Day At The Track
Donna Castles,harness racing

Sofala set to chase ‘gold’ in the city

The small New South Wales township of Sofala, near Bathurst, is regarded as Australia’s oldest surviving gold town because it remarkably still attracts prospectors and fossickers more than 70 years since the last gold mine closed down.   And now a five-year-old harness racing gelding, named after the tiny township nestled in the Turon River valley, is about to chase his own riches.   Prepared by enthusiastic Shepparton training-driving couple Doc Wilson and Donna Castles, the in-form Sofala (Safari-Sass And Bling (Falcon Seelster USA) will take the next big step soon with a tilt at Melbourne’s Tabcorp Park Melton.   “The horse has certainly hit his straps in recent weeks on country tracks, so we think he deserves a chance at city racing,” Castles said.   And there’s certainly been a touch of class about his impressive recent victories at Swan Hill (mile rate 1.56-8) on March 7, then eight days later at Cobram with a 13m runaway win in 1.55-9.   While he has an impressive seven wins and six placings from 20 starts for over $30,000, it hasn’t all been down easy street for Sofala, raced by keen stable client Greg Corbett, of Sydney. Sofala will be accompanied to the “big smoke” by his stablemate, trotting mare Fatouche (Yankee Spider-U R Whatu Eat NZ (Frugal Gourmet USA), who was a last start Melton placegetter.   Donna Castles returning to scale with stable star Sofala after his recent win at Swan Hill.   Castles said the pacer had been a work in progress since her partner Wilson broke him in.   “He was so difficult to gait up and would spend six weeks in training, then go out for a bit of a spell, and then back in and out, and so on,” she said.   “Fortunately, Greg is very patient and just leaves it all up to us.”   Castles said his early ill-gaited habits still presented a chink in Sofala’s armour on occasions.   “I’ve got to watch him now and again when driving him in races because he can get his rhythm a little skewiff and lose momentum - but he’s getting better and he’s still learning,” she said.   “It could easily be a bit of a confidence thing now. I think one of the tricks to him is he loves to be out and free-running.   “A few months back at a Shepparton meeting, we drew the inside of the back row and he wasn’t comfortable one bit. He paced terrible and was a handful.”   Castles, who is a daughter of legendary Sydney horseman Jim Castles, and his wife Monica, moved to Shepparton with Wilson 16 years ago.   “We had a smart pacer at the time called Awaba, who we’d raced successfully in three States – NSW, Victoria and Queensland – and we thought he’d be our breadwinner,” Castles said.   “But it wasn’t to be as the horse broke down and that was the end of that.   “We were shattered and couldn’t call off our relocation plans because we had sold our home in Sydney!”   Before going sore, Awaba won nine races and had four placings in 14 starts during a 10-month period from May, 2002. He finished his career with 13 wins and nine placings from 35 starts for over $70,000.   Awaba now lives his life in retirement, apart from serving a few mares, at the Wilson-Castles property.   Despite being around horses all her life, Castles said that while growing up, she and her sister Sandra preferred to play sport.   “We actually hated the horses. We were right into basketball, netball, softball and swimming,” she said.   “Mum and dad would drag us off to the trots meetings and we would just lay on the floor of the car during the trips.   “Dad recently gave up driving because he’s in his 80s, but he still enjoys the training side and has one in work at the moment.   “In my early days with Doc at Shepparton I did harness them up for him and help clean boxes and that sort of stuff.   “Then I found that it was a necessity that I turn my hand to training as big WA breeder Mick Lombardo sent quite a few down to be broken in.   “So, it progressed from there and I’ve had a driver’s license for seven or eight years. I still remember my first drive was at a non-TAB meeting at Cobram because I didn’t want too many people watching in case I stuffed up! But it was all good and I finished in the placings.   “Of course, these days I do enjoy it, particularly when I can get a winner for our stable clients.”   Sixteen-year-old daughter Georgia, who is studying Year 11 at school, gives a helping hand whenever she has the time.   “And it’s much-appreciated because we have a team of 28 at the moment, which can get pretty full on,” Castles said.   “Georgia did the mini pony trots for a while with a lot of success, but she’s devoted to doing well at school now.”   The Wilson-Castles combination has been ticking along nicely this season, but it’s probably no secret they’re hoping there’s another Awaba just around the corner.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Frost En Ice,Harness racing

Rasmussen praises master trainer

Kylie Rasmussen can read a race better most, but even she had given up all hope of getting her $61 outsider home in Saturday night’s inaugural Changeover At Burwood 2yo Classic at Albion Park. “I honestly thought I was running for second at the top of the (home) straight,” the talented Stanmore reinswomen said. Rasmussen was referring to her drive – the Vic Frost trained Frost En Ice, who was situated in the one-one down the back straight before they had to set out after the runaway $1.85 shot, Millwood Tilly. “The favourite had gapped us and had too much of a roll-on. She (Millwood Tilly) showed an immense turn of speed (400m) which I thought was the winning of the race. “Turning for home I thought the best Frost En Ice could do was finish second,” Rasmussen said. Millwood Tilly was several lengths clear of Frost En Ice at the 200m, but at the 150m mark she had too much momentum for her young head and rolled out of her gear. Driver, Peter McMullen then did a great job of getting her back down to run second. Frost En Ice had 1.2m over Millwood Tilly (Peter McMullen) at the line. Two metres back in third was the third favourite, Xaviers Hurrikane (Nathan Dawson). The Frost trainee paced the mile in two minutes flat with a 1:56.3 mile rate. Her sectionals were 28.5, 30.9, 28.1, and 29.1. She banked $12,534 for the triumph and has now amassed $18,273 for her two wins and a second from three starts. The older of the three highly regarded Rasmussen sisters (also Natalie and Vicki), couldn’t believe the Hurrikane Kingcole filly was the fifth favourite of eight - and paid $61 to win on the fixed odds market. She then reminded people who trained, owned and bred Frost En Ice. “Vic (Frost) has always been a master trainer and it’s great to see he has another nice horse. He has done an unbelievable job with this filly. “She hadn’t raced for a month and Vic has done a splendid job to get her where she is. Two-year-olds can be flighty and unpredictable at the best of times, but this girl already feels foolproof. She is very clean-gaited and has super manners. That won her the race,” Rasmussen said. “It all comes down to the training. Vic knows all about ringcraft. That’s why he’s had so many good horses over the years, and that’s why he is highly regraded everywhere in harness racing. It’s a pleasure to drive for him,” she added. Frost said he had liked Frost En Ice since day one. “Her mother, Frostiness, won 12 races and her sire was an absolute freak and superstar. The best I have ever had anything to do with in my long career," the 78-year-old Hall-of-Famer said. Of course the New South Wales horseman (Tweed Heads) was referring to the mighty Westburn Grant (1:55.6), who he trained and drove to win 38 of his 67 starts and placed in 18 others for $2,074,916 in stakes between July 1988 and March 1993. "But this girl is a big filly and has a lovely big pacing stride on her. I really like the Hurrikane Kingcoles. They have a lovely gait on them and he seems to be able to produce good horses that go early,” Frost said. For his training efforts Frost also won a ‘Rio Cobra” sulky courtesy of race sponsor – Garrards. Other highlights came in races five and eight from Callmequeenbee and Slice Of Heaven. The Gemma Rue (Bathurst NSW) trained Callmequeenbee sat three-wide and then parked to win the WCF Team Teal Female Drivers Challenge. Race winner, Chantal Turpin, said the 4-year-old Shadow Play mare felt the winner a long way from home. “I thought she would be too tough for this field and I drove her that way. She’s a nice mare all right. Hopefully she will be back next week for one more race. She’s quality,” Turpin said of the $1.40 favourite. Three races later the Donny Smith trained and Nathan Dawson driven Slice Of Heaven won his second race in four days in the Hyperstat Open Pace. That’s now 11 from 19 on the track and 18 from 40 overall ($108,708).   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Ryley Major,Harness racing

Hillier says Ryley Major is the best

“Ryley Major is by far the best horse I’ve ever trained,” declared Beauty Point trainer-driver Rohan Hillier. “That’s nothing new, I’ve been saying that since day one, his mum Shez Ryleymak was a star for us and this bloke would pick her up and tow her.” Ryley Major ($1.30) returned to the track last night in Launceston after nearly three years in the paddock after suffering a serious tendon injury in 2016. “It’s been a long road back, we’ve has a couple of setbacks with him along the way, he’s been back in work for six months now and we spend a couple of hours with him everyday treating him and getting him right so it’s been a concerted effort to get him back but it was all worth it to see him return the way he did last night,” said Rohan. “He felt good in the run, I just let him find his rhythm early settling just worse than midfield before bringing him into the race out three-wide just inside the bell,” said Rohan. “Ryley Major cruised to third at the 400-metre mark and I had a good grip on him when he coasted to the front halfway down the stretch before going on to win four or five metres, recording a 1:59 mile, I was confident his class would carry him through last night and if everything goes to plan we will look at the Easter Cup with him.” Ryley Major completed a winning treble for the Hillier stable with Rohan’s first starter Dusty Martini ($1.70), a Betterthancheddar-Smiling Angel three-year-old strolled to an effortless win on debut and Dufrense ($1.40) made a successful return from a 10-month lay-off to score a convincing five-metre victory.   Shane Yates

Chicago Bull,Harness racing

Aussie news

A LIFE ban and possible criminal charges await a lunatic who threw his shoe at the field in the feature race at Gloucester Park last Friday night. As the runners in the $50,000 Group 2 Sales’ Classic neared the winning post with a lap to go, a young man threw a shoe at the leader, Shockwave, but miraculously the field was not disrupted. It could so easily have caused a fall and harm to horses and drivers. Gloucester Park Operations Manager Tony Williamson said two shoes were throw onto the track and one hit the sulky of a horse. “We called the police, they’ve taken their details and they are fairly well know young guys here in Perth who play footy. The stewards are taking it from here,” he said. “One of the young men will be banned. What he did was ridiculous and dangerous.” The race was won by emerging star Patrickthepiranha, who had a lovely sit on a hot speed and just scored by a head. It wasn’t the only big three-year-old race on the night. The other saw Gary Hall Sr’s pair Eloquent Mach just stave-off boom Kiwi import Major Trojan by a nose in a 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2130m. They both look serious WA Derby players. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ GARY Hall Sr can’t hide his excitement, Not only is his sidelined champion Chicago Bull back in work, but the hopples went on this week. “So far so good. He’s back quicker than we thought, but it was a guess. They hadn’t seem injuries like his,” he said. “You don’t get many like this guy and his season came to an end so abruptly. It’s great to have him back. “There’s no rush from here. Just a long, steady build-up to get his fitness and confidence then back to races.” Chicago Bull had a freakish reaction to an injection, flipped and badly damaged his back the day after an Alexandra Park win took him into NZ Cup favourite last October. Chicago Bull’s arch-rival, Soho Tribeca, is also back in rehab work, but a long way off racing. “He looks great, but has just started some slow pace work. Hopefully he makes it back when he’s ready,” trainer-driver Mick Stanley said. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ INTERESTING to see Golden Nugget winner and highly-rated former Kiwi pacer Ana Malak switch stables, albeit briefly. The young star won the Nugget for Greg and Skye Bond, but is back in work with Dean Braun for a campaign. “It’s just for this campaign to see what he can do over there,” Bond said. “He’s a free-for-all horse now in Perth or just a M2/C7 in Victoria so there’s more opportunities for him over there.” Ana Malak finished a soft third in a Geelong trial on March 4, indicating he was still a way away from racing. The entire has raced just nine times for seven wins, two placings and $237,499. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER classy Kiwi pacer Cash N Flow is gradually finding his mojo for the Craig Cross/McCarthy team. The six-year-old former All Stars’ gelding made the most of a lovely Luke McCarthy drive to win the Menangle free-for-all in a slick 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2300m last Friday night. Cash N Flow worked to the front, but McCarthy was content to take a sit on his brother, Todd, aboard race favourite Majordan. Cash N Flow then took an inside run to score by 2.7m over the talented Ellmers Image with Majordan another five metres away in third spot. Menangle’s other feature, the $50,000 Group 2 Tatlow 2YO, produced a stirring finish with favourite Mistery Road, a son of Mr Feelgood, snatching a half-head win over Krafty Bart in a 1min54.4sec mile. Mistery Road’s driver Anthony Frisby teamed with much-improved mare Major Occasion for arguably the win of the night in race three. The four-year-old ran right up to her huge second to Our Dream About Me in the Group 1 Ladyship Mile when she did all the worked and won in a 1min50.6sec mile last Friday. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ THE good babies are starting to emerge in Australia. At Bendigo last Thursday, Marg Lee unleashed nicely-bred colt Jilliby Nitro, a daughter of Bettors Delight out of Safely Kept mare Kiewa Valley. Kiewa Valley, a winner of seven races, has just the one foal to race, Rockmemama (21 starts, seven wins and $148,860), including the NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO fillies’ final. Off the back of a sharp Geelong trial win, Jilliby Nitro packed too much speed for his rivals to win by 2.2m in a 1min56.2sec mile rate for 1650m. At Horsham last Monday, Emma Stewart unleashed her highly-rated colt Be Happy Mach for an impressive win from off the speed. Chris Alford had to dodge traffic and come deep in the last lap, but Be Happy Mach still clocked a private 56.2sec last half out deep to win by 3.4m in a 1min57.5sec mile rate for 1700m. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ STILL on babies and I’m honoured to have a superbly-bred one named after me having its first run at Terang on Tuesday. Soho Hamilton, a brother to Soho Tribeca and half to Carlas Pixel and Soho Nolita, is trained and driven by Mick Stanley and owned and bred by Rob Watson. “Hopefully he does you proud,” Stanley said. “His stable name is Adam. He’s showing plenty of talent, but I can’t help but think whatever he does this year he’ll be a better three-year-old.” Watson said: “Mate we only name the good ones after good people. I think this bloke goes nearly as good as you.” ______________________________________________________________________________________________ AUSTRALIA has so many iconic country cups and Broken Hill’s version is certainly one of them. About as remote a venue as you can get, a big crowd packed Broken Hill and watched respected SA horseman Greg Norman’s gelding The Deal thrash his rivals in the $14,000 feature last Friday night.   Adam Hamilton

Former AFL star Rhys Palmer is reportedly in a critical condition after a motorbike accident in Perth last night. The former Fremantle and Carlton player was riding in Perth last night with his partner on the back of the bike when they were hit at an intersection. Nine News Perth reported the 30-year-old is in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of Royal Perth Hospital after requiring surgery. Palmer plays for Swan Districts Football Club and the team’s operations manager Phil Smart said he had visited Palmer in hospital this morning and revealed he’d been placed in a coma, according to Perth Now, after having his spleen removed and losing a lot of blood. “It’s more positive than it was last night, but he still has a fair way to go,” Mr Smart said. “They (doctors) said he had been responsive to different things.” It is understood his passenger was not badly hurt. Palmer plays in the WAFL for Swan Districts and the club issued a statement this morning about the crash. “The club is of the understanding that Rhys was driving the motorbike and was not to blame for the accident,” the statement said. “It must be noted that the accident was not related to any of the events of the previous 48 hours.” Former AFL star hurls shoe onto race track Swan Districts Chief Executive Jeff Dennis said his thoughts are with Palmer, his partner and their families. “The health and wellbeing of Rhys and his passenger is of utmost importance to the club,” he said. “There is no consideration of anything else at this point in time.” The news comes a day after Palmer was involved in a bizarre incident at the harness racing at Gloucester Park, where his shoes were “thrown” at a horse mid-race. Footage from a race showed the trotters making their way down the straight before getting the final lap underway when a shoe can be seen hurling through the air before landing on the track. Palmer issued a statement late yesterday saying he had been “wrestling” with a mate when the shoe was flung, and apologised for the incident. “No shoe was deliberately thrown at a horse during any race and I have the utmost respect for the racing community and all those involved,” he wrote. “It was simply unfortunate timing. I was having a light hearted wrestle with a young teammate, oblivious to what was happening around us. “What transpired was a shoe being thrown which unbeknown to us was unfortunately at the same time the horses had made their way around the course.” Palmer won the 2008 NAB rising star and made a name for himself as a member of the Fremantle Dockers before joining the GWS Giants. After being delisted by Carlton following the 2017 season, Palmer returned to Western Australia where he signed with the Swan Districts in the West Australian Football League. The club struggled throughout the 2018 season finishing eighth on the ladder of nine teams and winning only six out of 18 games. Reprinted with permission of News.com.au

Former Kiwi pacer Shelby Bromac turned around a disappointing heat run to win the $75,000 Tasmania Cup harness racing final in Hobart on Saturday night. Now trained in Victoria by David Aiken, Shelby Bromac was confidently driven by junior reinswoman Kima Frenning to land a decisive victory over War Dan and Star Chamber. The two favourites, Sicario and Scooterwillrev, both missed the start and took virtually no part in the race while co-backmarker Harjeet faded after a torrid run. Shelby Bromac had been unbeaten in Australia until he missed a place in his Tasmania Cup heat in a performance that Frenning said left connections "scratching our heads." "We made a few gear changes and, because he didn't pace great last week, I drove him aggressively tonight to find the fence," she said. Frenning went forward three wide early to find the death and rolled to the lead with 1-1/2 laps to go. Shelby Bromac looked to control the race from then on but War Dan closed strongly late to get within 1.7m on the line, with Star Chamber 6m further back after another gallant run. ............................................................. VICTORIAN favourite Enchanted Stride sat in the death to win the $30,000 Tasmanian Oaks - but only just. The David Miles-trained and driven filly took until the last stride to run down local Spoilt Sport whose driver Alex Ashwood tried to pinch the race coming off the back straight. "The second horse went super but my filly was great because the race wasn't run to suit her style," Miles said. "It's not her go not to have a helmet in front of her." ...................................................... OATLANDS trainer-driver Matthew Cooper was overjoyed after his class mare Call Her Julie outstayed her rivals in the $20,000 George Johnson. "This is my biggest thrill in harness racing," said Cooper who also owns the seven-year-old. Call Her Julie settled near the rear but sustained a strong three wide run over the last lap to score by 4m. .................................................... DEVONPORT-owned Max Delight gave trainer David Aiken a feature double when he made a one-act affair of the $30,000 Tasmanian Derby as $1.04 favourite. By Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Examiner  

The Colin Brown-trained Patrickthepiranha has shown yet again why he’s the horse to beat for next month’s WA Derby, following an eventful running of the Sales Classic (2130m) for the three-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park last night. In a race marred by an incident where two spectators threw shoes on to the track, all six horses managed to get around safely and it was Patrickthepiranha that outlasted the rest. Brown also had Its Rock And Roll in the $50,000 event, which he drove, while Dylan Egerton-Green took the drive on Patrickthepiranha. The veteran reinsman tried to find the front on Its Rock And Roll, but Shockwave was able to hold the front from barrier three. The early speed allowed Patrickthepiranha to settle behind the leaders and gain the perfect run throughout. Patrickthepiranha hit the front with 100m left, before $91 outsider Walsh flashed down the outside late to almost cause a major upset. The Four Starzzz Shark gelding held on to win by a head and ran home in 58.9. Egerton-Green said he was impressed by Patrickthepiranha’s performance and was fortunate to avoid a serious accident after the incident. “We actually didn’t see it, so he was fine,” he told RWWA Harness. “The horse went good and he’s probably got a bit of room for improvement off that run. “I don’t think he saw Walsh coming. “He always finds the front then switches off a bit, so I’ve probably got a bit of training to do there.” Egerton-Green said he was confident Patrickthepiranha could go to the WA Derby on April 6 without another run, but said the Group 2 Western Gateway next week could be a suitable option. Brown said he would consider running Its Rock And Roll in the Western Gateway next week as well. In the filly’s edition of the Sales Classic, Has No Fear proved too classy for her rivals in scoring a 7.4m victory. Elsewhere on the night, Eloquent Mach and Major Trojan continued to enhance their WA Derby claims, running first and second respectively in the WA Derby Prelude (2130m). The pair finished produced a repeat of the result from the Battle Of Bunbury last Saturday night. Meanwhile, Handsandwheels justified his short-priced quote to take out the Group 2 4&5YO Championship (2130m) for the Andrew De Campo stable. Handsandwheels was able to control the race from barrier one and never looked like being beaten. Vincenzo Peruggia and Lord Willoughby filled the minor placings. In the Free-For-All event of the evening, consistent pacer The Bucket List made a well-deserved return to the winners circle, storming home to beat Whozideawasthis and Vultan Tin.   Tim Walker

The former AFL player at the centre of a bizarre incident in which a pair of shoes were allegedly thrown at horses during a race at at Gloucester Park last night has responded to the claims with a social media post. Swan Districts player Rhys Palmer posted an update on the saga on Facebook about 4.00pm this afternoon, stating he wanted to provide “clarity as to the events that unfolded” that were just a case of “quite simply boys being boys”. “Firstly, let me be clear, no shoe was deliberately thrown at a horse during any race, & I have the utmost respect for the racing community and all those involved,” the post read. “It was simply unfortunate timing. “I was having a light hearted wrestle with a young teammate, oblivious to what was happening around us. “What transpired was a shoe being thrown which unbeknown to us was unfortunately at the same time the horses had made their way around the course.” In the post, Palmer apologised to the owners, trainers and drivers involved, as well as his football club, and said security footage would support his version of events. He rounded his response off with a pledge to donate to the Off The Track program that rehomes retired racehorses. While some remained sceptical, many who responded to the post applauded Palmer’s efforts to allay concern the incident was deliberate. Racing and Wagering WA stewards are investigating the incident with a possibility the culprits will be banned from all harness racing, horse racing and greyhound racing clubs in WA. Palmer has been playing in the WAFL since his AFL career ended in 2017 after 123 games with the Dockers, the Giants and finally Carlton. Swan Districts has confirmed their players were involved in the incident at Gloucester Park and were investigating what happened. One of the horses in the race was part-owned by the Swan Districts coach. By Rory Campbell Reprinted with permission of 7News Perth

For Jeff Connelly, training standardbreds is an escape from the battles of life on the farm. It's something to look forward to when the times are tough and a distraction from the day-to-day grind. And given that the sport is only a hobby, it's no surprise the 70-year-old has long periods without success. But Connelly was the toast of home club Birchip on Sunday when his gelding Clontarf Guy bolted up in the McLennan Bulk Fuel Pace (2150m). Driver James Herbertson had the son of Union Guy tucked away three-back-the-pegs for much of the race, but found clear air down the back straight the final time and the horse zipped around the field for a dominant victory. The result ended a long time between drinks for the Birchip Harness Racing Club committee member, who last prepared a winner all the way back in November 2000. On that occasion, it was Pop A Top Again that broke through for his one and only career triumph. Since then, Connelly has had more than 140 starters without a win. "I gave it (training) away for five years. I'm a farmer and I just lost a little bit of interest for a while," he said. After that break from the sport, it was essentially Clontarf Guy that encouraged Connelly to go and regain his trainer's licence. "I would have broken Clontarf Guy in and it would have taken me two years to get him running. And I wouldn't have got my licence back until he was ready to go ... so it's been five or six years (I've been back training)," Connelly said. "It's taken until now to win a race with him ... it's been a battle." Clontarf Guy's breakthrough came at his 41st trip to the races and at the age of eight. But given the way he attacked the line to win by more than 12m, there looks to be a few more in store. "I went there not expecting to win the race," Connelly, the breeder and owner, said. "I've changed his training and I changed his blinkers ... he raced at Swan Hill three weeks ago and he was showing a lot there, but they locked wheels and he got flattened. He was put out of the race more or less. "But on Sunday, he was just a different horse. I had a damn good day. I was rapt and I wasn't expecting it - not the way it happened." Connelly, a former president of the Birchip club and past winner of the Mallee Bull Pacing Cup, said he became involved in horse racing around the time he moved to his farm about 40 years ago. "Horses take my mind off the farm. We have some tough times on the farm and if I've got a horse to jog around of a morning, you think of something else instead of the farm," he said. A bumper crowd turned out for Sunday's meeting and watched Dunrobbin take home the 2019 Mallee Bull Pacing Cup. Trained by Mark Thompson and driven by Rodney Petroff, the four-year-old gelding beat Top The Ace (Peter Fitzpatrick/James Herbertson) and John Richard (Rod Carberry/Michael Bellman). Clontarf Guy has drawn barrier four for the Patrick Dwyer Memorial Pace (2250m) at Boort on Sunday. Tim O'Connor for Trots Media

TASMANIANS will be keen to claim Max Delight as one of their own, or at the very least acknowledge his local connection, on Sunday night. Although prepared in Victoria, the David Aiken-trained youngster is owned on the Apple Isle by Michael Maxfield, who purchased the son of Bettors Delight at the Australian Pacing Gold Sale. As such, Max Delight is heading across Bass Strait to tackle the state’s Derby in Hobart. The Blue Riband is part of a sensational card which includes the Pacing Cup, Trotters’ Cup and Oaks. “Michael wanted him to come down to try and win the local Derby,” Aiken said. “He will head over on the boat this arvo and get there in the morning. “With Menangle on Friday night this week Todd McCarthy will make the trip down to drive him.” McCarthy combined with Max Delight to capture the New South Wales Derby at Tabcorp Park Menangle a fortnight ago. While he was among the outsiders in the Group One, Max Delight is a short-priced favourite this time around after drawing to lead throughout from barrier two. “He came through his Sydney runs in great shape,” Aiken said. “I gave him a couple of light days after that and he has been working up nicely since. “He’s drawn well and will be pretty hard to beat.” To be given another short break following this weekend’s assignment, the colt is poised to return to the scene of his Group One triumph later in the season. “He will have a little freshen up after the Derby,” Aiken said. “He is New South Wales-bred so the Breeders’ Challenge in June will be his next main target. “I’ll see what I can find in between as a lead-up to that series.”   APG Media

For someone who has been around horses a long time, Tayla French admits she sure took her sweet time getting her harness racing drivers’ licence. After a failed medical test at age 16 put her plans on hold, French finally took the plunge again last year and gained her licence in August. Now that she’s got it, the 21-year-old daughter of Heathcote trainer Terry French plans on making the most of every moment. Success came early for French, who notched her first winner at Kilmore just three weeks into her career. “That was a real eye-opener … I didn’t really know at that point what it was like to be in the front of the field,” she said. “It was Illawong Lively, who is trained by Lynne Mercieca in Toollen. “She’s done a really good job and really supported me. And it was against one of our horses (Nelbell).” French, who has started sharing the training duties with Terry in their hometown of Heathcote, had to wait a little longer for her second winner, but that only served to make it even more special than the first. Her success aboard Joeys Hangover at Shepparton on February 13 was the first together for the father-daughter combination.  Tayla and Terry French combine for a win with Joeys Hangover at Shepparton on February 13. Picture: SHEPPARTON HARNESS RACING CLUB   “I jumped off another horse of ours at Echuca on New Year’s day and Michelle Phillips drove it for us, so the first win for dad could have come a bit quicker,” she said. “But it’s hard to say ‘no’ to an outside drive if you have one of your own in the race. “You need the outside drives, so you jump on when asked. I was very happy for Michelle though.” French knows it won’t be the last time she comes up on the losing end of a race involving one of her horses. “I do actually smile and a bit of the crowd has picked up on it … they’re saying why are you smiling when you finished back in the field … but I’m like, my horse just won,” she said. “It’s happened to me a few times, so I’m getting used to it.” Previously trained by Shane Gilligan at Shepparton, Joeys Hangover added a second win for the French team at Shepparton earlier this month, with Tayla confident there were plenty more in-store for the four-year-old gelding. French’s progress in the sport has accelerated through her association with one of Bendigo’s top trainer-drivers Chris Svanosio, with whom she works a couple of mornings each week at the stable he shares with veteran trainer and harness racing identity Bruce Morgan at Junortoun. It’s the start of a frenetic work day for the young driver, who travels straight back to Heathcote, where French and her partner are building their home, to work her and Terry’s six horses. She is also employed five days a fortnight as the medical surgery receptionist at Heathcote Primary Health. French praised Svanosio guidance, both around the stables and during track work, as ‘first-class’. “His stable is absolutely flying at the moment – there are a few last-start winners in here,” she said. “I am really happy for Chris and all us girls, who work here behind the scenes, because he does do a lot of work. “Whether he’s got a horse at Mildura the night before and getting home at 3am, or is at Swan Hill or Ballarat, he’s always up early and straight at it … and he won’t go home until the work’s done. “He always has an encouraging word for us. I can only see it being onwards and upwards from here.” As one of a bunch of promising young female drivers from the Bendigo region, French – together with Shannon O’Sullivan, also from Heathcote, Michelle Phillips and Monique Burnett – took on roles as ambassadors during the industry’s recent Team Teal campaign, to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. She described the experience as ‘humbling’ and ‘a huge opportunity’. “It’s unbelievable getting to wear the teal pants and to understand the meaning behind it and just how big an issue it is, “ French said. “And to actually get a winner in my first year in teal pants was huge …. awesome. “I’ll definitely remember that first winner, especially because it was with dad too. It’s a good feeling to get under your belt.” By Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

A father and son harness racing combination from the small north west Victorian township of Ouyen teamed up with boom sire Auckland Reactor to steal the limelight in spectacular fashion at Mildura on Wednesday night. Astute horseman Murray Jardine produced highly-talented Mallee Reactor (Auckland Reactor NZ-Our Angel Flight (In The Pocket) and Ian Raymond (Auckland Reactor NZ-Black Dress (Village Jasper) to post an eye-catching double. Both winners were handled by his reinsman son Simon, who drove copybook races to get “the chocolates” on the short-priced fancies. “I’m really enjoying it at the moment because dad has them flying,” a jubilant Simon said. “They’re the only two by Auckland Reactors in our stable, and we are now wishing we had a few more,” he said. “They are two nice horses and we aren’t rushing them, just bringing them along slowly and picking out suitable races in our area as we go. “I don’t know if dad will be tempted in a few months to make a trip south to Melton or not, but I reckon he should certainly think about it.” Mallee Reactor was at least 40 metres off the leaders in the early stages of the opening race on the Mildura program, the DNR Logistics Pace for C1 class pacers, after being caught wide and snagged back to second last. Come On Elvis and Friends set a blistering pace with a sharp lead time, followed by quick opening quarters of 28.6 and 29.7 secs. “I was actually wondering when they were going to ease up because they certainly weren’t waiting for anyone,” Simon said. Friends, a well-backed second-favorite, was pulled up out of the race with broken gear with a little over a lap to go, but Denbeigh Wade still kept her foot on the accelerator with Come On Elvis, recording closing splits of 29 and 29.6 secs. Mallee Reactor, three wide and three back with a lap to go, appeared to be cruising. And this was certainly the case, because when Jardine launched down the back straight, they charged to the lead on the home corner for a super win. While the mile rate of 1.56-4 was a few seconds outside the track record, it’s rarely posted by C1 class competitors on the not-so-spacious 805 metre Mildura circuit. “I think I might have made a bit of an error in running Mallee Reactor at Mildura on December 28 when it was so hot,” Murray said. “His next run about 10 days later when he got third was okay but he wasn’t as sharp as he could have been,” he said. “In saying that, I’m not taking anything away from the two who beat us. They were very good on the night.” Mallee Reactor now has the awesome career record of seven starts for six wins and a third placing for over $21,000. He will race at the Ouyen Cup meeting on Sunday week, March 24, then Mildura on April 2 with his major assignment, the $14,000 Mildura Guineas, on Mildura Pacing Cup night, April 13. The second leg of the Team Jardine/Auckland Reactor double came via four-year-old gelding Ian Raymond, who took out the Tasco Petroleum Pace, also for C1 horses. The pacer, raced by popular Ouyen identity Helen Chisholm, was bred by Helen along with her late brother Ian Raymond, hence the name. “He was always travelling comfortably and dug deep when I asked him for an effort,” Simon said. Ian Raymond lobbed in the sweet seat from the wide six draw and did look the winner a long way from home. After zipping out three wide at the bell, the gelding worked past the leaders on the home corner and cruised to the line with plenty in the tank. Former SA junior driver Jayden Brewin, now based in Victoria, drove a well-deserved double at Mildura, with Cashwrangs Smoker (Chief Marty-Glassawyne (Sports Town) and Ned’s Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Winter Rose (In The Pocket). Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Last year Bernie and Cath Hewitt were delighted to lay their hands on their maiden Gold Crown trophy, but now they have another career first to celebrate. The Bathurst Harness Racing Club has announced the Georges Plains couple as the Bathurst Gold Crown Carnival honourees. The Hewitts are synonymous with the harness racing industry and undoubtedly had their greatest season last year with Group 1 success with College Chapel in the Gold Crown and Royal Story in the Breeders Challenge Finals. “My board’s selection of Bernie and Cath as the Gold Crown honourees for this year is a reward for their many years of service and dedication to the harness racing industry,” club president Wayne Barker said. “Any success in sport only comes about through sheer hard work and dedication to the cause and Bernie and Cath epitomise this, so it was a very easy decision for the board to select them this year as our honourees." Bernie Hewitt has trained and driven 1,400 winners since 1983 and rates Nikalong Shadow, Super Nik, Pretty Sassy and Read About Lexy as some of the best horses he has trained and driven. “I’ve been very fortunate to drive some great horses throughout my career. Nikalong Shadow was one of the best, he was trained by Dad, won 45 races and also contested the 1989 Inter Dominion in Perth. I have very fond memories of that year,” Hewitt said. “It seems such a long time ago now since I drove my very first winner, Smokey Comedy at Canberra back in the late 70s. "I would have only been out of school 12 months then, but that first win is something I’ll never forget. “This is a tough sport and a lot of long hours involved in the training and racing, however Cath and I love what we do and I couldn’t have got to where I am today without the love and support that Cath has given to me. Cath deserves the recognition as much as me.” The Hewitt family relocated to Bathurst in 2001 and had instant success, winning two Bathurst training and driving premierships. They eventually set up their home at Georges Plains, which now encompasses a magnificent establishment that can cater for up to 45 horses. “I have everything I need here at home. I can walk out the back door and basically start work straight away,” Hewitt said. “It is fantastic to see Jase, Doug and Gem all involved with harness racing. All three have been very successful in the training and driving ranks as well. I couldn’t be any more proud of them. “It’s was a shock to us both when we were informed of about the selection, and to be included in the list of Gold Crown Honourees, the who’s who of harness racing, it doesn’t get any better than that." By Danny Dwyer Reprinted with permission of The Central Western Daily

All roads will lead to Inverell this Sunday for the club's big Carnival of Cups harness racing meeting. And with an eight-race program set down, it is looking to be a good day out. There are also plenty of last-start winners on the program. The $10,000 Tabcorp Carnival of Cups Pace has attracted two last-start winners, in Ballator Thor from the Greg Coney stables, and Rolamax for the Neil Kliendienst stables. Both runners will come into the feature with wins at Tamworth last week. The win of Rolamax had an added bonus, with trainer and reinsman Neil Kliendienst picking up his first winning drive since his return to the sport after a 14-year absence. He is looking forward to gracing the Inverell paceway once again for the first time in a long time. Armidale pacer Peggy Sue Shannon will also head to the Inverell meeting after a last-start win for trainer Les Enks, in taking out the Billy Grima Memorial at Tamworth on March 7. She was driven by Lola Weidemann, and will contest the Kevin & Kay Seymour Mares Pace at Inverell. The Inverell meeting has also attracted plenty of Queensland trainers including the Dayl March stables, with my money going on Clintal Do in the final race of the day. Local Inverell pacer Bandan has drawn the one barrier in the Blue Gem Contractors Pace and will have a strong following after a last-start win at Tamworth for trainer Julie Hobday, who trains the pacer for her father Col Hobday. It was certainly a special win by Bandan at Tamworth, as Col was celebrating his 79th birthday on the day. Happy birthday Col. Inverell will kick off their big meeting at 2pm, and local identity Greg Kachel will be in town to call the program. Tamworth trainer Ernie Mabbott enjoyed watching a first-up win from Cause A Big Scene, who was resuming from a spell at Tamworth last meeting.  The gelding had contested his last start back in May, 2018 for the Tim Gillespie stables in Queensland. Cause A Big Scene is raced by John Varga and his son Anthony, who also handled the reins for a 10-metre win over race favourite Jakes Art (Bread Elder) in the Dome Financial Group Pace. The Mabbott stables then turned their focus across the border, with Hedges Avenue recording another impressive win, in the Australian Female Drivers Championship Heat 7 last Saturday night. Reinsman Kelli Dawson utilised the sprint lane in the race, with Hedges Avenue's mile rate 1min 56.1sec for 2138m. Hedges Avenue paid $34 for the win. Hedges Avenue is raced by Mabbott, along with his son Anthony. Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

It's Tasmanian harness racing's biggest day and no-one faces a bigger task than Todd Rattray and his star pacer Harjeet. But the Longford trainer-driver says his backmarker can win the Group 11, $75,000 Tasmania Cup in Hobart on Saturday night "if he gets the right run." Harjeet will start off 30m, alongside former winner Star Chamber, and will be giving a start to some quality rivals headed by Victorian-trained Sicario and Tasmanian arch-rival Scooterwillrev. "Obviously he's got to get through the field but if he gets the right run I can't see him being out of it," Rattray said. The trainer was well satisfied with Harjeet's second behind Scooterwillrev in his heat because early interference cost him valuable ground. He wasn't knocked around when it became obvious he couldn't catch the leader and Rattray said the horse "had a fair bit left at the finish." He had a fair bit left at the finish (of his heat) Trainer Todd Rattray The standing-start holds no fears for Harjeet who has won four of his six starts from behind the tapes and never missed a place. "He always begins safely, sometimes quicker than others, and he's getting better with every run so I reckon he'll be right," Rattray said. The trainer rates Sicario as his biggest danger. "I think he's just a real good horse but there are plenty of others that also have a chance," he said. The race will determine future plans for Harjeet. "If he wins, he becomes an M4 horse so that would probably make the Easter Cup too hard," Rattray said. "He'd probably have to go to NSW or somewhere like that." Harjeet was quoted at $10 for the final before the heats but is now $6.50 in Sportsbet's latest market. Victorian-trained horses hold favouritism for the three main support races. Max Delight, owned in Tasmania, is an unbackable $1.04 for the $30,000 Tasmanian Derby and Enchanted Stride has firmed from $2.40 to $2.25 for the $30,000 Tasmanian Oaks. Western Debt ($3.50 to $3.80) holds favouritism for the $20,000 George Johnson but local Resurgent Dream ($7 to $4.80) has been heavily backed to beat her. Although the Hobart meeting takes centre stage, there is also plenty of interest at Mowbray on Sunday night with the return of Rohan Hillier-trained stars Ryley Major and Dufrense. Ryley Major won his last nine starts in Tasmania before a long layoff. By Greg Mansfield' Reprinted with permission of The Examiner

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The small New South Wales township of Sofala, near Bathurst, is regarded as Australia’s oldest surviving gold town because it remarkably still attracts prospectors and fossickers more than 70 years since the last gold mine closed down.   And now a five-year-old harness racing gelding, named after the tiny township nestled in the Turon River valley, is about to chase his own riches.   Prepared by enthusiastic Shepparton training-driving couple Doc Wilson and Donna Castles, the in-form Sofala (Safari-Sass And Bling (Falcon Seelster USA) will take the next big step soon with a tilt at Melbourne’s Tabcorp Park Melton.   “The horse has certainly hit his straps in recent weeks on country tracks, so we think he deserves a chance at city racing,” Castles said.   And there’s certainly been a touch of class about his impressive recent victories at Swan Hill (mile rate 1.56-8) on March 7, then eight days later at Cobram with a 13m runaway win in 1.55-9.   While he has an impressive seven wins and six placings from 20 starts for over $30,000, it hasn’t all been down easy street for Sofala, raced by keen stable client Greg Corbett, of Sydney. Sofala will be accompanied to the “big smoke” by his stablemate, trotting mare Fatouche (Yankee Spider-U R Whatu Eat NZ (Frugal Gourmet USA), who was a last start Melton placegetter.   Donna Castles returning to scale with stable star Sofala after his recent win at Swan Hill.   Castles said the pacer had been a work in progress since her partner Wilson broke him in.   “He was so difficult to gait up and would spend six weeks in training, then go out for a bit of a spell, and then back in and out, and so on,” she said.   “Fortunately, Greg is very patient and just leaves it all up to us.”   Castles said his early ill-gaited habits still presented a chink in Sofala’s armour on occasions.   “I’ve got to watch him now and again when driving him in races because he can get his rhythm a little skewiff and lose momentum - but he’s getting better and he’s still learning,” she said.   “It could easily be a bit of a confidence thing now. I think one of the tricks to him is he loves to be out and free-running.   “A few months back at a Shepparton meeting, we drew the inside of the back row and he wasn’t comfortable one bit. He paced terrible and was a handful.”   Castles, who is a daughter of legendary Sydney horseman Jim Castles, and his wife Monica, moved to Shepparton with Wilson 16 years ago.   “We had a smart pacer at the time called Awaba, who we’d raced successfully in three States – NSW, Victoria and Queensland – and we thought he’d be our breadwinner,” Castles said.   “But it wasn’t to be as the horse broke down and that was the end of that.   “We were shattered and couldn’t call off our relocation plans because we had sold our home in Sydney!”   Before going sore, Awaba won nine races and had four placings in 14 starts during a 10-month period from May, 2002. He finished his career with 13 wins and nine placings from 35 starts for over $70,000.   Awaba now lives his life in retirement, apart from serving a few mares, at the Wilson-Castles property.   Despite being around horses all her life, Castles said that while growing up, she and her sister Sandra preferred to play sport.   “We actually hated the horses. We were right into basketball, netball, softball and swimming,” she said.   “Mum and dad would drag us off to the trots meetings and we would just lay on the floor of the car during the trips.   “Dad recently gave up driving because he’s in his 80s, but he still enjoys the training side and has one in work at the moment.   “In my early days with Doc at Shepparton I did harness them up for him and help clean boxes and that sort of stuff.   “Then I found that it was a necessity that I turn my hand to training as big WA breeder Mick Lombardo sent quite a few down to be broken in.   “So, it progressed from there and I’ve had a driver’s license for seven or eight years. I still remember my first drive was at a non-TAB meeting at Cobram because I didn’t want too many people watching in case I stuffed up! But it was all good and I finished in the placings.   “Of course, these days I do enjoy it, particularly when I can get a winner for our stable clients.”   Sixteen-year-old daughter Georgia, who is studying Year 11 at school, gives a helping hand whenever she has the time.   “And it’s much-appreciated because we have a team of 28 at the moment, which can get pretty full on,” Castles said.   “Georgia did the mini pony trots for a while with a lot of success, but she’s devoted to doing well at school now.”   The Wilson-Castles combination has been ticking along nicely this season, but it’s probably no secret they’re hoping there’s another Awaba just around the corner.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura
Kylie Rasmussen can read a race better most, but even she had given up all hope of getting her $61 outsider home in Saturday night’s inaugural Changeover At Burwood 2yo Classic at Albion Park. “I honestly thought I was running for second at the top of the (home) straight,” the talented Stanmore reinswomen said. Rasmussen was referring to her drive – the Vic Frost trained Frost En Ice, who was situated in the one-one down the back straight before they had to set out after the runaway $1.85 shot, Millwood Tilly. “The favourite had gapped us and had too much of a roll-on. She (Millwood Tilly) showed an immense turn of speed (400m) which I thought was the winning of the race. “Turning for home I thought the best Frost En Ice could do was finish second,” Rasmussen said. Millwood Tilly was several lengths clear of Frost En Ice at the 200m, but at the 150m mark she had too much momentum for her young head and rolled out of her gear. Driver, Peter McMullen then did a great job of getting her back down to run second. Frost En Ice had 1.2m over Millwood Tilly (Peter McMullen) at the line. Two metres back in third was the third favourite, Xaviers Hurrikane (Nathan Dawson). The Frost trainee paced the mile in two minutes flat with a 1:56.3 mile rate. Her sectionals were 28.5, 30.9, 28.1, and 29.1. She banked $12,534 for the triumph and has now amassed $18,273 for her two wins and a second from three starts. The older of the three highly regarded Rasmussen sisters (also Natalie and Vicki), couldn’t believe the Hurrikane Kingcole filly was the fifth favourite of eight - and paid $61 to win on the fixed odds market. She then reminded people who trained, owned and bred Frost En Ice. “Vic (Frost) has always been a master trainer and it’s great to see he has another nice horse. He has done an unbelievable job with this filly. “She hadn’t raced for a month and Vic has done a splendid job to get her where she is. Two-year-olds can be flighty and unpredictable at the best of times, but this girl already feels foolproof. She is very clean-gaited and has super manners. That won her the race,” Rasmussen said. “It all comes down to the training. Vic knows all about ringcraft. That’s why he’s had so many good horses over the years, and that’s why he is highly regraded everywhere in harness racing. It’s a pleasure to drive for him,” she added. Frost said he had liked Frost En Ice since day one. “Her mother, Frostiness, won 12 races and her sire was an absolute freak and superstar. The best I have ever had anything to do with in my long career," the 78-year-old Hall-of-Famer said. Of course the New South Wales horseman (Tweed Heads) was referring to the mighty Westburn Grant (1:55.6), who he trained and drove to win 38 of his 67 starts and placed in 18 others for $2,074,916 in stakes between July 1988 and March 1993. "But this girl is a big filly and has a lovely big pacing stride on her. I really like the Hurrikane Kingcoles. They have a lovely gait on them and he seems to be able to produce good horses that go early,” Frost said. For his training efforts Frost also won a ‘Rio Cobra” sulky courtesy of race sponsor – Garrards. Other highlights came in races five and eight from Callmequeenbee and Slice Of Heaven. The Gemma Rue (Bathurst NSW) trained Callmequeenbee sat three-wide and then parked to win the WCF Team Teal Female Drivers Challenge. Race winner, Chantal Turpin, said the 4-year-old Shadow Play mare felt the winner a long way from home. “I thought she would be too tough for this field and I drove her that way. She’s a nice mare all right. Hopefully she will be back next week for one more race. She’s quality,” Turpin said of the $1.40 favourite. Three races later the Donny Smith trained and Nathan Dawson driven Slice Of Heaven won his second race in four days in the Hyperstat Open Pace. That’s now 11 from 19 on the track and 18 from 40 overall ($108,708).   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland
“Ryley Major is by far the best horse I’ve ever trained,” declared Beauty Point trainer-driver Rohan Hillier. “That’s nothing new, I’ve been saying that since day one, his mum Shez Ryleymak was a star for us and this bloke would pick her up and tow her.” Ryley Major ($1.30) returned to the track last night in Launceston after nearly three years in the paddock after suffering a serious tendon injury in 2016. “It’s been a long road back, we’ve has a couple of setbacks with him along the way, he’s been back in work for six months now and we spend a couple of hours with him everyday treating him and getting him right so it’s been a concerted effort to get him back but it was all worth it to see him return the way he did last night,” said Rohan. “He felt good in the run, I just let him find his rhythm early settling just worse than midfield before bringing him into the race out three-wide just inside the bell,” said Rohan. “Ryley Major cruised to third at the 400-metre mark and I had a good grip on him when he coasted to the front halfway down the stretch before going on to win four or five metres, recording a 1:59 mile, I was confident his class would carry him through last night and if everything goes to plan we will look at the Easter Cup with him.” Ryley Major completed a winning treble for the Hillier stable with Rohan’s first starter Dusty Martini ($1.70), a Betterthancheddar-Smiling Angel three-year-old strolled to an effortless win on debut and Dufrense ($1.40) made a successful return from a 10-month lay-off to score a convincing five-metre victory.   Shane Yates
A LIFE ban and possible criminal charges await a lunatic who threw his shoe at the field in the feature race at Gloucester Park last Friday night. As the runners in the $50,000 Group 2 Sales’ Classic neared the winning post with a lap to go, a young man threw a shoe at the leader, Shockwave, but miraculously the field was not disrupted. It could so easily have caused a fall and harm to horses and drivers. Gloucester Park Operations Manager Tony Williamson said two shoes were throw onto the track and one hit the sulky of a horse. “We called the police, they’ve taken their details and they are fairly well know young guys here in Perth who play footy. The stewards are taking it from here,” he said. “One of the young men will be banned. What he did was ridiculous and dangerous.” The race was won by emerging star Patrickthepiranha, who had a lovely sit on a hot speed and just scored by a head. It wasn’t the only big three-year-old race on the night. The other saw Gary Hall Sr’s pair Eloquent Mach just stave-off boom Kiwi import Major Trojan by a nose in a 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2130m. They both look serious WA Derby players. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ GARY Hall Sr can’t hide his excitement, Not only is his sidelined champion Chicago Bull back in work, but the hopples went on this week. “So far so good. He’s back quicker than we thought, but it was a guess. They hadn’t seem injuries like his,” he said. “You don’t get many like this guy and his season came to an end so abruptly. It’s great to have him back. “There’s no rush from here. Just a long, steady build-up to get his fitness and confidence then back to races.” Chicago Bull had a freakish reaction to an injection, flipped and badly damaged his back the day after an Alexandra Park win took him into NZ Cup favourite last October. Chicago Bull’s arch-rival, Soho Tribeca, is also back in rehab work, but a long way off racing. “He looks great, but has just started some slow pace work. Hopefully he makes it back when he’s ready,” trainer-driver Mick Stanley said. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ INTERESTING to see Golden Nugget winner and highly-rated former Kiwi pacer Ana Malak switch stables, albeit briefly. The young star won the Nugget for Greg and Skye Bond, but is back in work with Dean Braun for a campaign. “It’s just for this campaign to see what he can do over there,” Bond said. “He’s a free-for-all horse now in Perth or just a M2/C7 in Victoria so there’s more opportunities for him over there.” Ana Malak finished a soft third in a Geelong trial on March 4, indicating he was still a way away from racing. The entire has raced just nine times for seven wins, two placings and $237,499. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER classy Kiwi pacer Cash N Flow is gradually finding his mojo for the Craig Cross/McCarthy team. The six-year-old former All Stars’ gelding made the most of a lovely Luke McCarthy drive to win the Menangle free-for-all in a slick 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2300m last Friday night. Cash N Flow worked to the front, but McCarthy was content to take a sit on his brother, Todd, aboard race favourite Majordan. Cash N Flow then took an inside run to score by 2.7m over the talented Ellmers Image with Majordan another five metres away in third spot. Menangle’s other feature, the $50,000 Group 2 Tatlow 2YO, produced a stirring finish with favourite Mistery Road, a son of Mr Feelgood, snatching a half-head win over Krafty Bart in a 1min54.4sec mile. Mistery Road’s driver Anthony Frisby teamed with much-improved mare Major Occasion for arguably the win of the night in race three. The four-year-old ran right up to her huge second to Our Dream About Me in the Group 1 Ladyship Mile when she did all the worked and won in a 1min50.6sec mile last Friday. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ THE good babies are starting to emerge in Australia. At Bendigo last Thursday, Marg Lee unleashed nicely-bred colt Jilliby Nitro, a daughter of Bettors Delight out of Safely Kept mare Kiewa Valley. Kiewa Valley, a winner of seven races, has just the one foal to race, Rockmemama (21 starts, seven wins and $148,860), including the NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO fillies’ final. Off the back of a sharp Geelong trial win, Jilliby Nitro packed too much speed for his rivals to win by 2.2m in a 1min56.2sec mile rate for 1650m. At Horsham last Monday, Emma Stewart unleashed her highly-rated colt Be Happy Mach for an impressive win from off the speed. Chris Alford had to dodge traffic and come deep in the last lap, but Be Happy Mach still clocked a private 56.2sec last half out deep to win by 3.4m in a 1min57.5sec mile rate for 1700m. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ STILL on babies and I’m honoured to have a superbly-bred one named after me having its first run at Terang on Tuesday. Soho Hamilton, a brother to Soho Tribeca and half to Carlas Pixel and Soho Nolita, is trained and driven by Mick Stanley and owned and bred by Rob Watson. “Hopefully he does you proud,” Stanley said. “His stable name is Adam. He’s showing plenty of talent, but I can’t help but think whatever he does this year he’ll be a better three-year-old.” Watson said: “Mate we only name the good ones after good people. I think this bloke goes nearly as good as you.” ______________________________________________________________________________________________ AUSTRALIA has so many iconic country cups and Broken Hill’s version is certainly one of them. About as remote a venue as you can get, a big crowd packed Broken Hill and watched respected SA horseman Greg Norman’s gelding The Deal thrash his rivals in the $14,000 feature last Friday night.   Adam Hamilton
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