Day At The Track
Toby Grant congratulates Vince Brennan, harness racing

Recognising harness racing achievers

The Tamworth Harness Racing Club held their awards night last Friday – with plenty of winners. Congratulations to Lola Weidemann for taking out the drivers premiership at Tamworth while Julie Weidemann won the trainers and owners premierships. The Mare of The Year was Aussie Vista while Readily was the Horse of the Year. The locals then began to shine, with Tom Ison picking up the N&NW Young Drivers Award as well as The Pub-sponsored Drive of the Year behind the Richard Williams trained Never Die. The Tamworth Harness Racing Club Young Achiever Award was presented to Rory Brown, while reinswoman Courtney Sutherland picked up the Encouragement Award and David Pike was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award. Tim Varga achieved the Rookie of the Year Award, and Vince Brennan picked up the Contribution to Harness Racing in the North West Award. Tony Missen won the North-West Trainer Award for the third year running. Women take the reins Albion Park had a novel way of trying to draw attention to their meeting last Saturday night.  It was a race program where the men had the night off with only women drivers taking the reins.  The women were invited from all the states. Lola Weidemann was one of those contenders before she headed to the Inverell meeting on Sunday afternoon with only a couple of hours sleep. Conducted on a point score system, Queenslander Brittany Graham took the honours just over Kerryn Manning from Victoria. Inter Dominion starts tonight The Inter Dominion kicks off tonight with the first round of heats to be conducted at Gloucester Park, the second round on Tuesday at the Bunbury Trotting Club, then back to Gloucester Park on December 1 for the third round of heats. The $1.1 million final of the Inter Dominion will be held on December 8 at Gloucester Park.  The Inter Dominion is the richest horse race in Western Australia and is seen by many as the pinnacle of Australasian harness racing. Back in Tamworth If you would like to witness the action of harness racing closer to home, the Tamworth Harness Racing club will stage an eight-event card tonight with the first race set to go at 6.18pm. Friday tonight’s Tamworth harness races will be preceded by a trial. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Bold And Famous, Harness Racing

Varga family members set to go head to head

Tamworth trainer Tim Varga has had a stellar start to his first season of racing – so much so that he has taken out the Tamworth Harness Racing Club Rookie of the Year Award. Varga has hit the ground running and heads into Friday night’s Tamworth HRC meeting with two runners. In The Pub Drive of the Year-Tom Ison Pace, Varga has his runner Bold And Famous contesting the race alongside his parents-owned (John and Noelene) Mitrhys Magic. “There is conflict already at work,” joked Varga. The family members work together in their business, Johns Auto Service, with plenty of banter going on as to who will be first home on Friday night. Bold And Famous is raced by Tim Varga along with younger brother Anthony and sister Kerryanne Davis, with Tim the trainer. The gloves will be off, so to speak, as Anthony Varga – a reinsman in his own right – has elected to retain the drive behind Mitrhys Magic. Mitrhys Magic will commence from the six barrier tonight while Bold And Famous has drawn the three barrier. “I backed my award up with another winner last Sunday,” added Tim Varga, with Bold And Famous coming into Friday’s race a last-start winner at Inverell. “He [Tim] has done a good job with this mare and we got the lucky run at Inverell in on the leaders back. We didn’t have to do much work,” Anthony said. “I was pretty confident down the back at Inverell.” It was back to back wins for Anthony Varga at Inverell when he drove the Les Enks trained Sassy Shannon for a win. Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Gloucester Park, harness racing

Media Guild Friday's thoughts 24th November

The Inter Dominion has finally arrived and the “Fab Four” - Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Soho Tribeca and Chicago Bull - look set to dominate the harness racing series. Most members of the WA Trotting Media Guild, along with betting agencies throughout Australia, believe Kiwi superstar Lazarus will have his colours lowered by Soho Tribeca in the opening heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night and they have labelled 2015 Inters victor Lennytheshark and reigning Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup champ Chicago Bull as the best of good things after both pacers drew ideally in their respective heats. While most Guild members have tipped Soho Tribeca to halt Lazarus’ winning run, TABradio’s announcer Matt Young and GPTV’S Ken Casellas have made the Kim Prentice-trained and reined pacer their best bet. Young explains. “Soho Tribeca has finally come up with a marble but against the best horse in the Southern Hemisphere in Lazarus,” he said. “I'm still very keen and believe he will lead and win this and make his mark as a genuine threat in the final. If Lazarus beats Soho Tribeca on Friday, the series is as good as over.” And Casellas agrees. “The five-year-old Soho Tribeca is drawn to lead and he should carry too many guns for the brilliant Lazarus, who faces an acid test from the outside barrier in the field of nine,” he said. “He is my star bet on what should prove a dazzling night of pacing action.” Leading tipster Stuart Lowe, longshot king Pat Harding, Guild president Wayne Currall and veteran tipster Bill Brindley are all keen on Chicago Bull. Lowe spoke for his colleagues when he declared Chicago Bull WA’s best pacer. “Chicago Bull has won 13 of his last 20 starts and looks a live chance in the final,” he said. “Set a new Gloucester Park track record for 1730m of 1.51.6 two starts ago. Looks hard to beat here from barrier two.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, TABradio’s race caller Matt McDermott and Sunday Times columnist Robbie Dewar have all made Lennytheshark their star bet. Manning spoke for his colleagues when he said Lennytheshark was a genuine superstar. “Lennytheshark has drawn ideally at gate three and has proven he can handle Gloucester Park,” he said. “His three wins there have been highlighted by the 2015 Inters final and he looks a major chance to take the title again this year. He has looked back to peak form in Victoria wins at his past three starts.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft is keen on Kiwi pacer Ultimate Machete. “Ultimate Machete was impressive in winning the Woodlands NZ Free-For-All last Friday defeating Tiger Tara, who is a $13 chance for the Inter Dominion series,” he said. “This week he has drawn the pole for his assignment in the Yes Loans 4YO Classic and will be very short but should be winning.” VALUE BETS Matt Young: Sheer Rocknroll gets the perfect draw to have a soft run in a race with plenty of depth. Ken: The Trilogy, to be driven by his trainer Kristian Hawkins, is racing with great enthusiasm. Stuart: Superfecta, who had very good form in New Zealand before a solid second here at only WA run, is well drawn and should be respected. Pat: Livura hasn’t had much luck in his last two races, but with Chris Lewis aboard and a good draw should be hard to beat. Wayne: El Jacko is drawn to get a soft run behind likely leader Bettor Be Lively and can be dangerous late. Bill: Costa Del Magnifico has drawn the pole and will take a power of beating in the lead. Ernie: Mr Mojito, a winner at 11 of 23 starts, covered extra ground from a second-row draw when unplaced in strong company last start. Can bounce back here. Matt McDermott: Lazarus was at $2.25 with TABtouch midweek. While Soho Tribeca himself is going great guns and has the favourable draw, better than evens for the New Zealander is hard to ignore. Robbie: Noted frontrunner Thereugo’s class could see him overcome an unfavourable back-line draw. Ryan: Sokys Bigbullet has impressed since joining the stables of Tony Svilicich and looks to have a bright future as outlined by his success in the Bunbury Cup last Saturday. To view all of the Media Guild Tips for this week click here. Good punting. Wayne Currall

Michael Stanley and Petacular, harness racing

Breeders Crown champion euthanized

Durham Park Stud today issued a media release informing of the sad passing of 2017 Australian harness racing three-year-old filly of the year, Petacular. Durham Park confirmed the Breeders Crown champion was euthanized after breaking a cannon bone while spelling in the paddock. Owner and breeder Bruce Edward was devastated. “It’s an absolute shame, but after discussions with the surgeons at Ballarat Veterinary Practice we decided it was unfair on the mare to put her through a complex operation and six to eight months of recovery in a box with expected complications for a low chance of recovery,” Mr Edward said. During her racing career Petacular won 19 races and had seven placings from 26 starts for earnings of $454,083, including Group 1 wins in the two-year-old Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final and the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 3YO Fillies Final. She will also be remembered for her four brave second placings in Group 1 finals, including the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Fillies Final, the Victorian Oaks, the NSW Oaks and the 2YO Fillies Breeders Crown Final. Mr Edward said Petacular would have gone on to be “an important broodmare at Durham Park Stud”. Re-live Petacular's memorable 3YO Fillies Breeders Crown victory At trainer/driver Michael Stanley’s request Petacular was buried on his farm. The Stanley stable issued a statement today, which read: “It is with much regret and a tremendously heavy heart that I inform the racing industry of the tragic loss of our beautiful, brave mare Petacular (Bonnie). "Whilst spelling, she had a freak accident in the paddock. Petacular was dearly loved by all involved at the Stanley Stable and will be deeply missed, particularly  by Mick, who shared a very special bond with her, as did her best friend RoRo (Soho Angel). She was treated like the Queen and she knew herself that she was so special. "We would like to acknowledge Bruce Edward and the and the PETstock Racing Syndicate for entrusting her in our care. Every moment with Bonnie was a pleasure and we are privileged to have been a part of her life. Thank you for everything BonBon. RIP big girl”. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) extends sincere condolences to all involved with Petacular. Fans are continuing to send tributes to the filly on social media. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

On 17 October 2017 Our Jimmy Johnstone NZ underwent epiglottic entrapment surgery. Trainer G. Bond has reported the gelding recovered well from the surgery and on 22 November 2017 Veterinarian  Dr T. Lindsay performed an upper respiratory tract endoscopy on Our Jimmy Johnstone NZ and has reported  the wound had healed normally and it is therefore considered suitable to resume racing. Our Jimmy Johnstone NZ is engaged in heat two of the Inter-Dominion at Gloucester Park on Friday 24 November 2017.   Barbara Scott – Chief Steward Harness Ph: 9445 5176 Barbara.scott@rwwa.com.au

Wagering service provider UBET has a number of attractive exotic betting propositions for the harness racing meeting at Albion Park on Saturday night spearheaded by a $50K guaranteed Trifecta inclusive of a $10K jackpot on race 1 scheduled for 5:12pm EST. Additionally, a $5K Quadrella jackpot is listed for races 2 to 5 with the first leg due at 5:42pm EST which is complimented by $2K jackpot Trifectas on races 3 to 5. For the most up to date form analysis and selections refer to Racing Queensland harness racing specialist Darren Clayton’s deliberations on the meeting. The opening event on an attractive10 event card including the AQWA Lord Mayor’s Cup gets under way at 5:12pm EST. For further information contact the Club on 07 3262 2577 or info@aphrc.com.au Visit the Club website at www.aphrc.com.au  

Champion New Zealand harness racing trainer-driver Mark Purdon, deeply disappointed when his horse Mr Mojito, hot favourite at 10/9, sustained a flat sulky tyre soon after the start and raced at the rear before finishing 11th behind Chicago Bull in the McInerney Ford Classic at Gloucester Park 12 months ago, has high hopes of make amends for that unfortunate setback by driving Ultimate Machete to victory in the $125,000 Group 1 Yes Loans Four-Year-Old Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The Yes Loans Classic replaces the McInerney Ford Classic, which has been a summer carnival feature event since 1996. Ultimate Machete, whose 21 starts have produced nine wins and ten placings for stakes of $574,905, will be a dominant favourite after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m classic. The Bettors Delight stallion earned a trip to Perth after scoring a superb victory over the experienced top-flight pacer Tiger Tara in the $234,000 Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington last Friday when he had a tough run in the breeze before surging past the pacemaker Tiger Tara 70m from the post and beating that pacer by a neck, rating 1.51.9 over 1950m, with final quarters in 27.9sec. and 26.9sec. The $234,000 Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington last Friday Ultimate Machete was driven by Natalie Rasmussen, who described him as a “serious horse” who would love the style of West Australian racing. “He’s got good gate speed and can also sit out wide and run home strongly,” she said. “He just keeps on going and doesn’t lie down; getting into a dog fight is his go in life.” Ultimate Machete gave a sample of his class on his only previous visit to Australia, when he finished third in a heat of the New South Wales Derby at Menangle last February before finishing a 1m second to his brilliant stablemate Vincent in the 2400m final in which the final 400m was covered in a sizzling 25.5sec. Late last year Ultimate Machete’s wins included the Group 1 $156,000 Sires Stakes at Addington, the Group 2 Alabar Classic at Alexandra Park and a listed $195,000 classic at Alexandra Park when he dashed over the final 800m of the 2200m event in 55.5sec. Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall Snr and star reinsman Gary Hall Jnr have combined to win the McInerney Ford Classic five times, including the past three years, with Waylade, Beaudiene Boaz and Chicago Bull. They also won with The Falcon Strike in 2001. Hall Snr won the event, previously known as the Coca Cola Pace and 6PR Classic, as a reinsman with Love of Glory (whom he trained) in 1990, Valley Champ (1993) and Slick Vance in 1995. Hall Snr has two runners in Friday night’s classic --- Herrick Roosevelt (Hall Jnr) and Runrunjimmydunn (Michael Grantham) --- who are capable of fighting out the finish after starting from back-line draws. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice is hoping for a powerful performance from Rocknroll Lincoln, who warmed up for the Group 1 event with an impressive all-the-way victory over Herrick Roosevelt and Wrappers Delight in a Golden Nugget prelude last Friday night. Rocknroll Lincoln will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line, with the Ross Olivieri-trained Wrappers Delight (Chris Voak) at No. 2. Prentice said that he has been a fan of Ultimate Machete and held the horse in high regard. “I’ve always watched him because he is a half-brother to my good mare Major Reality and I have always liked him,” he said. Major Reality has had all her 36 starts for Prentice in WA for 20 wins, nine placings and stakes of $389,239. Her victories have included the Group 3 Gold Bracelet as a two-year-old, the 2015 Group 1 WA Oaks, the Group 2 Empress Stakes, the Group 2 Norms Daughter Classic and the Group 3 Golden Girls Classic at Pinjarra. Prentice will drive Major Reality from barrier six in the $50,000 Clipsal By Schneider Electric Norms Daughter Classic on Friday night. He has engaged ace Victorian reinsman Chris Alford to handle his other runner, Quite A Delight, who should be prominent from barrier two on the front line. It is an outstanding field which includes the outstanding Victorian six-year-old mare Ameretto, who will be driven by her trainer Kerryn Manning from barrier seven. Ameretto is in dazzling form, with seven wins from her past eight starts, with her only defeat in this period coming two starts ago with a wonderful second to Lennytheshark in the Victoria Cup at Melton. She will take a power of beating at her WA debut. Among WA’s hopes in the race are the Hall-trained Ideal Alice, who is drawn to lead from the No. 1 barrier, the speedy Eden Franco (a winner at each of her past six starts), the impressive Skye Bond-trained Donegal Rundlescreek and the speedy New South Wales grey mare My Rona Gold, a dashing all-the-way winner over millionaire pacer Bling It On in a 1609m trial in 1.54.2 at Menangle on Tuesday of last week. Ken Casellas

Lennytheshark, brilliant harness racing winner of the Inter Dominion championship in Perth two years ago, is still racing with youthful enthusiasm as an eight-year-old and looks a certainty in the second heat of the Choices Flooring Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night.     He has no difficulty in handling the tight 805m circuit at Gloucester Park where he has appeared five times for three wins and two seconds. Trainer David Aiken and reinsman Chris Alford are looking confidently to Lennytheshark winning in the opening set of qualifying heats for the third successive year. The handsome stallion is unbeaten in his current campaign of three starts, making most of the pace in all three wins, scoring decisive victories over My Field Marshal in the Smoken Up Sprint at Melton (rating 1.51.9 over 1720m), beating Ameretto and Tiger Tara in the 2240m Victoria Cup at a 1.53.2 rate at Melton and smashing the track record when he rated 1.55.4 in defeating My Field Marshal in the Yarra Valley Cup over 2650m. Lennytheshark is favourably drawn at barrier three on Friday night and Alford should be able to send him to an early lead, with the drivers of his inside runners Majordan (Luke McCarthy) and Vultan Tin (Chris Voak) expected to be happy to enjoy handy runs on the pegs behind the champion. Voak said that he expected Vultan Tin (a runaway winner in considerably weaker company over 2536m two starts ago) to slot in three back on the pegs and was hopeful that the Phil Costello-trained six-year-old would finish in the top four or five. Tiger Tara (barrier seven) and Motu Premier (No. 9) have excellent place prospects. Tiger Tara, to be driven by Todd McCarthy for trainer Kevin Pizzuto, is in splendid form and his past 19 starts have produced 11 wins and five placings. He has won twice and been placed three times from his five starts in his current campaign. Tiger Tara dashed to the lead 100m after the start and set a brisk pace when a neck second to Ultimate Machete in the $234,000 Group 1 Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All at Addington last Friday. That followed his outstanding third behind Lazarus and Jacks Legend in the 3200m $800,000 New Zealand Cup three days earlier when he worked hard in the breeze, broke into a gallop 800m from home and lost four lengths in dropping back to eighth before recovering to run on from seventh with 200m to travel. Before his two excellent New Zealand runs, Tiger Tara had worked hard, three wide and then in the breeze, at his two previous outings before scoring in fine style over 1609m at Menangle, with times of 1.51.3 and 1.51.8. Motu Premier, to be handled by dual Inter Dominion winning driver Chris Lewis for trainer Ross Olivieri, fared badly in the draw and faces a very difficult task from the outside in the field of nine.           “It looks tough from out there,” said Lewis. “But I expect Motu Premier to perform well in the series.” Gary Hall Jnr said that Ohoka Punter also faced a difficult assignment from barrier six. “However, if he draws to lead in the remaining heats he will prove hard to catch,” he said. An interesting runner is the Greg Bond-trained nine-year-old Our Jimmy Johnstone, who has not raced for seven weeks, since finishing a well-beaten 11th behind Shandale at Gloucester Park. That followed a close-up second to Run Oneover at his previous outing, five weeks earlier.   Ken Casellas

Chicago Bull, Australia’s latest equine millionaire, is thriving and star harness racing reinsman Gary Hall Jnr is planning for an all-the-way win in the third heat of the Westral Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “The plan is to take full advantage of the good draw (barrier two) and come out as hard as we can and score maximum points,” Hall said. “It will be a matter of all guns blazing.” Chicago Bull is noted for his devastating finishing bursts, but he is also an accomplished frontrunner, as he showed at his latest appearance, when he set the pace and held off a determined late challenge from Soho Tribeca to beat that pacer by a half-head in the 2536m James Brennan Memorial three Fridays ago. Hall said that he had no worries that Chicago Bull would be able to handle four tough Inters runs in the space of just 15 days. “I have no concerns at all; that’s one thing that is in his favour,” he said. In talking up the small, inconspicuous-looking bay gelding’s prospects on Friday night, and in the series, Hall said: “His past few workouts at home have been sensational.” Drawn inside Chicago Bull at No. 1 is Egodan, a New South Wales pacer trained by Kevin Pizzuto. Egodan, to be handled by Todd McCarthy, has good gate speed. But it is hard to see him holding out Chicago Bull in the early stages. The six-year-old Egodan’s two most recent victories have been when he has produced a strong finishing burst over 1609m at Menangle. Mark Purdon’s talented six-year-old Have Faith In Me, Australasia’s fastest pacer, will have many admirers from barrier five but the gelding has been slightly disappointing with unplaced efforts at his past three starts, including his last-start eighth behind Lazarus in the 3200m New Zealand Cup last Tuesday week when he fought on from eleventh at the bell. Have Faith In Me created a tremendous impression on his first Australian campaign, early in 2016, when he was unbeaten in four starts at Menangle, including the Chariots of Fire and the Miracle Mile when he got up in the final stride to beat Lennythshark by a short half-head, with his time of 1.47.5 setting an Australasian record over 1609m. Galactic Star is likely to prove one of Chicago Bull’s chief rivals on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred five-year-old has returned to the Forrestdale stables of leading West Australian trainer Skye Bond after having three starts at Menangle for two wins and one run in Melbourne for a solid-finishing fifth behind Lennytheshark in the 2240m Victoria Cup for trainer Craig Cross. A winner at 19 of his 36 starts, Galactic Star will start from barrier seven, with Ryan Warwick in the sulky. Others with sound place prospects in Friday night’s heat include Americanbootscoota and San Carlo. Americanbootscoota, trained by Debra Lewis and driven by her husband Chris, is a big, strong Allamerican Ingot five-year-old who will start from the No. 4 barrier. He possesses excellent gate speed and there is a possibility that Lewis could gamble in a bid to burst to an early lead. San Carlo, a winner at 20 of his 24 starts, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six and will need plenty of luck. He led from barrier two and won the 2690m Maryborough Gold Cup from My Field Marshal and Mr Mojito at his latest appearance, on October 29. He was an eye-catching fast-finishing sixth behind Lennytheshark in the Victoria Cup at Melton at his previous outing. Ken Casellas

New Zealand superstar Lazarus, the raging hot harness racing favourite to win the $1.1 million final of the TABtouch Inter Dominion championship at Gloucester Park and with a remarkable winning record of 86 per cent, is facing the serious possibility of being beaten in the opening heat on Friday night. Lazarus, undefeated at his past eight starts and fresh from his devastating victory in the New Zealand Cup at Addington earlier this month, has drawn the outside in the field of nine in the 2130m heat and prominent West Australian breeder and owner Rob Watson is bubbling with confidence that his outstanding five-year-old Soho Tribeca will prove the master of Lazarus. “Soho Tribeca has drawn barrier two and the draw is certainly in our favour,” he said. “Our aim will be to lead.” Watson revealed that Soho Tribeca had worked brilliantly last Saturday morning, saying that the big, powerful stallion had recorded a sensational time, leaving trainer-reinsman Kim Prentice buoyant and extremely bullish about the horse’s prospects, not only on the first night of the series, but in the rich final over 2936m. “Soho Tribeca recorded some amazing sectionals on Saturday and has pulled up in great shape and is ready to go,” he said. “Kim couldn’t be happier, and I don’t think he can sleep at night; he’s so excited.” Asked to compare Soho Tribeca with Lazarus, Watson said: “I really don’t know, to be honest. They have never raced against each other. I know that our horse is capable of some amazing things, but I’m sure Lazarus is as well. So, I guess it’s hard to line them up, but the barrier draws are in our favour. “There is going to be a bit of speed from Devendra (the polemarker). But I think we should land in front and the only problem then could be Run Oneover, regarding what he does at the start.” Run Oneover, trained by Gary Hall Snr, bounced back to his best form last Friday night when he started from barrier five and dashed to the front after 400m before going on to win comfortably from Mysta Magical Mach, rating 1.54.1 over 1730m. However, reinsman Gary Hall Jnr said that it was his early intention not to bustle Run Oneover at the start from the No. 4 barrier. Ace Christchurch trainer-reinsman Mark Purdon is disappointed that his champion has drawn the outside barrier but punters will be unwise to underestimate the brilliant pacer who has amassed $2,652,139 from 31 wins and five placings from 36 starts. Soho Tribeca is overdue for a change of fortune after having been narrowly beaten into second place at each of his past three starts, losing by a head to Shandale over 2130m, by a head to Chicago Bull over 1730m and by a short half-head to Chicago Bull over 2536m. Soho Tribeca, who made most of the running to win the Group 1 Vicbred Classic for four-year-old stallions and geldings at Melton early in July this year, also showed his class when he won the Golden Nugget from Nathans Courage and Chicago Bull at Gloucester Park last December. Watson declared that Soho Tribeca had improved considerably since his Nugget success. “He’s far better now and has become a stronger horse,” he said. “He’s an amazing animal, big and strong and is improving all the time.” A win by Soho Tribeca would complete a remarkable hat-trick for Watson, whose two previous Inter Dominion runners at Gloucester Park have been Faking It (2004) and Auckland Reactor in 2012 (as a member of a syndicate). Faking It, trained by Gary Hall Snr and driven by Gary Hall Jnr, won the first heat on the opening night, beating Double Identity, driven by Prentice. Then, in 2012, Auckland Reactor, driven by Anthony Butt, won the first heat on the opening night. Neither Faking It nor Auckland Reactor was placed in the final. Now Watson would dearly love to win the first heat of this year’s Inters series and then go on and triumph in the rich final. Ken Casellas

Jack Honan very likely dined at Billy Soo’s famous Chinese restaurant at mid-western Blayney - for everyone in harness racing it was pretty much a compulsory stop - and the two larger-than-life characters would have been very much at home in each other’s company. They were fondly recalled at Sunday's TAB Carnival of Cups meeting at Blayney, where the Jack Honan Memorial and Billy Soo Memorial Blayney Cup held pride of place. And quite remarkably, they were linked when the winners of those feature races successively became the track record holder for the 2400 metres course. Might And Main, for Bernie Hewitt, led throughout in the Honan Memorial, a much-prized C0 final which alternates through the Western District clubs, and the mile rate of 2:02.6 easily eclipsed the 2:03.1 rate set by prolific racewinner Abercrombie Dexter way back in 2005. The Art Major daughter, raced by APG director Trevor O’Reilly and his wife Louise, has won both starts this time in and always had the race in her control after being allowed to run along in front by Hewitt, who believed that the longer trip would test many of the field. That proved the case, with runner-up Kamwood Izzy, third-placed Shadow Hunter and Switowski breaking clear of the field to contest a race of their own over the last half-lap. The new record lasted just two hours, until the Billy Soo Memorial Blayney Cup, the Club’s signature race, where Amanda Turnbull and $1.40 favourite Mrs Browns Boy NZ charged out of the gate and kept the speed on throughout, to bolt in by the day’s biggest margin of 21 metres. And the mile rate of 2:01.9 - very sharp for a three-lapper on a track slightly less than half a mile - erased Might And Main’s record before it had even been pencilled in. Billy got the final say over Jack, on this occasion at least! The winner looks to be a particularly impressive type, resuming here from a three-month break and unbeaten now in seven Australian starts. His trainer will look for suitable Carnival of Cups races for him as the season unfolds. Amanda, who had taken out an earlier C0/C1 final, the Peter Marshall Memorial, with Taihape Sunset NZ, had turned in something of a staying performance of her own to even make it to the meeting. After competing in a lady drivers’ series at Albion Park the previous night, she’d risen at 3.20 in order to make a 5.30 flight to Sydney, before a three-hour drive back to Bathurst and the loading up for the forty minute last leg up to Blayney. Hard to imagine any late-night television for this lass on Sunday evening! Goulburn trainer-driver Brad Hewitt made his trip profitable by winning both of the Club Menangle heats run, the C0 grade with Real Obsession NZ, and the C1/C2 event with Our Triple Play NZ. Both turned in very tough performances, winning from the death seat, and the latter made it a hat-trick of track records for the day by lowering the 1640 metres standard set by The Wifes Calling back in 2014 to a 1:57.4 mile rate. HRNSW Chairman Chris Edwards, whose term concludes in coming weeks, was on hand for his last Carnival of Cups meeting, along with fellow Board members Rod Smith and Peter Nugent. Also present were the NSW Minister for Racing Paul Toole, Federal member Andrew Gee and  Mayor Scott Ferguson, who spoke proudly of the ongoing development of the facility into an international equestrian centre. Well-wishers and decision-makers every way you looked, but the day really belonged to Billy and Jack. Terry Neil

Trainer Mark Purdon knows the public expectation on the series favourite. The early bird may catch the worm but more importantly he avoids he flies. Which is why Kiwi pacing hero Lazarus has been working in the dark this week. The two-time New Zealand Cup champ kicks off his Inter Dominion campaign in a very tricky opening heat at Gloucester Park in Perth around midnight (NZT) on Friday, drawing the worst possible barrier with hard-running local Soho Tribeca drawn to lead and burn over the 2100m mobile. Trainer Mark Purdon knows the public expectation on the series favourite and realises there can be no easy introduction to the series. Lazarus is probably going to have to work to sit parked and outmuscle Soho Tribeca, who has even opened favourite with Tabcorp. "He is a good horse Soho Tribeca, I saw him winning here last year and he will be hard to catch," said Purdon. "But we are there to win, we have to be with Laz's following. "So I guess we will probably circle them at some stage but it won't be easy, I can tell you that." While Purdon doesn't know what result to expect from Friday night's opening heat he is at least happy Lazarus and his three stablemates Have Faith In Me (Inter), Ultimate Machete (four-year-old races) and Piccadilly Princess (mares) handled the long haul to Perth well. "Ultimate Machete was the one who was tiredest but that is understandable considering he raced older horses and beat them in a fast time on Friday. But seeing Laz arrive in such great shape makes me happy we missed the free-for-all with him." The All Stars quartet at staying at the same Gary Elson stables from where Smolda won the Interdom last season and Purdon says lessons learned from that campaign have already been incredibly valuable. "Last season I was learning as I went along but I know the environment and a few more tricks now." Two of those tricks are avoiding flies and the heat, which means the alarm clock goes off a bit earlier. "Back home we would work Laz anywhere between 7 and 9.30am but here he is usually done by 5.30am. "Once the sun comes up it not only gets hot very quickly but the flies come out and they can be a real pain, even for the local horses but especially ours because they are not used to them. "If you work them when the flies start buzzing around the horses can kick out at them and potentially kick you out of the cart or get their legs over the hopples. "So we get their work over and done with before 6am and then they can go out in the paddock where they wear mesh rugs and covers for their necks and faces. "These are all things I learned last year and although the training track here is a little different from home it is not going to make a huge difference to how we work." If Lazarus can sit parked outside Soho Tribeca and beat him it will send shivers down the spines of rival connections but defeat would not be a disaster for Purdon. The brutal nature of the series and lack of depth in the heats means energy and legs conserved with a placing can pay dividends without jeopardising Grand Final hopes. Cases in point: both Lennytheshark and Smolda (twice) were beaten during the series before winning the last two Perth finals. Have Faith In Me meets local star Chicago Bull in the third heat on Friday in which a placing would be a good result while Lennytheshark will be unbackable in the second heat. Inter Dominions •First round heats: Friday Nov 24, three A$75,000 heats over 2130m at Gloucester Park, Perth •Second round: Tuesday Nov 28, three A$75,000 heats over 2100m at Donaldson Park, Bunbury •Third round: Friday December 1, three A$75,000 heats over 2536m at Gloucester Park, Perth •Grand Final: Friday December 8, A$1.1 million over 2936m mobile at Gloucester Park, Perth •Other Grand Final night highlights: A$200,000 Retravision Golden Nugget (Ultimate Machete); A$125,000 Westral Mares Classic (Piccadilly Princess) MIchael Guerin

BOTRA Tasmania has confirmed that a fundraising campaign to assist Matilda Rawlings with her education going forward has raised over $11,000. The money will be distributed by BOTRA Tasmania over the next five years. Matilda tragically lost her mother Sharyn Slater in September not long after the family moved to Victoria where Matilda's father Andrew had taken up employment with John and Maree Caldow. BOTRA Tasmania would like to acknowledge the support of a number of businesses including Olympus Feeds, Hygain Feeds, Kohnke's Own, Cressy Chaff Cuters, Roberts Equine Supplies, along with drivers in Tasmania and Victoria who donated their driving fees at selected meetings. Duncan Dornauf - Tasracing

While New Zealand harness racing fans are going loopy for Lazarus, New South Wales is shouting loud for Lenny, and the Vics are crazy for San Carlo; WA's contingency of TABtouch Inter Dominion runners are ready to compete in the biggest, and most exciting test known to standardbreds! THE BULL CAN WIN Chicago Bull has been vying for the top WA contender spot since rankings have been released, and has put away the best in the west to date. His multiple Inter Dominion winning driver Gary Hall Jnr says The Bull is up to the challenge.  LEWIS HAS BEEN THERE BEFORE Champion WA driver Chris Lewis has two Inter Dominion championships to his name and is expecting his two drives this year to thrive in the exciting traditional format of the world renowned series. GET YOUR TICKETS TO THE VOAK SHOW Popular WA driver Chris #VoakTrain Voak is pumped to be involved in the 2017 TABtouch Inter Dominion series, and rates the chances of Vultan Tin and Jambiani. TRIBECA; EXTRAORDINARY One of harness racing's most influential owners says Soho Tribeca is going extraordinary in the lead up to Pacing's big dance. 22 November 2017 | GPTV | Scott Hamilton

With harness racing on the Southern Tablelands having been underway since early October at Canberra, local trainers looked well prepared to continue their success at Goulburn Paceway next Monday afternoon. Crookwell’s Daniel Rowell is one trainer who has enjoyed a wonderful start to the season, with the young mentor enjoying a winning double during October, and a very impressive win by stable star Roarn in race 5 on Tuesday night’s program. Solidly backed on fixed odds, the five-year-old P B Bullville gelding was taken straight to the front by Canberra reinsman Scot Osmond who adopted ‘catch me if you can’ tactics when leading throughout in a blistering 1:56.4 mile rate, only three tenths of a second off the track record held by Group 1 performer Scandalman.   Scott Hewitt, who, while not enjoying any wins so far this season is another local who is well positioned to perform strongly at Goulburn. Having moved back to the family farm at Lost River, Scott is training a good team of pacers and is looking to make this an even better season than last year when the young trainer scored his first metropolitan training success with Verdot. Monday’s meeting at Goulburn will be an afternoon affair with the first race tentatively scheduled to start at 1.42pm. Goulburn’s trainers have worked tirelessly preparing the 1000 metre circuit for the new season, and if last Sunday’s trial results are any indicator, the times will be lightning fast after the David Hewitt-trained Scotambra recorded a blistering 1:54.3 mile rate for the 1710 metre distance. Gates to the course will be open from noon. See goulburnpaceway.com.au By Mark Croatto Reprinted with permission of The Crookwell Gazette

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The Tamworth Harness Racing Club held their awards night last Friday – with plenty of winners. Congratulations to Lola Weidemann for taking out the drivers premiership at Tamworth while Julie Weidemann won the trainers and owners premierships. The Mare of The Year was Aussie Vista while Readily was the Horse of the Year. The locals then began to shine, with Tom Ison picking up the N&NW Young Drivers Award as well as The Pub-sponsored Drive of the Year behind the Richard Williams trained Never Die. The Tamworth Harness Racing Club Young Achiever Award was presented to Rory Brown, while reinswoman Courtney Sutherland picked up the Encouragement Award and David Pike was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award. Tim Varga achieved the Rookie of the Year Award, and Vince Brennan picked up the Contribution to Harness Racing in the North West Award. Tony Missen won the North-West Trainer Award for the third year running. Women take the reins Albion Park had a novel way of trying to draw attention to their meeting last Saturday night.  It was a race program where the men had the night off with only women drivers taking the reins.  The women were invited from all the states. Lola Weidemann was one of those contenders before she headed to the Inverell meeting on Sunday afternoon with only a couple of hours sleep. Conducted on a point score system, Queenslander Brittany Graham took the honours just over Kerryn Manning from Victoria. Inter Dominion starts tonight The Inter Dominion kicks off tonight with the first round of heats to be conducted at Gloucester Park, the second round on Tuesday at the Bunbury Trotting Club, then back to Gloucester Park on December 1 for the third round of heats. The $1.1 million final of the Inter Dominion will be held on December 8 at Gloucester Park.  The Inter Dominion is the richest horse race in Western Australia and is seen by many as the pinnacle of Australasian harness racing. Back in Tamworth If you would like to witness the action of harness racing closer to home, the Tamworth Harness Racing club will stage an eight-event card tonight with the first race set to go at 6.18pm. Friday tonight’s Tamworth harness races will be preceded by a trial. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader
Tamworth trainer Tim Varga has had a stellar start to his first season of racing – so much so that he has taken out the Tamworth Harness Racing Club Rookie of the Year Award. Varga has hit the ground running and heads into Friday night’s Tamworth HRC meeting with two runners. In The Pub Drive of the Year-Tom Ison Pace, Varga has his runner Bold And Famous contesting the race alongside his parents-owned (John and Noelene) Mitrhys Magic. “There is conflict already at work,” joked Varga. The family members work together in their business, Johns Auto Service, with plenty of banter going on as to who will be first home on Friday night. Bold And Famous is raced by Tim Varga along with younger brother Anthony and sister Kerryanne Davis, with Tim the trainer. The gloves will be off, so to speak, as Anthony Varga – a reinsman in his own right – has elected to retain the drive behind Mitrhys Magic. Mitrhys Magic will commence from the six barrier tonight while Bold And Famous has drawn the three barrier. “I backed my award up with another winner last Sunday,” added Tim Varga, with Bold And Famous coming into Friday’s race a last-start winner at Inverell. “He [Tim] has done a good job with this mare and we got the lucky run at Inverell in on the leaders back. We didn’t have to do much work,” Anthony said. “I was pretty confident down the back at Inverell.” It was back to back wins for Anthony Varga at Inverell when he drove the Les Enks trained Sassy Shannon for a win. Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader
The Inter Dominion has finally arrived and the “Fab Four” - Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Soho Tribeca and Chicago Bull - look set to dominate the harness racing series. Most members of the WA Trotting Media Guild, along with betting agencies throughout Australia, believe Kiwi superstar Lazarus will have his colours lowered by Soho Tribeca in the opening heat at Gloucester Park on Friday night and they have labelled 2015 Inters victor Lennytheshark and reigning Fremantle Cup and WA Pacing Cup champ Chicago Bull as the best of good things after both pacers drew ideally in their respective heats. While most Guild members have tipped Soho Tribeca to halt Lazarus’ winning run, TABradio’s announcer Matt Young and GPTV’S Ken Casellas have made the Kim Prentice-trained and reined pacer their best bet. Young explains. “Soho Tribeca has finally come up with a marble but against the best horse in the Southern Hemisphere in Lazarus,” he said. “I'm still very keen and believe he will lead and win this and make his mark as a genuine threat in the final. If Lazarus beats Soho Tribeca on Friday, the series is as good as over.” And Casellas agrees. “The five-year-old Soho Tribeca is drawn to lead and he should carry too many guns for the brilliant Lazarus, who faces an acid test from the outside barrier in the field of nine,” he said. “He is my star bet on what should prove a dazzling night of pacing action.” Leading tipster Stuart Lowe, longshot king Pat Harding, Guild president Wayne Currall and veteran tipster Bill Brindley are all keen on Chicago Bull. Lowe spoke for his colleagues when he declared Chicago Bull WA’s best pacer. “Chicago Bull has won 13 of his last 20 starts and looks a live chance in the final,” he said. “Set a new Gloucester Park track record for 1730m of 1.51.6 two starts ago. Looks hard to beat here from barrier two.” The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, TABradio’s race caller Matt McDermott and Sunday Times columnist Robbie Dewar have all made Lennytheshark their star bet. Manning spoke for his colleagues when he said Lennytheshark was a genuine superstar. “Lennytheshark has drawn ideally at gate three and has proven he can handle Gloucester Park,” he said. “His three wins there have been highlighted by the 2015 Inters final and he looks a major chance to take the title again this year. He has looked back to peak form in Victoria wins at his past three starts.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft is keen on Kiwi pacer Ultimate Machete. “Ultimate Machete was impressive in winning the Woodlands NZ Free-For-All last Friday defeating Tiger Tara, who is a $13 chance for the Inter Dominion series,” he said. “This week he has drawn the pole for his assignment in the Yes Loans 4YO Classic and will be very short but should be winning.” VALUE BETS Matt Young: Sheer Rocknroll gets the perfect draw to have a soft run in a race with plenty of depth. Ken: The Trilogy, to be driven by his trainer Kristian Hawkins, is racing with great enthusiasm. Stuart: Superfecta, who had very good form in New Zealand before a solid second here at only WA run, is well drawn and should be respected. Pat: Livura hasn’t had much luck in his last two races, but with Chris Lewis aboard and a good draw should be hard to beat. Wayne: El Jacko is drawn to get a soft run behind likely leader Bettor Be Lively and can be dangerous late. Bill: Costa Del Magnifico has drawn the pole and will take a power of beating in the lead. Ernie: Mr Mojito, a winner at 11 of 23 starts, covered extra ground from a second-row draw when unplaced in strong company last start. Can bounce back here. Matt McDermott: Lazarus was at $2.25 with TABtouch midweek. While Soho Tribeca himself is going great guns and has the favourable draw, better than evens for the New Zealander is hard to ignore. Robbie: Noted frontrunner Thereugo’s class could see him overcome an unfavourable back-line draw. Ryan: Sokys Bigbullet has impressed since joining the stables of Tony Svilicich and looks to have a bright future as outlined by his success in the Bunbury Cup last Saturday. To view all of the Media Guild Tips for this week click here. Good punting. Wayne Currall
Durham Park Stud today issued a media release informing of the sad passing of 2017 Australian harness racing three-year-old filly of the year, Petacular. Durham Park confirmed the Breeders Crown champion was euthanized after breaking a cannon bone while spelling in the paddock. Owner and breeder Bruce Edward was devastated. “It’s an absolute shame, but after discussions with the surgeons at Ballarat Veterinary Practice we decided it was unfair on the mare to put her through a complex operation and six to eight months of recovery in a box with expected complications for a low chance of recovery,” Mr Edward said. During her racing career Petacular won 19 races and had seven placings from 26 starts for earnings of $454,083, including Group 1 wins in the two-year-old Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final and the Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown 3YO Fillies Final. She will also be remembered for her four brave second placings in Group 1 finals, including the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 3YO Fillies Final, the Victorian Oaks, the NSW Oaks and the 2YO Fillies Breeders Crown Final. Mr Edward said Petacular would have gone on to be “an important broodmare at Durham Park Stud”. Re-live Petacular's memorable 3YO Fillies Breeders Crown victory At trainer/driver Michael Stanley’s request Petacular was buried on his farm. The Stanley stable issued a statement today, which read: “It is with much regret and a tremendously heavy heart that I inform the racing industry of the tragic loss of our beautiful, brave mare Petacular (Bonnie). "Whilst spelling, she had a freak accident in the paddock. Petacular was dearly loved by all involved at the Stanley Stable and will be deeply missed, particularly  by Mick, who shared a very special bond with her, as did her best friend RoRo (Soho Angel). She was treated like the Queen and she knew herself that she was so special. "We would like to acknowledge Bruce Edward and the and the PETstock Racing Syndicate for entrusting her in our care. Every moment with Bonnie was a pleasure and we are privileged to have been a part of her life. Thank you for everything BonBon. RIP big girl”. Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) extends sincere condolences to all involved with Petacular. Fans are continuing to send tributes to the filly on social media. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)
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