Handicap Pace highlighting the program. Miami Valley has announced a make up card for Wednesday (Feb. 24) with the entry box closing at 1:00 on Saturday (Feb. 20) for the added card. The condition sheet for the added program is available on the USTA website. For full race results, click here. From Miami Valley Raceway                

Melady's Monet is getting up in age but remains young at heart. The 12-year-old male trotter has three wins and a second in four starts this season and will look for career victory No. 71 when he visits The Meadowlands for Saturday's $22,500 conditioned trot. "He's doing really good," trainer Hermann Heitmann said. "Nothing has changed with him (over the years). He is still acting like a young horse, actually. He likes to play around in the paddocks, he enjoys his lunch, he doesn't look like he wants to slow down yet. "He just likes to race." Melady's Monet is a son of Revenue S out of Keystone Melady. He was bred by Ester Balenzano and her husband Luca, who passed away last year. Ester remains the horse's owner under the Melady Enterprises banner. For his career, Melady's Monet has won 70 of 224 races and $1.73 million. He has earned more than $125,000 in each of the past eight years. He won the 2016 Vincennes Invitational at The Meadowlands and later that season was second to Bee A Magician in the $250,000 Yonkers Invitational. In 2015, he won The Meadows Maturity and had third-place finishes in the Cutler Memorial and Crawford Farms Open Trot. In recent years, he has remained a consistent performer in top-level trots at various East Coast racetracks, particularly Yonkers. The gelding was sidelined for five months in 2018 because of colic surgery but has earned a paycheck in 49 of 54 starts since his return. "He's like the horse of a lifetime," Heitmann said. "There are not too many around like him." On Saturday, Melady's Monet heads to The Meadowlands to race for the first time since December 2019. He will start from post five with driver Scott Zeron and is 9-2 on the morning line. Kenziesky Hanover is the 5-2 favorite. "I'm sure he will put in a good effort," Heitmann said. What makes Melady's Monet successful in fending off rivals as well as Father Time? "His attitude," Heitmann said. "He knows when we're going to the races and he likes the competition. He tries unbelievably hard, always. He never gives up. "Attitude is everything with him. He just wants to do it. You can't teach that to any horse, they either have it or they don't. He wants to do it." Racing begins at 6 p.m. (EST) at The Meadowlands. The Big M and TrackMaster have teamed to regularly provide free past performances for each race card. Past performances can be found here on The Meadowlands website. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Major North American owners Gordon Banks and Marc Hanover have teamed up with 15 time North American Breeders Crown winning owners Richard Gutnick,Thomas Pontone, and Joseph Lozito Jr. to acquire New Zealand’s superstar four-year-old harness racing pacing mare Amazing Dream (Bettor's Delight - Christian Dreamer - Christian Cullen)! Jean Feiss agreed to sell her four-year-old, seven time Group 1 winning mare, winner of over $890,000 for an undisclosed six figure sum to this powerhouse combine, perhaps opening the door to more significant standardbred investments in Down Under Bloodstock by this group. Banks and Hanover have long been active Down Under and have had considerable success with Australian Breeders Crown two-year-old pacing filly winner Passions Promise, Dual Group 1 aged pacing star Majordan, NZ 2 year old Sire Stakes champion Joannes Delight, current 3 year old star American Dealer (last year’s 2 year old NZ Sire Stakes Champion), old warhorse Ouch, and the great pacing filly Tupelo Rose, amongst many others. Banks and Hanover co-own this year’s North American two-year-old Breeder’s Crown trotting filly winner, Lady Chaos, with Gutnick, Pontone, and Lozito, so the team is hoping to build on their success together. Lady Chaos winning the $600,000 Breeders Crown Richard Gutnick has owned four Breeders Crown winners, the winners of the 2012 Hambletonian, the Canadian Trotting Classic, The Maple Leaf trot, and numerous other North American classics. His two greatest horses have been Hambletonian winner Market Share, and racing star Chapter Seven, who is now one of the world’s most desired trotting stallions. Gutnick horses in North America have earned well over US$10,000,000. Gordon Banks the master mind of an AMAZING deal Thomas Pontone has owned horses that have won an incredible 10 Breeders Crowns and two Hambletonians. He is the owner of superstar and super sire Muscle Hill, and he has owned Art Major, McArdle, Shark Gesture, Metropolitan, Strong Yankee, Red Bow Tie, and the great mare  Cathedera Dot Com, amongst many other equine stars. Joe Lozito Jr. won his first Breeders Crown (2020) with two-year-old filly Lady Chaos (2t,1:53.1) $584,131, and has owned numerous top horses. For Gutnick, Pontone, and Lozito this acquisition marks their first venture Down Under, and it is a real feather in New Zealand’s cap that the standardbred industry has produced stars capable of attracting this kind of North American investment and investors! Banks and Hanover, who will be the managing partners, have confirmed to Harnesslink that the group plans to keep Amazing Dream racing in New Zealand through this year’s Harness Jewels, then race the mare in Australia through the Interdominion and, perhaps, next year’s one million dollar Miracle Mile. Amazing Dream, the champion four-year-old mare beating the best boys in the 2020 Auckland Cup Then plans are for Amazing Dream to go to the States to take on North America’s best aged mares. It is also hoped that Amazing Dream will return to New Zealand this year for the New Zealand Cup. Plans are for THE DREAM to remain in New Zealand with Hayden Cullen, with Mark Purdon handling the driving...Tentative Australian plans are for Kevin Pizzuto to care for Amazing Dream in NSW and Nathan Purdon to handle Victoria in this COVID age. According to Banks and Hanover the entire ownership team hopes to get to see their new star racing in person for the Inters or Miracle Mile, if foreign travel possible then.... Harnesslink Media

Australia’s pinup pacer Lochinvar Art has been a shock withdrawal from tonight’s rich AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile. Owner Kevin Gordon made the announcement a short time ago on social media – but Gordon assured it was still all systems go for the Garrards Miracle Mile at Menangle in a fortnight. “It’s nothing major – a corn was found in the sole of his foot. It’s in the horse’s best welfare not to run,” Gordon said. “All will be okay in the Miracle Mile in two weeks.” Lochinvar Art, trained by David Moran at Shepparton, was a short-priced favorite in tonight’s AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile Group One, worth $100,000. The disappointment came after Moran made a last-minute dash last Friday to get over the border to NSW ahead of a snap five-day COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria. Undoubtedly the best standarbred currently racing in Australasia, Lochinvar Art posted his seventh Group One victory in the $500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton recently, taking his earnings to $1,368,456 (courtesy of 28 wins from 50 starts). The Moran team is stabled in NSW at the Cobbitty property of Belinda and Luke McCarthy. The scratching leaves the race wide open, but Queensland-trained Turn It Up is now likely to firm into favoritism.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound Paleface Adios Stakes winner Expensive Ego, who has won three races in quick time this season highlighted by his success in the Group 2 $60,000 Paleface Adios Stakes, and has graduated to a NR90 mark, is regarded as one of the best young pacers in the country. Expensive Ego is a four-year-old by the Rocknroll Hanover horse, Rock N Roll Heaven (sire of Heaven Rocks, etc), from Art Start, who took a record of 1:58.2 and won 14 races. She produced earlier winners in Arts Treasure 1:50.9 ($152,542), a winner at Group 1 level, Bohdi Tree 1:52.1 ($192,854) and Golightly (1:55.3). Art Start is by the American bred sire Perfect Art from Sweet Clementine (1:59.6), an Oaks winner by Land Grant from the Jerry Adios mare Sue Adios, dam of the QBred Triad winner Sweet Liberty 1:57.9 ($102,706), Vanston Adios, Sir Galahad and Sweet Sue. This is a long-established NZ family and earlier top youngsters belonging to it include My Liberty Belle, Philadelphia Man and Centenario. A half-brother by Betting Line to Expensive Ego will be offered at the Nutrien Equine Standardbred Yearling Sale at Oaklands Junction in April.   WA Golden Nugget to Minstrel Western Australia’s premier race for four-year-olds, the $200,000 Golden Nugget, run at Gloucester Park, was won by Minstrel, and although Magnificent Storm, rated the top four-year-old of his year, finished second after coming from last, this fact could not detract from the merit of Minstrel’s success. Minstrel                --Jodie Hallows Photo He has now won four of his seven starts in WA and eight of his 17 lifetime starts for $208,803 in stakes. His sire, Rocknroll Hanover, was one of the best performed sires to come to Australia, being by Western Ideal, a son of Western Hanover. Rocknroll Hanover had a record of 1:48.6 and was one of America’s greatest ever three-year-olds. His ‘down under’ stock include King Of Swing, Foreclosure, Rockstar Angel, Yankee Rockstar, The Storm Inside and others, and in America he sired 84 in 1:50 including Rock N Roll Heaven (1:47.6). Ovaride, the dam of Minstrel, was a Mach Three mare from a capable racemare in Top Gear (1:55.9), by Falcon Seelster from Fill The Purse, by Holmes Hanover from Village Rose, by Clever Innocence. Ovaride (2:00.2), a three-year-old winner, left earlier winners in The Achiever (1:57.6) and Rollova (1:57.4), who won at Melton the day after Minstrel won.  Top Gear was a half-sister to Fill The Bank (1:53.2), Vanilla Rose (1:57.5), Bank Raider and to Magic Marg, the dam of the prolific Menangle winner Magic Oats 1:51.5 ($225,278). The most distinguished member of this family was a top flight three-year-old in City Rogue (1:49.6), who won 27 races in NZ, Australia and America and $502,734 in stakes.  His successes included the Australian Derby, Redcliffe Derby, NZ Kindergarten Stakes and NZ Rising Stars 3YO Championship. Others from this family included Raukapuka Ruler (1:50.4), winner of the NZ Great Northern Derby and Ashburton Cup, the NZ Sapling and Kindergarten Stakes winner War Dan Delight, Atom Of Courage 1:52.2 (Parkes and Tamworth Cups) and the Addington free-for-all winner Village Chief (1:57.9).   Delightful Jazz is top mare Bought for $75,000 and now a winner of $126,660, Delightful Jazz continues to prove herself in the top bracket of pacing mares in Victoria. Delightful Jazz                             --Stuart McCormick Photo   She is a member of one of New Zealand’s top ranking standardbred families, being a five-year-old Bettor’s Delight mare from a handy racemare in Hotinthecitytonite (1:58.8), a Christian Cullen mare who has produced others in Dancintothebeat (1:56.5), who won twice at Albion Park recently, and Major Hippie (1:57.5). Hotinthecitytonite was out of Hot Shoe Shuffle 1:57.9 ($295,011), a Group winning mare by Falcon Seelster from Off Beat, by Vance Hanover from the Lordship mare Broken Drum and tracing to the taproot Regina (by Berlin). Hot Shoe Shuffle produced two high class pacers in Glenferrie Shuffle (1:57), a winner of 13 races and $279,839 including the Breeders Crown 2YO Final, and Jivin Cullen (1:54), a winner of 14 races and $190,713. Others from Hot Shoe Shuffle were the exported Joshua Mac 1:57.8 ($107,760) and the NZ Sales Graduette winner Sem’s Delight (1:57). Hot Shoe Shuffle figures as the second dam of the Menangle winner Zanadu (1:55), Kezzamac (1:56.5) and the promising NZ filly Passion And Power (1:58.6), a heat winner of the Young Gun Series.   Act Now is Derby material Act Now, who comfortably won in restricted age company at Melton and is regarded as Derby material of the highest order, is a three-year-old colt by Somebeachsomewhere from Molly’s Ideal, an American-bred mare. Act Now            --Stuart McCormick Photo   Act Now is a member of the an-old time family, which was represented by the winner of the Graham Head Memorial at Shepparton recently in Patsbeachstorm. He was placed at his next start in the $100,000 Caduceus Club Classic. Molly’s Ideal is an American Ideal mare from Molly’s Lucky Star (1:54.4), by Bettor’s Delight from Pacific Destiny, by Artsplace from One More Kiss, by Big Towner. One More Kiss was the dam of the million dollar earner Pacific Fella (1:48.4), who sired winners in Australia. Molly’s Ideal ranks as a half-sister to the WA Diamond Classic winner Askmeilltellya 1:54.8 ($136,136), War Dan Star (1:59.3) and Pin Stripes (1:53.7).   Well related three-year-old Cheyella, who won the String Of Pearls at Albury, showed ability as a two-year-old last season when she was twice placed in five attempts. She has opened her season on a winning note and will be well in line for the major juvenile classics. Cheyella is a filly by the American Ideal horse, Heston Blue Chip, from Chiquita Bromac (1:58.7), the dam also of Celerina (1:57.5), a winner of five races and a placegetter in Group company. Chiquita Bromac ranks as a sister to the Victoria Derby heat winner Crown Bromac 1:54.1 ($139,878) and a half-sister to the Franklin Cup winner Attorney General 1:48.4 ($323,098) and the Victoria Youthful winner Cullen Bromac (1:55.1), being by McArdle from Classic Blue Jeans, by Camluck from the American-bred Oh Please, by Albatross. This is the family which produced such winners as the NZ Cup and Free-for-all winner Cruz Bromac (1:50.1), Falcon’s Blue Jean 1:51.8 ($442,232), Our Cullen’s Crown 1:52 ($491,044) and the top Tasmanian pacer The Majority. Cheyella was bred and is raced by Ballarat breeder Verna El-Khishin.   Siblings win at Melton It was no mean feat for the half-brothers President Roydon (by The Pres) and Majestic Hurricane (by Majestic Son) to win on the same night at Melton last weekend. Both bred by Roydon Lodge Stud are from Dear Diedre, a trotter herself, and who has left other straightout trotting winners in Duchess Diedre, The Earth Moved and Lord Roydon. Dear Diedre was by the Arndon horse Sundon (nine-time Group winner) from a fine racemare in Diedre’s Pride, by Game Pride from Roydon Diedre, by Arndon.  Other members of this family have been the Breeders Crown champions Conon Bridge (1:56.6), Im Ready Jet (1:55.6) and Hurricane Flyer, Destiny Jones (Ordeal Trotting Cup), Sunny Ruby 1:54.7 (Harness Jewels), Wee Man Trouble, the dual Vicbred champion Aldebaran Eve and Sunoflindenny. On their best form, President Roydon and Majestic Hurricane are both expected to graduate far beyond their present rating.   Eighth on end  Papinik won his eighth race on end at Gloucester Park recently when he soundly trounced intermediate grade rivals, rating a career-best 1:54.5 for 2130 metres. He is by the In The Pocket horse, Advance Attack, a full brother to the great Courage Under Fire. Papinik                           --Jodie Hallows Photo   Papinik is out of Artist’s Impression, by Perfect Art from Rakamo, by Admiral Halsey from the Lumber Dream mare Sentimental Belle, a daughter of Sentimental Lass, the dam of the free-for-aller Mister Fallacy 1:57.3 ($142,212), a high class pacer in Master Scamp and others. Papinik is a brother-in-blood to the Westbred 2YO Classic winner Heez On Fire 1:54.7 ($287,607) and the Western Crown victor Brush With Courage (1:58.9) and a member of the same family as outstanding young pacers in Mitemptation and Rakarolla.   Half-brother to De Lovely Zadaka, who came from last to win the $30,000 Ararat Pacing Cup, is an eight-year-old half-brother by Mach Three to the champion New Zealand racemare De Lovely 1:54 ($613,355), the Menangle winner Coppagoodone (1:57) and Le Girl (1:58). They are out of a dual Oaks winner in Copper Beach 1:58.6 ($179,794), by the American import Beach Towel who was out of Les Payzen Star, by Payson’s Brother from Interchange, by New York Motoring. Interchange was a most successful broodmare, being also the dam of the Inter Dominion champion and dual Auckland Cup hero Elsu 1:53.6 ($2 million), the NZ 2YO Championship winner Revonez, Falcor (1:53) and Mombassa. Copper Beach was a half-sister to the exported Metekhi (1:54), CC Star (1:57.1) and to Rose Vear, the dam of Elias Bromac (2:00.8).   Four winners by Rock N Rock Heaven The Rocknroll Hanover horse, Rock N Roll Heaven, a grand pacer himself and now a leading sire, left four winners on the one night at Albion Park last weekend. His winners were Cardlesfromheaven (1:53.5), Thats How Weroll (1:54), Clarry (1:54.9) and Rockita (1:56.9).   First winner by Bling It On Bling It On, a well performed American Ideal horse from a champion broodmare in Alldatglittersisgold, by Caprock, was recently represented by his first winner in the two-year-old filly Finery, who led throughout at Bathurst. Finery had shown up strongly at the Menangle trials prior to her debut. Bred by Glenn Wilmont, Finery is out of the Bettor’s Delight mare, Dazzle N Daze, whose dam, Amboseli (1:58.7) was by Christian Cullen from the New York Motoring mare Rafiki (2:00.8), who left several useful winners including the Perth and USA winner The Freedom Fighter 1:52 ($147,036) and Our Friend (1:53).     by Peter Wharton

The Abela father-and-son harness racing team of Joe and Tyrone have been making every post a winner this year—and an enviable strike-rate tells the story. “It’s a nice change that’s for sure. We couldn’t take a trick in 2020 – nothing went right for us!” Tyrone said. “One of our very nice horses in Carmy Dan had us scratching our heads. I think he had four zeros and a rating of only 50 at one stage. At his peak he was in the high 60s and nearly going to Melbourne to race, but he had a real bad patch where he was dropping out at the bell,” he said. “It was things like this that we were coming up against, but we’ve worked through them and come out the other side, thankfully!” Tyrone said they had found Carmy Dan had stomach issues and the pacer has bounced back with a Melton second and wins at Cranbourne and Maryborough. “His ‘Aunty’ in Misschanel wasn’t taking her promise at home to the races either,” Tyrone said. “So we decided to get her in foal and away she went. She won three and we retired her after her last victory at Maryborough. “We were hoping she could win enough to pay for a Rock N Roll Heaven service fee—she did more than that and covered the cost of two services to Sky Valley!” The Abelas only have three or four horses in work at any one time, but over the past six or seven weeks have landed two doubles and with a bit of luck, it could have easily been three. “The enjoyment is certainly back now,” Tyrone said. The investment manager lives with his family at Ocean Grove, and his parents Joe and Carmen live on a picturesque 220-acre horse training property at Balliang, halfway between Bacchus Marsh and Geelong. “We work as a team and we’ve done it like that for a long time,” Tyrone said. “I drive over to my parents’ place to do them and Mum is very much hands-on with feeding and cleaning—she is probably dad’s right hand really. And we also have a helper in Cathrine who turns up every day to help us with fastwork and jogging.” The Abelas have been in sensational form this year with an impressive win and place percentage to starters strike rate of 69 percent. So far, they’ve had 13 starters for five wins, three second placings and one third. “We recently trained our 100th winner which was a nice milestone because we’re only a hobby outfit and pretty much just breed all of our own,” Tyrone said. “It’s usually about 50/50 in trotter and pacer numbers, although we do have more trotting broodmares in foal at the moment. I suppose deep down we all have a real love for the trotters. “Probably our best horse over the years was a square gaiter named Solar Active, who we raced for about four years. In his last year he ran third in an Inter-Dominion heat in Melbourne and then sixth in the final to Sundons Gift, which was a huge thrill. “Then as an 11-year-old he won his last start at Kilmore, driven by the late Gavin Lang.” Harness Racing Authority records show that Solar Active (Sundon-All Action Gal (Speed In Action) won 23 races and had 22 placings for over $180,000 in stakemoney. The family is now pinning its hopes on a smart trotter in Madena Sky (Angus Hall-Dreamscape Aurora (Safely Kept) to keep the success going. “We’ve had some nice types over the years, but she has the ability to potentially be our best,” Tyrone said. Madena Sky ran second to Fear The Yankee at Bendigo on Wednesday night in the second heat of the Lyn McPherson Memorial Breed for Speed Silver Series. She now has six wins and seven placings from 39 starts. Tyrone said his father got involved in the sport in the late 1970s, “poking around with just one horse for ages.” “When I started driving in 1993 as a junior, it stepped up to three or four horses. We later put in a 1500m jog track, a 1150m fastwork track along with swimming facilities,” he said. “I drove about 60 winners, but I only occasionally take the reins now, and I don’t miss it. Chris Alford, who knows our horses, has been really good to us and we also use Jodi Quinlan and Greg Sugars.” As a youngster, Tyrone worked for Danny Norris, Gavin Lang and John Justice, while during his early driving days competed against Kerryn Manning and her now husband Grant Campbell. “They were great times, and I was lucky to get such a good grounding. I will always cherish my time with Gavin. It was an experience being with him and I was lucky to work some of his best horses,” he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing driver LeWayne Miller is a fan of the three-leg Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley Trot at Miami Valley Raceway, and has a "compelling" reason to look forward to Friday's (Feb. 19) $25,000 final. Miller will be driving the morning-line favorite, Compelling.   Compelling and Miller will start from post five in the final, which will be contested at the added distance of 1-1/4 miles. Compelling won a first-leg division of the medley, raced at five-eighths of a mile, and finished second in a second-round split, which was raced at the standard distance of one mile.   Perfect Chapter As is the 7-2 second choice in the final. The 7-year-old gelding won a second-leg division and was third in an opening-round division. The Ron Burke trainee will start from post six with Chris Page in the sulky. Shake It Mary, who won both of her preliminary legs, is 5-1 from post seven. The 5-year-old Sherif Cunmulaj-trained mare will be driven by Dan Noble.   Compelling, a 7-year-old mare, was an Indiana Sire Stakes champion at age 4. She is owned by Verlin Yoder and has spent the majority of her career at Harrah's Hoosier Park. Lifetime, the daughter of Swan For All out of First Lady Two has won 18 of 72 starts and $270,378.   "She's a very nice mare," said Miller, who is training and driving Compelling while she competes at Miami Valley. "She knows where the wire is, and she likes that last quarter (of a mile)."   Compelling used her finishing kick to win her first leg in the Beissinger. She was sixth at the half-mile point, nearly eight lengths from the leader. She won by a head.   "I was a little concerned about the five-eighths because it's such a short distance and she's a little lazy, so sometimes it takes her a little bit longer to get in gear," Miller said. "But she definitely closed strong. I think the pace was hot enough early that they just got a little tired late."   Compelling's racing style gives Miller reason to be optimistic in the Beissinger's extra-distance final.   "I like the mile-and-a-quarter for her because her best game is at the end of the mile," Miller said. "You approach (the race) the same way, you just have to be a little bit patient and manage when to use your horse. I think she will be all right in there."   The medley series honors Howard Beissinger, a Hall of Fame trainer-driver and the winner of three Hambletonian Stakes. Beissinger, who died in 2018, maintained his base of operations in Hamilton, Ohio, less than 10 miles from Miami Valley Raceway, throughout his career.   "I love the idea of it and like the way they have it set up," Miller said about the varied-distances event. "It's a nice thing to have. It's fun."   Racing begins at 4:05 p.m. (EST) Friday at Miami Valley. For the card's complete entries, click here.   by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

It has been reported by Karsten Bønsdorf, USTA Senior Newsroom Correspondent that affter the defeat Sunday afternoon in the Prix de France, where Face Time Bourbon finished second, his regular driver, Björn Goop, was sacked by the main owner, Italian Antonio Somma. Somma has long been unsatisfied with Goop as the driver of maybe the world’s best trotter at present, and just after the race, Somma wrote on Twitter that Goop was sacked. Today Somma was interviewed on the French racing television channel Equidia and said that Sebastian Guarato, who trains Face Time Bourbon, was free to pick any of these five drivers in the future to drive the top trotter: Eric Raffin, Gabriele Gelormini, Yoann Lebourgeois, Matthieu Abrivard and Franck Nivard. Sebastian Guarato had already made his choice and made it public, that Eric Raffin is the new driver of Face Time Bourbon. “Raffin is an obvious choice,” Guarato said. “He has driven Face Time Bourbon twice in races and has won both times.” Eric Raffin will drive Face Time Bourbon on March 6 in the Prix de Selection at Vincennes. Björn Goop has driven Face Time Bourbon in 29 races and has 24 wins and four seconds. On Jan. 31, Face Time Bourbon (with Goop) was an easy winner of the famous Prix d’Amerique for the second year in a row. From the USTA