Day At The Track
Foreclosure N, harness racing

Foreclosure N semen heading "down under"

Oakwood Stud in County Offaly, Ireland has reported that semen from their top harness racing pacing stallion, Foreclosure N, will be made available in Australia and New Zealand shortly. Kody Charles of KTC Bloodstock in Perth, Australia has been friends via Facebook with Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud for years and they finally met face-to-face in 2015. "When we first got Foreclosure N in Ireland," Derek Delaney explained, "Kody contacted me to say he has his dam in Australia and he had a keen interest in him and had followed his success as a sire in the USA. He asked about shipping his frozen semen to use for some of his mares and we stuck a deal to also make it available for outside mares too." This will be the first time that KTC Bloodstock, which is run by Kody with his mom and dad and Brittany, have been involved with shipping semen overseas and they are very excited to see his foals on the ground next year in Australia and New Zealand. "This is a new venture for KTC Bloodstock," said Kody Charles. "We are very pleased to be selected as Agent for the frozen semen of Foreclosure in Australia and New Zealand. "It has been a dream of ours for some time to get involved in a stallion, Kody explained. "and I can't think of no better stallion to get involved in at our first attempt. He is already competing with the best in the states and already has the points on the board from his first small crop. I think he will a big plus for local breeders. He will be supported by our own mares and frozen semen will be available in Australia and New Zealand for a fee of $2,500 including GST." Foreclosure N, (Rocknroll Hanover - Pleasing Package A - Fake Left) was bred in USA and foaled in NZ, then shipped back to USA as yearling, raced in the USA and Canada, then bred one crop with 21 foals in the USA. His oldest foals are now age 4 and have earned over $1 million through their three-year-old season. He finished 6th on the top 20 sires for average earnings for three-year-old pacers in 2017 and sired the Ohio Sire Stakes Championship winner, Drunk On Your Love p,3 1:51.1f. He was also recently honored as the top Ohio-bred 3-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the year in 2017 and earned $328,286 to date. Foreclosure N's richest daughter is Rosemary Rose p,3 1:51.4h $255,692, and holds the track record for 3-year-old fillies at Northfield Park with her record mile of 1:51.4 and won multiple legs of the OHSS and won the Grand Circuit event, the Courageous Lady. World renowned driver Tim Tetrick had this to say about Foreclosure N: "I think this stallion has a very good opportunity at stud," Tetrick said. "He is already having fantastic results from a small crop in the USA. I really liked him as a racehorse. He was a real professional on the track that tried hard every inch of the mile. He had a great gait with a great attitude and really wanted to do his work and was one super-fast horse." Foreclosure N was sold to Oakwood Stud in 2015 and bred mares in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England and now is going to be breeding foals in Australia and New Zealand, so it's fair to say he's well-travelled once again in his career. "Our first crop here in Ireland from Foreclosure N are now 2," Derek Delaney said. "and in training they look superb and the feedback from trainers is phenomenal at this early stage." For more information about getting semen down under for Foreclosure N, please contact either Oakwood Stud at www.oakwoodstud.ie or KTC Bloodstock at www.ktcbloodstock.com.au. By Steve Wolf, for Oakwood Stud      

$450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup

The $450,000 WA Pacing Cup draw

The Group 1 harness racing $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup was drawn a short time ago and the markets should be up in about 60 minutes.

Heaven Rocks,Harness racing

Heaven Rocks first start in Australia

It is out of the frying pan into the fire for headstrong pacing star Heaven Rocks this week. The dual Jewels winner makes his Australian debut in the Ballarat Cup on Saturday night, taking on his Auckland Cup conqueror Vincent and local Victorian hero Lennytheshark. With a campaign aimed at the Hunter Cup (February 3) and the Miracle Mile (February 24) his connections have decided Heaven Rocks has to be taken off the unruly from mobile starts so he can at least have a shot at being competitive rather than always settling last. But they probably didn’t expect the huge pacer’s first night back in the draw to result in barrier one in a hot field, which will present its own series of challenges on Saturday night. Heaven Rocks has only had one mobile start this season and behaved himself when not really asked to take on to the field in the score up in the Flying Mile at Cambridge two weeks ago. But the inside draw in the push and shove of Australian racing could see him bolt to an early lead or have no idea what to do when the outside pressure comes --- neither would surprise. Either way Vincent has emerged as the horse to beat in the A$100,000 group one over the 2710m mobile, even from barrier six, with Lennytheshark to start off the second line. Saturday’s meeting will also play host to three heats of the Victoria Derby, which is run a week earlier this season, with Spankem and The Devil’s Own the Kiwi reps against a strong local three-year-old crop. Meanwhile, an Australian campaign is off the cards for New Zealand Cup runner-up Jack’s Legend. The Auckland pacer was initially being aimed at the Chariots Of Fire in Sydney on February 10 and would have needed to contest a qualifying race but trainer Barry Purdon says the four-year-old will be staying home. “He hasn’t been quite as sharp in his last few starts and with his two huge runs during Cup week maybe he is feeling the effects of a busy start to the season,” says Purdon “We have plenty of good four-year-old races still to go up here so I will set him for those instead.” With races like the Taylor Mile, Messenger and Jewels just a month apart in the north this season and the four-year-old ranks containing Vincent, Ultimate Machete, Jack’s Legend and Star Galleria among others, that last-season treble could prove one of the highlights of the pacing year. Michael Guerin

The Barrier Draw for The Ballarat Pacing Cup

Lenny and Heaven rocked by barrier draw

More questions have been established than answered at today's staging of the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup draw.  Broadcast live on Harness Racing Victoria's Facebook page, the draw delivered a mixed bag for the favourites of the $100,000 Group 1, with Mark Purdon's pair Heaven Rocks and Vincent drawing gates one and six respectively and fan favourite Lennytheshark drawing inside the back row. Good Form analyst Blake Redden, who joined host Jason Bonnington for the barrier draw, said his confidence around Heaven Rocks had been battered by his pole draw, given the potential of the notoriously modest starter to be buried early. "It's a concern, I would have thought, given Shadow Sax (is in gate two) and ... if (Bernie Winkle in gate three) does want to find the pegs his best chance might be to race the gate early and try and get in behind Shadow Sax," Redden said. "It's certainly a concern for Heaven Rocks." RELIVE THE LIVE BROADCAST ON HRV'S FACEBOOK PAGE Redden said Emma Stewart's Shadow Sax, fresh from conquering the Stawell, Geelong and South Australian pacing cups, looked the likely early leader. "Certainly Shadow Sax ... you would have thought will be the early leader and Vincent will come and apply the pressure at some stage," Redden said. "I wouldn't be surprised if there was a real lack of gate speed. I'm not sure that anything outside of Shadow Sax is going to burn knowing they can't find the front." In their early post-draw analysis both Redden and Bonnington tipped Vincent on top, with Redden predicting victory was probably out of the picture for Victorian favourite Lennytheshark after drawing inside the back row. "He probably can't win the race, he's going to have good horses a long way in front of him," he said. "I think it's probably a good barrier draw for him given that he can have a quiet enough run, see exactly where he is at coming off that Inter Dominion preparation and perhaps target the Hunter Cup still. We will learn a lot more on Saturday night." Trots Media - Michael Howard

Hez The One turned on an awesome harness racing display to capture the Burnie Cup on Sunday night at the Wivenhoe Showgrounds. When trainer-driver Mark Yole reached for the 'go' button he must have felt like the ballistic missile defence operator in Hawaii over the weekend because instead of hitting the green button he's flicked the red and lit up Hez The One's afterburners. Hez The One accelerated with such electrifying speed that the six-year-old came from near last turning into the back at the 400-metre mark to explode to the lead in just the distance of the back straight. I can't remember a harness race that changed complexion as quickly as the Cup, one minute there were four to five winning hopes, two seconds later there was only one. Mark Yole snapped up the Jeremes Jet - Summer Fairytale six-year-old gelding out of a claiming event at Globe Derby in December and was having its third run in the state after unplaced runs at St Marys and Scottsdale. Hez The One well and truly lived up to its name early in its career dominating its South Australian two-year-old season winning eight of its first nine starts including its heat and semi-final of the Southern Cross Series before a sensational 7.7-metre victory in the $60,000 Final. Hez The One boasts a record of 20 wins and 19 placings from 62 career starts and on it's Cup run performance there may well be many more wins to come. The Allister Woods trained track specialist Laughyourheadoff came out of the pack late to challenge in the home straight but the winner was still powering to the post. Woods fired in a protest against the winner for alleged interference in the straight claiming the Hez The One had drifted up the track but stewards dismissed the objection and the placings stood with Kvitova Leis third. Short-priced favourite Full Speed Ahead lost all chance when galloping in the early stages of the 2789-metre event. The Craig Hayes Trained and driven Jeanette Barry broke through for a well-deserved victory in the Somerset Hotel Thorate Incentive. The Sportswriter - Gallavance three-year-old filly ran third to Ideal Bliss in the Evicus Final last season and finally cracked its maiden status with an all the way victory. Shane Yates

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an inquiry today into the apparent administration of a medication to the registered horse JACCKA TURK NZ which was engaged in Race 3 at Tabcorp Park Menangle on October 10, 2017, which the horse was subsequently scratched from by order of Stewards. An investigation was commenced on October 10, 2017, after HRNSW Stewards noted a smell emanating from JACCKA TURK NZ in the raceday stalls at Tabcorp Park Menangle. On that date evidence was taken from Mr Castles, the licensed trainer of JACCKA TURK NZ.  A urine sample was obtained from JACCKA TURK NZ for analysis and stewards took possession of a spray bottle containing a liquid for analysis as well as a jar of Vick’s VapoRub. An analysis by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) confirmed the prohibited substance menthol was detected in the liquid contained within the spray bottle.    Mr Castles attended the inquiry today and provided further evidence. Evidence including the ARFL sample analysis report and a report from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian, Dr Martin Wainscott, were also presented. HRNSW Stewards issued two (2) charges against Mr Castles pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 192 (1)(b) & (3) as follows: AHRR 192            (1)  No person, unless he has first obtained the permission of the Stewards, shall have in his possession either on a racecourse or in any motor vehicle or trailer being used for the purpose of travelling to or from a racecourse any prohibited substance or a syringe, needle or other instrument which could be used – (b)          to produce a prohibited substance in a horse. (3)  A person who fails to comply with sub rule (1) or with a term or condition imposed under sub rule (2) is guilty of an offence. Mr Castles was found guilty of those offences and fined $500 for each offence. In addition, HRNSW Stewards issued a charge against Mr Castles pursuant to AHRR 193(3), (6) & (8) as follows: AHRR 193            (3) A person shall not administer or allow or cause to be administered any medication to a horse on race day prior to such horse running in a race. (6)  For the purposes of this Rule, medication means any treatment with drugs or other substances. (8)  A person who fails to comply with sub-rules (1), (2), (3) or (7) is guilty of an offence. Mr Castles pleaded guilty to this offence and was fined $750. Mr Castles was advised of his right to appeal these decisions. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following; The nature of the substances involved; Pleas entered by Mr Castles; Mr Castles’ 1st offence of this nature during a 60-year involvement in the Harness Racing industry; Mr Castles’ licence history and other personal subjective facts. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gadams@hrnsw.com.au Menthol Menthol is a covalent organic compound made synthetically or obtained from peppermint or other mint oils. It is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in color, which is solid at room temperature and melts slightly above. The main form of menthol occurring in nature is (-)-menthol, which is assigned the (1R,2S,5R) configuration. Menthol has local anesthetic and counterirritant qualities, and it is widely used to relieve minor throat irritation.

A new bumper night of feature racing will bring to a close the Trots Country Cups Championship with the Shepparton Cup rescheduled to form the season finale. The $50,000 Group 2 Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup will be staged on Saturday, April 28, sharing the card with the club’s trotting cup, trotting oaks and two-year-old trotters’ classic in what presents as a brilliant night’s racing. Shepparton Harness Racing Club manager Ian McDonald said it was “going to be a fantastic night”. “Having the Mildura, Horsham and Shepparton cups all in the month of April is a huge boost to harness racing in the regions and a great way to finish off the Trots Country Cups Championship,” he said. The championship, led by Bendigo Cup winner Messini, carries a $25,000 prize for the trainer and owner of the triumphant horse, a monster carrot that will help fuel a worthy edition of the great race. The cup was rescheduled after Saturday night’s meeting had to be postponed, and later abandoned, after race six due to a power outage. “There was a fire in the base of one of the light towers, most likely caused by a burnt-out capacitor that set fire to the wiring in the pole,” Mr McDonald said. “The damage is significant and there was no scope to repair it in time.” Mr McDonald said it was a shattering blow given a crowd of about 1600 people had turned out for the cup meeting, but he said all in attendance were very understanding and he was confident they’d be back on April 28. “We are blessed to have very loyal trots supporters in Shepparton who love their sport and a great night out and we look forward to having them back for the April cup.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

A disagreement between two organisations delayed Burnie’s premier harness racing event on Sunday. The Burnie Agricultural and Pastoral Society (BAPS) had locked a gate at the bottom end of the showgrounds.  The Burnie Harness Racing Club uses the gate to access an area where horse floats and trucks can park off the street. Club president Mark Summers said the society locked the gates as a form of “payback.”  “On the Burnie Show Friday we opened our bar at 3pm because that is what we do every Friday afternoon, and we have done it on other show days in the past,” Mr Summers said. “They asked us to close the bar, and this is payback for not doing that.”  BAPS vice president Peter Broadfield said he asked them to close the bar because the show aimed to be a family-friendly event. “We are just tired of their lack of common courtesy, opening the bar on the show is just an example, the last time they used our property for the racing they left it damaged,” Mr Broadfield said.  “Our board had a meeting, and we decided to change the locks because they had keys to the gate. “We have a right not to allow access through the gate as it is our private property.” We have a right not to allow access through the gate as it is our private property Peter Broadfield Mr Summers said he would have appreciated being informed of the BAPS intentions to lock the gate at an earlier date so he could have made other arrangements. “Putting the sign on there a day or two before the day we would like to normally gain access is a little unreasonable,” Mr Summers said.  Mr Broadfield said he felt the racing club should have asked for permission to use the gate and their private property.  “The way I look at it is, would you tell your neighbours that you were locking your gate up and they wouldn’t be able to get into your property or should your neighbours ask you permission to enter your property,” Mr Broadfield said.  Mr Summers said he discussed with BAPS representatives, where they voiced their concerns on public liability issues.  “They then requested we pay a fee of $500 to open up the gates,” Mr Summers said.   “We needed to get the trucks and floats and horses and everybody off the public streets as quickly as we possibly could, so I accepted the offer.” By Rebecca Morris Reprinted with permission of The Advocate

Maitland trainer Mitch Chapple is about to tackle his first Tamworth Harness Racing Club January carnival and is in the thick of it straight up. On Wednesday night, Chapple has Burning Ambition engaged in the $10,000 Pub Group Gold Nugget where the winner takes home a gold nugget as the trophy. At the tender age of 20, Chapple only gained his trainer’s licence back in early December and has trained three winners since then – two with Burning Ambition and one with Derringer. “It is the biggest race that I have nominated in but I’m looking at it as just another race at this stage,” Chapple said. “It would be a quick trip back home if we won it though.” Burning Ambition has seen the Tamworth Paceway on numerous occasions and that adds another shade of confidence for the stables. “She [Burning Ambition] is in the right class and is going pretty well so thought we would have a crack at it,” said Chapple of the Gold Nugget. “She has had a second and a couple of wins at Tamworth – she likes Tamworth.” Chapple has engaged fellow Maitland harness identity Brad Elder to take the drive. “Brad is taking the drive – he is driving good at the moment and drove a Group 3 winner last week so he is in fine form,” he said. “He loves Tamworth at the moment – I don’t think there is a meeting lately he hasn’t driven a winner at.” The Pub Group Gold Nugget had 31 nominations for the prestigious race with HRNSW handicappers selecting 10 runners. “It is a fairly competitive race but we have raced against them before so she will be right into it,” Chapple said. Burning Ambition has drawn barrier four. “Hopefully we can slide across from that draw and look for a forward position,” Chapple said. The Chapple name has featured before on the Gold Nugget Honour Board with Chapple’s father Guy having success over the years. “Dad has won a Gold Nugget with Remember Rusty [in 2007] as well as a Tamworth Cup and a Golden Guitar Final,” Chapple said. “We will contest the nugget and hopefully the Garrard’s Tamworth City Cup the following week with Burning Ambition. “I am aiming Derringer and The Puritan for the Golden Guitar heats on the Sunday.” In the Gold Nugget, Chapple said anyone could win the race but named Shadow Runner and Captain Rockey as the main dangers.  Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Raging Bull's first winner is now his first Group Race winner. Bare Knuckle put a month's worth of unlucky runs behind her when she made her Australian harness racing debut a winning one at Tabcorp Park Menangle last Saturday night. Sent out favourite in the #30,000 J L Raith Memorial, Bare Knuckle won the Group 3 mile event in quite sensational fashion because she paced roughly for a brief period at the start and gave away any advantage she'd had by drawing three behind the mobile. Settling last of the eight-horse field after that, Bare Knuckle remained there until well inside the 600m point when Natalie Rasmussen pulled off a piece of pure driving genius - shooting up the inside to a position three-deep, then using the camber of the final bend to come through between her rivals swinging for home. It meant Bare Knuckle was quickly into a position to pounce from, and that she did, steaming home centre track to win the event 'going away' by nearly four metres. With the four sectionals of the mile zipping by in 26.9, 29.5, 27.6 and 27.5, Bare Knuckle stopped the clock at a sizzling 1:51.5 - but with how much of a start she was giving her rivals as the halfway point came and went, Bare Knuckle must've also paced her final 800 metres in close to 54 seconds to get home. It was an emphatic example of the Raging Bull filly's sheer speed, something which Rasmussen and co-trainer Mark Purdon have always rated about her. Bare Knuckle's 1:51.5 mile was just two-tenths of a second outside the fastest mile recorded by a 3-year-old filly on Australian soil, an honour which just happens to belong to her illustrious stablemate Partyon who achieved the accolade in the exact same event last season.

The trainer of today's Matthews Petroleum Group three $30,000 Hamilton Pacing Cup winner Bad Billy is daring to dream with his harness racing stable star. Gary Lawlor, based at Camperdown, is likely to set Bad Billy for a tilt at the Inter Dominion in Victoria this year after the six-year-old rated 1:57.5 to overhaul gun mare Berisari for a 1.6-metre win in today's feature. “He can run home in 54, so he’s a serious racehorse,” Lawlor said.  “We always knew he’d be a better horse over 2600m. Now he’s had three starts over 2600m for a second in the Stawell Cup, third in the Bendigo Cup and won here.” Today's win made it five wins from five starts at Hamilton for Bad Billy a son of Badlands Hanover, who clearly relishes one of the state's fastest tracks. “He’s more of a speed horse this grade,” winning reinsman Jason Lee said. “Today he showed though he can do a bit of work. He probably hasn’t been able to do that against the absolute elite yet, but I just thought today talking to the boys before the race we might have to do a little bit of work to find the right position.” Lee drove a masterful race, making his move to the breeze early before Berisari circled the field to give Bad Billy one-one cover. Berisari’s driver Chris Alford, a four-time Hamilton Pacing Cup winner (Justa Jomahl in 1992, Earlsplace Ego 2003, Lady Lisa 2004 and Cruz Bromac last year), made a bold bid for victory at the home turn when he moved the Emma Stewart-trained mare to a clear lead.  And it all but worked out perfectly, but for Bad Billy's trademark late fortitude, which came to the fore at the tail end of a 27.2secs last quarter (55.7secs last half).  Bad Billy In glorious sunshine the excited connections hoisted the cup aloft, while Lee scored a glistening watch donated by local legend Peter Hyde.  It was the 50th watch donated by Mr Hyde to the Hamilton Cup winning driver, and Lee was clearly grateful for the generous gesture. "Well done young man," Mr Hyde said. Pre-race the local trots supporter had thought he was going to be giving another watch to Alford. "I think it might be Chris ... he's already got a few though!" he said. Lawlor said Bad Billy may have one more run or head to the paddock for a spell after being “up for 12 months”. “He’s won $150,000 in that time, so that’s pretty good,” he said. “He’s never ever disappointed me, not once. He always finishes off with his last 100m the best whether he wins or not. And as far as I can remember there’s never been a horse really pass him in the last 200m.” Rather than rush Bad Billy to this level before his time, the Lawlor camp has been selective with the gelding’s strategy. Lawlor explained “because we own him we don’t have to answer to anyone, so we can do what we like, which makes a big difference.” Berisari boxed on solidly to run a clear second today, while Mustang Bart enjoyed an economical trip for Gavin Lang on the pegs and captured third. Both Alford and Emma Stewart snared winning trebles. Anne-Maree Conroy won the Porthaul Hamilton Trotters Cup aboard Mick Barby-trained Regal Pepperell. A history of Metro success Lawlor is no stranger to metropolitan success in Victorian trots. He’s trained a winner at the Showgrounds, several at Moonee Valley and also success at Tabcorp Park Melton. “When I was 19 I trained Abbe Pete to win at the Showgrounds ... my father (Joe) had a champion in those days Heytesbury Meadow. He was one of the best of his time,” Gary explained. Among the Lawlor winners at Moonee Valley was Hellas Boy, who contested a Hamilton Cup for the family operation. “He won 15 races or so. He was a really good horse. I also had Paul Michael and Bert Butler," he said. Interestingly Lawlor’s equine nous was not exclusive to one code. He enjoyed three years of success training in the gallops. “I trained an Avoca Cup winner and a couple of other cup winners,” he said. “I think I had about 33 winners in three years, so that was quite good. Galloping was good because the kids were teenagers but they grew up got married and took off so I focused on the trots.” Key to the success of the Lawlor harness stable are his sons Darryl and Brian. Both are hands-on, Darryl and Gary making the decisions regarding the programming and training of Bad Billy, while Brian is an A Grade farrier. “He shoes them all," Gary said of Brian. "He was taught by Ron King and Ron King shod 12 Melbourne Cup winners. He was our next-door neighbour, so we’ve got a bit of knowledge there." The team recently retired exciting mare Lagertha and sent her to stallion Captain Treacherous. “She could have won a heap more but I said to Darryl ‘wouldn’t a colt out of her be much better to train’. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Burnie Harness Racing Club president Mark Summers said the quality entertainment on and off the field is what brings the crowd back every year.   “It’s a great family fun night out. I’m sure the tradition will continue into the future,” Mr Summers said.  Thousands of punters flocked to the racing on Sunday night. Mr Summers said the club had made a recent significant contribution to the installation of lights, which has allowed this year to be the third Burnie Harness Cup to be televised in an evening time slot. “We have updated the lights and made the most of the night-time slot to help keep us alive and help keep harness racing modern,” Mr Summers said. “Being held at night-time makes it a lot like other sports plus it’s great because it means more people can come.” Harness racing horses are standardbreds; they are slightly smaller than thoroughbreds but are often more versatile. We have updated the lights and made the most of the night-time slot to help keep us alive and help keep harness racing modern Mark Summers “There is a very large demand for the harness racing because it is a completely different type of racing,” Mr Summers said.  “Harness racing is on a track and not on the turf.”  Mr Summers said he had put his money on Full Speed Ahead, as it recently won the Scottsdale Cup and came equal first in the St Mary’s Cup. “Two horses are trained from the North-West, and ran in the 10 field race; all the other horses are from around the state,” he said.  “I would love to see a local get up.” Cam Wyndan provided live musical entertainment between races, singing crowd favourites and some unearthed folk tunes.  A classic barbecue and a fancy sit-down dining opportunity were on offer during the meeting. Mr Summers said his club might be small, but it is financially stable and plans on running the event for many years to come. Judy Sullivan from Burnie said she always makes an effort to attend. “I love it, and my children love it. It’s nice to be able to enjoy the races in a family-friendly environment,” Mrs Sullivan said.  “We will be back next year; you can bet all your money on that.” I love it, and my children love it. It’s nice to be able to enjoy the races in a family-friendly environment Judy Sullivan By Rebecca Morris Reprinted with permission of The Advocate

When Regal Pepperell began badly in today’s Porthaul Hamilton Trotters Cup the mare’s supporters wouldn’t have known how much a blessing it would end up. “It’s very lucky she bungled the start, which put me three-back,” harness racing winning driver Anne-Maree Conroy said. “I was thinking I’d be behind the leader, and if I’d been behind the leader I think the leader would have stopped and I wouldn’t have got out in time. I just got out in time because of the luck of being three-back, so it worked out well.” Regal Pepperell rated 2:03.7 in winning today’s squaregaiting feature event at Hamilton on Cup Day, defeating Crown Dream (Neil McCallum) by 3.7 metres after the pair engaged in a stirring duel.  Last year’s Trotters Cup winner El Paco finished third beaten 28.4m for Taleah McMullen. Trained by Conroy’s husband, Michael Barby, today’s win meant plenty for the tightknit team. Conroy’s father, trots legend Bob Conroy, passed away tragically last month. “This was special,” Anne-Maree said post-race today. “I’m very thrilled. Sometimes I think Dad’s giving me a bit of a push.” Bred by Geoff Hood, Regal Pepperell is one of six winners out of mare Special Code from seven at the races. “She’s the last one out of Special Code for Geoff,” Anne-Maree said. “She’s always had a rocky gait, which has seen her lose races and lose races on protest because she trots rough, but Mick’s been trying lots of different things. “The last start (a win at Geelong) was the best she’s ever trotted. She’s gone one better today and won a big race. Hopefully fingers crossed he might have sorted her out.” Race favourite My Skypocket finished in fourth place after losing about 50m at the start. The first four over the line spaced the remainder, with Super Zeck fifth (107.9m behind the winner) winning what basically became a race within the race, beating home Mister Oz, Mister Gunsen and the resuming local Irish Whisper.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

When the ‘King of the Creek’ Destreos arrived from Queensland in  mid-2017 with owner Sally Stingel and trainer Ken Rattray the question on everyone’s lips was, could the then 13-year-old wonder horse win four more races to become only the third pacer in Australasian harness racing history to reach the magical triple figures. Friday evening’s narrow victory over Remember Joe in the Longford Equine Clinic Free-For-All in Launceston took Destreos’ career winning tally to 99, the burning question has now moved on to where and when will the historic win will be attempted. “We are looking at the Free-For-All in Launceston in a fortnight followed by the Toreace Flying Mile as his next couple of assignments”, said a beaming Ken Rattray. “He’s not quite at the top of his game after missing a fortnight’s work recently so it was great to see him respond the way he did when challenged strongly by Remember Joe.” Rattray is well aware the eyes of the harness world will be firmly focussed on every move in the lead-up to the tilt at the milestone. “There is always pressure when you train a horse as popular as Destreos and with the following he has nation-wide but I wouldn’t swap it for the world, it’s a privilege for Sally and I to be associated with such a horse, he’s part of the family, that’s how we treat him, he just loves to race so while he shows us that then that’s what he will continue to do.” Kent Rattray and John Walters have formed a formidable combination in recent seasons, highlighted by their successes with Riverboat Jasper in the Easter Cup and Timely Sovereign in the Raider Stakes. The duo appears to have unearthed another potential top-liner after Sunny Sanz took the honours in the $15,000 Keith Stanley Debutante Stakes, the first two-year-old race held throughout Australia for the 2017/18 season. The Sportswriter – Soho Summer gelding, bred and raced by Nathan and Sandra Bennett of Ringarooma, was easy in the market drifting from $1.55 to $2.35 on the Tasracing Official Price fluctuations while the money flooded in for the Paul Hill prepared Cool Water Paddy, cutting its opening price from $2.25 to $1.70. Sunny Sanz stepped straight to the front for John Walters in a field of four runners over the 1680-metre trip and strode away from the Ricky Duggan-driven Cool Water Paddy to score effortlessly by 34 metres, rating 2:02.8 for the mile clocking  59.7-seconds for the last half. However all the action was behind the leading pair, Jardee and Karalta Moondance locked wheels shortly after the start with both Gareth and Barrie Rattray tipped out of the cart. Barrie was able to hold onto the reins of Jardee and drag himself back into the sulky and complete the course. Jardee was passing the 800-metre pole when the winner crossed the line but with official margins going on the time taken by an individual runner to complete the race distance the official margin from winner to third was displayed at 1,103.8 metres. The all-clear was given on the first two placegetters only but later stewards deliberated and ruled that Jardee had legitimately covered the distance of the race and reinstated it to running officially third and ruling connections were eligible for the $2100 third place prizemoney. Shane Yates

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission will not appeal a decision to have sacked harness racing chief steward David Farquharson reinstated. It has opened the door for Farquharson to return to work this week. The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission's deputy president Adrian Bloomfield last week ordered Farquharson be reinstated as of his sacking date of February 24, 2017. It was further ordered Farquharson be paid any money lost through the sacking and that his contract of employment be deemed to be continuous. Farquharson was sacked by the QRIC commissioner Ross Barnett after originally being stood down from his post in December 2016. The QIRC hearing was told the dismissal followed allegations made about Farquharson's behaviour in the third day of stewards' inquiry in July 2016. Those allegations were the basis of a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing which referred the matter back to Barnett. After two show cause notices were issued to Farquharson by Barnett he was dismissed. Farquharson denied any dishonesty and wrong doing and took his case to the QIRC which ruled in his favour. QRIC has four weeks from the date the decision was handed down to appeal. But a spokesman for QRIC has confirmed it will appeal and that Barnett would be making no public statement at this time. By AAP

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Oakwood Stud in County Offaly, Ireland has reported that semen from their top harness racing pacing stallion, Foreclosure N, will be made available in Australia and New Zealand shortly. Kody Charles of KTC Bloodstock in Perth, Australia has been friends via Facebook with Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud for years and they finally met face-to-face in 2015. "When we first got Foreclosure N in Ireland," Derek Delaney explained, "Kody contacted me to say he has his dam in Australia and he had a keen interest in him and had followed his success as a sire in the USA. He asked about shipping his frozen semen to use for some of his mares and we stuck a deal to also make it available for outside mares too." This will be the first time that KTC Bloodstock, which is run by Kody with his mom and dad and Brittany, have been involved with shipping semen overseas and they are very excited to see his foals on the ground next year in Australia and New Zealand. "This is a new venture for KTC Bloodstock," said Kody Charles. "We are very pleased to be selected as Agent for the frozen semen of Foreclosure in Australia and New Zealand. "It has been a dream of ours for some time to get involved in a stallion, Kody explained. "and I can't think of no better stallion to get involved in at our first attempt. He is already competing with the best in the states and already has the points on the board from his first small crop. I think he will a big plus for local breeders. He will be supported by our own mares and frozen semen will be available in Australia and New Zealand for a fee of $2,500 including GST." Foreclosure N, (Rocknroll Hanover - Pleasing Package A - Fake Left) was bred in USA and foaled in NZ, then shipped back to USA as yearling, raced in the USA and Canada, then bred one crop with 21 foals in the USA. His oldest foals are now age 4 and have earned over $1 million through their three-year-old season. He finished 6th on the top 20 sires for average earnings for three-year-old pacers in 2017 and sired the Ohio Sire Stakes Championship winner, Drunk On Your Love p,3 1:51.1f. He was also recently honored as the top Ohio-bred 3-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the year in 2017 and earned $328,286 to date. Foreclosure N's richest daughter is Rosemary Rose p,3 1:51.4h $255,692, and holds the track record for 3-year-old fillies at Northfield Park with her record mile of 1:51.4 and won multiple legs of the OHSS and won the Grand Circuit event, the Courageous Lady. World renowned driver Tim Tetrick had this to say about Foreclosure N: "I think this stallion has a very good opportunity at stud," Tetrick said. "He is already having fantastic results from a small crop in the USA. I really liked him as a racehorse. He was a real professional on the track that tried hard every inch of the mile. He had a great gait with a great attitude and really wanted to do his work and was one super-fast horse." Foreclosure N was sold to Oakwood Stud in 2015 and bred mares in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England and now is going to be breeding foals in Australia and New Zealand, so it's fair to say he's well-travelled once again in his career. "Our first crop here in Ireland from Foreclosure N are now 2," Derek Delaney said. "and in training they look superb and the feedback from trainers is phenomenal at this early stage." For more information about getting semen down under for Foreclosure N, please contact either Oakwood Stud at www.oakwoodstud.ie or KTC Bloodstock at www.ktcbloodstock.com.au. By Steve Wolf, for Oakwood Stud      
The Group 1 harness racing $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup was drawn a short time ago and the markets should be up in about 60 minutes.
It is out of the frying pan into the fire for headstrong pacing star Heaven Rocks this week. The dual Jewels winner makes his Australian debut in the Ballarat Cup on Saturday night, taking on his Auckland Cup conqueror Vincent and local Victorian hero Lennytheshark. With a campaign aimed at the Hunter Cup (February 3) and the Miracle Mile (February 24) his connections have decided Heaven Rocks has to be taken off the unruly from mobile starts so he can at least have a shot at being competitive rather than always settling last. But they probably didn’t expect the huge pacer’s first night back in the draw to result in barrier one in a hot field, which will present its own series of challenges on Saturday night. Heaven Rocks has only had one mobile start this season and behaved himself when not really asked to take on to the field in the score up in the Flying Mile at Cambridge two weeks ago. But the inside draw in the push and shove of Australian racing could see him bolt to an early lead or have no idea what to do when the outside pressure comes --- neither would surprise. Either way Vincent has emerged as the horse to beat in the A$100,000 group one over the 2710m mobile, even from barrier six, with Lennytheshark to start off the second line. Saturday’s meeting will also play host to three heats of the Victoria Derby, which is run a week earlier this season, with Spankem and The Devil’s Own the Kiwi reps against a strong local three-year-old crop. Meanwhile, an Australian campaign is off the cards for New Zealand Cup runner-up Jack’s Legend. The Auckland pacer was initially being aimed at the Chariots Of Fire in Sydney on February 10 and would have needed to contest a qualifying race but trainer Barry Purdon says the four-year-old will be staying home. “He hasn’t been quite as sharp in his last few starts and with his two huge runs during Cup week maybe he is feeling the effects of a busy start to the season,” says Purdon “We have plenty of good four-year-old races still to go up here so I will set him for those instead.” With races like the Taylor Mile, Messenger and Jewels just a month apart in the north this season and the four-year-old ranks containing Vincent, Ultimate Machete, Jack’s Legend and Star Galleria among others, that last-season treble could prove one of the highlights of the pacing year. Michael Guerin
More questions have been established than answered at today's staging of the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup draw.  Broadcast live on Harness Racing Victoria's Facebook page, the draw delivered a mixed bag for the favourites of the $100,000 Group 1, with Mark Purdon's pair Heaven Rocks and Vincent drawing gates one and six respectively and fan favourite Lennytheshark drawing inside the back row. Good Form analyst Blake Redden, who joined host Jason Bonnington for the barrier draw, said his confidence around Heaven Rocks had been battered by his pole draw, given the potential of the notoriously modest starter to be buried early. "It's a concern, I would have thought, given Shadow Sax (is in gate two) and ... if (Bernie Winkle in gate three) does want to find the pegs his best chance might be to race the gate early and try and get in behind Shadow Sax," Redden said. "It's certainly a concern for Heaven Rocks." RELIVE THE LIVE BROADCAST ON HRV'S FACEBOOK PAGE Redden said Emma Stewart's Shadow Sax, fresh from conquering the Stawell, Geelong and South Australian pacing cups, looked the likely early leader. "Certainly Shadow Sax ... you would have thought will be the early leader and Vincent will come and apply the pressure at some stage," Redden said. "I wouldn't be surprised if there was a real lack of gate speed. I'm not sure that anything outside of Shadow Sax is going to burn knowing they can't find the front." In their early post-draw analysis both Redden and Bonnington tipped Vincent on top, with Redden predicting victory was probably out of the picture for Victorian favourite Lennytheshark after drawing inside the back row. "He probably can't win the race, he's going to have good horses a long way in front of him," he said. "I think it's probably a good barrier draw for him given that he can have a quiet enough run, see exactly where he is at coming off that Inter Dominion preparation and perhaps target the Hunter Cup still. We will learn a lot more on Saturday night." Trots Media - Michael Howard
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