Day At The Track
Only A Myth winning in Launceston last Sunday night

Emery wraps up leading female driver title

Natalie Emery has been in a purple patch of form lately with her haul of three winners last weekend taking her to seventh place on the harness racing Tasmanian driving premiership table. The treble took her season's tally to 26 and while she won't win the overall driver's title she has made a good thing of taking out her fifth female driver's title. With only five meetings remaining, Emery is 16 wins clear of her nearest rival Samantha Freeman. Last Friday night she notched two winners in Hobart in Washies Chance and Capture Me that are both prepared by reigning premier trainer Ben Yole. Washies Chance has been a good horse to Emery because she has been aboard in all of his nine wins since being imported from Victoria in December last year. Capture Me was given a gun run and emerged triumphant at the good price of $11.50 but a far cry from the huge odds offered at her first win when bookies bet as much as $121. But Emery saved her best performance for last with a great drive aboard Only A Myth for trainer Gary Freeman in Launceston last Sunday night. Only A Myth showed good speed from gate five to eventually find the front but when first starter in the state, Shadow Control, pressured for the lead Emery handed up to enjoy a cozy run on the leader's back. Emery waited as long as she could before easing off the fence in the home straight and when she moved three-wide to challenge, the horse quickly gathered in the leader and went on to record an emphatic win. Peter Staples

Kevin Newman family

Trotting saddened by loss of icon Kevin Newman

The harness racing industry was shocked by the sudden and unexpected passing of legendary trainer-driver Kevin Newman on Tuesday night. Harness Racing New South Wales Chief Executive John Dumesny expressed the harness racing fraternity's shock at the sudden passing. "Kevin at 83 was well and had just finalised the sale of his Penrith home and was looking forward to moving on to the central Coast with his wife Beryl," Dumesny said. "He was an icon, a legend of trotting, a one in a life time horseman. "It was an honour to known and be in the presence of KB Newman. "His wit had no peer and his recall of the halcyon days of trotting never diminished." Born in Western Australia, Kevin arrived in Sydney in 1951, two years after night trotting was introduced at Harold Park, as a 16-year-old. From here Kevin became a dominate force during what is known as the golden era of harness racing in the 1960s and 70s, particularly at Harold Park. He won an unequalled 10 Harold Park trainers' premierships and eight drivers' premierships. Kevin was the first driver to win two Miracle Miles - Halwes 1968 and Friendly Footman 1981. He steered home 533 winners at Harold Park and all up about 1400 in his entire career. Retiring from the driving ranks in 1986, Newman can claim victories in almost every major race at Harold Park. For his services to harness racing, Kevin was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 1991, was named a Living Legend by HRNSW in 2000 and was also one of seven Living Legends of Harold Park. He was also inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions at the State's Sports Centre at Homebush in 2001. Kevin represented Australia twice in the World Driving Championships in the United States and Canada - finishing fourth behind Herve Filion in 1970, and sixth behind the New Zealander Kevin Holmes in 1978. Top performers Newman was associated with in feature race wins at Harold Park during his long and distinguished career include Koala Frost, Tongue Twister, Adios Victor, Mitchell Victory, Apollo Eleven and Markovina. To Kevin's wife Beryl, daughters Julie and Debbie and their families as well as Kevin's many friends, Harness Racing NSW extends its deepest condolences. Funeral details to be announced. AMANDA RANDO

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In search of a Crown

New Zealand faltering challenge for the Breeders Crown roared back into life yesterday. Because three wins in as many races for the Kiwi-trained pacers at Menangle have boosted chances of a serious New Zealand team at the rich Crown finals day at Melton in Victoria next month. For much of the last decade New Zealand horses --- both pacers and trotters --- have dominated Breeders Crown day, with the added bonus of Kiwi horses who travelled to the meeting extending their season by a month because of the late finish to the Australian harness racing season. That has often promoted the crazy situation of horses turning four in New Zealand on August 1, yet reverting to racing as three-year-olds when they cross the Tasman for the Crown a few weeks later. But while the Breeders Crown, with its two-year-old pacing finals worth money than A$300,000, has been enormously lucrative for New Zealand horses, this year’s representation was looking shaky. Already the biggest names from the two and three-year-old pacing ranks have pulled out, their trainers instead preferring to spell horses like Vincent, Ultimate Machete and Spankem after long seasons rather than press to until last August, meaning they would probably not race again until after Christmas. So the all-conquering Purdon-Rasmussen stable won’t have their absolute superstars at the Breeders Crown and Mark Purdon even expressed doubts over whether he would have any reps at the meeting unless they could win their heats in impressive fashion yesterday. That box was ticked on three separate occasions as first juvenile Sicario, then group-one winning filly Partyon and Queensland Derby winner The More The Better also easily won their heats at Menangle.  None of them were asked for their best by catch driver Luke McCarthy but Partyon still paced her last 400m in a sizzling 25.9 to confirm she will be returning to Melton to defend the title she won as a two-year-old last season. The More The Better won even easier and in a similar final sectional with a 26.1 last 400m while Sicario’s win was mere trackwork so the All Stars will have three major players for the Crown semi finals on August 19, followed by the finals on August 27. But they will be readied for the series without the Purdon-Rasmussen polish, with Purdon leaving yesterday for a holiday before representing New Zealand at the World Drivers Champs, with Rasmussen also holidaying before supporting her partner at the series.  “We are lucky we have good staff but it still makes it tricky getting them ready for the Crown with both of us being in Canada,” admitted Purdon. Top horseman Cran Dalgety is also taking three reps to the Breeders Crown, even after two of them, Bettor Joy and Master Moonlite, were beaten in their non-tote heats at Addington last Friday. Bettor Joy was clearly outpointed by Angel Of Harlem, who trainer Barry Ward is likely to send to Anthony Butt to train and drive for the Crown. But with those defeats for Dalgety’s big name pacers and Purdon-Rasmussen not sending their top guns, the New Zealand team for the Crown is in the usually unthinkable position of not having any dominant favourites for the pacing series. Northern pacers King Of Swing and Big Mach are also likely starters but Alexandra Park heat winner Utmost Delight is out of the series and heading to the paddock. New Zealand’s trotting team for the Crown is also lighter than usual but does boost the shining light of three-year-old star Enghien, who will be red hot to win his division as well as the Victoria Trotting Derby in two weeks on the way through. Michael Guerin

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Unbeaten Chilli is one star filly

Team Tritton is hoping to put the disappointment of last year’s Breeders Crown behind them with their latest boom juvenile. Exciting lass My Sweetchilliphilly was a flawless Crown heat winner at Menangle today, enhancing her career ledger to 5/5 with a 1:57.4 win from the front. Reinsman Chris Geary only had to give the daughter of Betterthancheddar the tiniest of urging up the Menangle stretch as the filly notched 28 and 27.2 late splits for an 8.8-metre win over runner-up Love My Sister. “The best way to describe her would be to say she’s the classiest two-year-old I’ve ever had,” co-trainer Shane Tritton said. And while confidence is clearly high in the camp given the filly’s burgeoning superiority against her Sydney rivals, Tritton is loathed to declare her – or anything in fact – a certainty on Crown Super Sunday after the racing gods refused to shine on the pink power at Tabcorp Park Melton last August. Team Tritton, consisting of Shane and his wife Lauren, produced Tingira Beach in the colts and geldings’ final as a $1.6 favourite. But to say nothing went right for the budding star would be somewhat of an understatement. After being squeezed underneath the pegs early, Tingira Beach jumped off stride before being buried away on the markers where he found more trouble half a mile later and all hope was gone. “We got knocked over … so you can never be too confident going into the big Group 1s, but she (My Sweetchilliphilly) is going to take some serious beating,” Tritton said. “I’d say it’s hers to lose at this stage. All the signs are there that she’s going to be something special.” My Sweetchilliphilly is already a Group 1 winner, having taken the Bathurst Gold Tiara ($104,000) in March in extraordinary fashion. The firebrand filly breezed throughout and from the 500m scorched her main rival, Lady Chatto, which was unbeaten to that point. Philly won by over 20m in 1:54.7. “She’s as tough as she is fast,” Tritton said. The plan between now and Race to Royalty grand final day is simple enough in theory, but of course Breeders Crown trophies aren’t won on theories. “We’ll go straight to the Semis then the final,” Tritton said. “We considered the Tatlow Stakes (at Melton) and taking her to New Zealand. And if she wasn’t as good as she is then we probably would have seriously looked at the Tatlow, but we’re taking it slowly with her. She’s never let us down. “She went 53 in a trial a few weeks ago and I’ve barely done anything with her since.” And so this year’s Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ section is shaping as an absolute classic – cliché to say, I know. But this is fair dinkum because Nostra Villa and My Sweetchilliphilly are both unbeaten to this point. Villa won last weekend’s Racing Hill Tatlow Stakes Final at Tabcorp Park Melton in 1:58.7 from the breeze, edging Amelias Courage, which sprint-laned, and stablemate Molly Kelly, which led and had the services of champion reinsman Chris Alford. The win made it six-out-of-six for Nostra Villa, a daughter of Art Major, who swept the recent Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series and also captured the Youthful Stakes in June. Let’s hope both remain sound and well and we witness an absolute classic Semi-Final/Grand Final stoush next month. And, an important footnote: Congratulations to Shane and Lauren Tritton for another reason, welcoming their first child, Levi Shane, into the world overnight. Cody Winnell

Long-time trots participant Ian Stanley wants to publicly thank all who have helped his family after his daughter, Aleisha, was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I’ve witnessed how generous people are firsthand,” Stanley said. “It’s just been amazing the response of all the community and we are very thankful.” Aleisha, 33, was diagnosed with aggressive stage-three breast cancer four months ago and she is currently undergoing chemotherapy every three weeks. The mother of three will then undergo surgery. Her husband, Daniel, will need to take time off from work to help with their three children, daughters Jordan, 12, and Lacey, 4, and son Tyler, just 22 months. To assist Aleisha and her family, who live in Woolsthorpe, 25km from Warrnambool in Victoria’s south-west, the local community and some incredibly generous trots people have dug deep and donated items to be auctioned off for charity. Ian Stanley said he and his wife Mavis wanted to thank all of the people and businesses for their “incredible generosity”, making special mention of Garrards Horse and Hound for donating a Meteor Sulky and Alabar for donating a service to star stallion Grinfromeartoear, both to raise funds for the young family.  Stanley also said that Wheatsheaf Hotel manager, also a local trots trainer, Darren Cole and another local participant in Marg Lee have been “incredibly supportive” and have helped put together a special family day at the Wheatsheaf (96 High St, Terang) on Sunday August 13 from 11am until 5pm, where an enormous amount of goods and services will be auctioned. One of the headline items for the auction is a 2016 official Geelong Football Club jumper, personally hand signed by AFL superstar and reigning Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield. “Just about every business in Warrnambool has donated something. It’s absolutely amazing the generosity of the community,” Stanley said. “… Also just so many others I can't name them all, but Goodtime Lodge and local harness clubs, it’s just a wonderful industry like that and we saw this firsthand. And for people to back up and support young Connor (Clarke) in his battle also, I just want to thank everyone.” A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Aleisha and her family on their cancer journey. If you are in a position to support the campaign you can access it by clicking here. Details on the Wheatsheaf Hotel fundraiser are also linked to the GoFundMe campaign.   Trots Media

Last weekend's six-win haul has launched Tasmania's leading harness racing trainer Ben Yole into the top 10 in Australia and within grasp of the state record. Yole's four winners in Hobart last Friday night and his Launceston double last Sunday took his season tally to 111 wins for the season that has him placed ninth on the national trainer's premiership table. With five meetings remaining he looks set to pass the Tasmanian record of 118 that belongs to Hall of Fame mentor Neville Webberley who set the mark during the 2009-10 season. Yole won his first state title last season producing 108 winners and he admits he only set his sights on trying to reach 100 again. "Last season it was great to get over 100 winners but I thought it was probably going to be hard to do it again but once we achieved that goal we started to think about chasing the record," Yole said. "Things slowed down at one stage when the wins weren't coming as frequently but in the past three weeks it has picked up, especially the last fortnight. "Picking up six last weekend was great so with 111 on the board we are still a chance of beating Neville Webberley's record." Yole will take a big team to Launceston on Sunday night and he expects former Queenslander Sheer Strength, a first starter for the stable, to be hard to beat at his Tasmanian debut. Peter Staples

Champion horseman Chris Alford won his fifth Traralgon Pacing Cup on Sunday. In front of a good crowd despite windy and wet conditions Alford partnered Hurricane Stride to a strong victory in the $7000 race. While Alford is used to victory in the feature event Clyde trainers Jayne Davies and Noel Alexander had never won the race before Sunday, despite having won many races in the district over more than three decades. The Traralgon Pacing Cup remembers trotting held in the Latrobe Valley from 1975 to 1995. Alford won the last race on the Traralgon track in 1995. Gippsland horses collected plenty of success at the Sunday meeting. Trafalgar pacer Choosa Cruiser landed win one at start four in the three-year-old event, surprising many punters. Choosa Cruiser held the lead from barrier one on the wet track and scored at odds of $41. Glenn Hunter drove Choosa Cruiser for his father Chris, who trains the filly for Thorpdale owner/breeders Pete Ransom and Rowan Blackshaw. Most Happy Cullen scored an impressive 13-metre victory for trainer Gary Quinlan and a big syndicate of local owners in the third race. The four-year-old stallion's victory was the second winning drive of Chris Alford's treble for the day. Alford also teamed up with trainer Ray Mathews to win the second race with Jackmichaels. Mathews has been patient with the five-year-old gelding, who scored his first race win on Sunday at start 38. Ten-year-old gelding Outpunch Enchanter won the Trotters Handicap, his eighth victory from an incredible 222 race starts. The trotter has also finished in the minor placings on 47 occasions. She Can Rock led throughout to win the first race, while Irish Player won his second race for the year at Warragul in the final event of the day, gaining the major prize in an exciting three-way finish. Warragul trots return on Monday, August 28. Kyle Galley

Entries are closing soon for the 2018 Ladbrokes APG Yearling Sales. By nominating your yearling(s) for APG's 2018 Sales, you will be making your yearling(s) eligible for APG's $1.8 million two-year old and three-year old race series, which features: $350,000 two-year old finals; $210,000 three-year old finals; 6 x $50,000 2yo APG Championship Races; and 6 x $50,000 3yo APG Championship Races.  Breeders know how important it is for yearlings to end up in the hands of quality trainers, so it is reassuring to know that most of Australasia's leading owners and trainers view the Ladbrokes APG Yearling Sales as their primary source for quality young talent. This season's leading APG Sales Graduates include champion two-year olds Lumineer, Nostra Villa and Nostra Beach, Derby winners Vincent and Our Little General, and Inter Dominion Champion, Smolda. Vendors are reminded that spaces are limited in all sales, so don't delay - submit your entries online now by clicking here. Copies of APG's 2018 Sales Information Pack were posted to breeders last week (17th July), but for those that have not received their copy, an online copy can be viewed below, or via the above link to the Online Entry portal on the APG website.

Having conquered Queensland, the All Stars’ juggernaut moves to Menangle this week.  Luke McCarthy is down to drive Mark Purdon’s three Breeders Crown heat runners on Tuesday. All will be commanding favourites.  First out is talented two-year-old gelding Sicario, who should make it five wins from eight starts, now he’s drawn gate two in race three.  NSW Oaks winner Partyon has the right draw (gate four), but faces the biggest challenge against Queensland Derby placegetter My Casino Belle (gate seven) and Shezallapples (five).  Brad Hewitt’s My Casino Belle ran third to Partyon in Queensland’s Provincial Oaks, then turned the tables when second to Shartin in the actual Queensland Oaks. Partyon ran third.  But, My Casino Belle, lifted to another level to sit parked and run a monstrous third to The More The Better and Shartin in the Queensland Derby last Saturday week.  The More The Better, who smashed the clock winning the Queensland Derby, looks a league above his rivals in his Crown heat (race five) at Menangle.    Still on the Crown heats at Menangle, and another highlight will be the return of unbeaten juvenile filly My Sweetchilliphilly.  It’s a while since we’ve seen the daughter of Betterthancheddar with trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton, sending her for a spell after a sparkling Pink Bonnet win at Menangle on April 8.  But it was her previous win, when My Sweetchilliphilly sat parked in a 1.54.7 mile rate for 1730m to win the Group One Bathurst Gold Tiara final, which showed her potential greatness.  She wasn’t eligible for the NSW Breeders Challenge, so the Trittons gave her a break with a view to a late season surge towards the Breeders Crown.  My Sweetchilliphilly has sharpened-up for her return to Menangle trial wins on June 20 and July 4.  She looked simply stunning on July 4, when she toyed with older rivals to win by 6.4m in a 1.53.6 mile and closed in a 27.7 split.  My Sweetchilliphilly has gate five in the first Menangle Crown heat and should be untroubled to stretch her unbeaten record to five wins.    Champion driver Chris Alford must have known he was in trouble, on the home bend with buzz juvenile filly Molly Kelly in the Tatlow Stakes at Melton last Saturday night.  Alford surprised many when he opted to drive Molly Kelly instead of the unbeaten stablemate Nostra Villa. He was the regular driver on both.  Molly Kelly led and had a cosy trip, but when Alford tried to pinch a break on Nostra Villa turning for home, he couldn’t shake her off. And then came Peter Manning’s filly, Amelias Courage, along the sprint lane.  In an absolute slugfest to the wire, Nostra Villa found a way to win again, making six wins from as many starts for Emma Stewart.  She beat Amelias Courage by a nose with Molly Kelly another half-head away in third spot. The mile rate was a steady 1.58.7 for 2240m, but they zipped home in 56.2 and 27.4.  Stewart’s dominance in Victoria’s juvenile races continued later in the night when nominal Breeders Crown favourite Poster Boy snared the Tatlow Stakes for colts and geldings with Alford aboard.  The race provided a trifecta for Stewart with Poster Boy working to the front earlier, and easily beating Tam Major and Big Bad Bruce with a 26.5 last quarter.  Poster Boy ran sixth on debut at Menangle in February, but was spelled straight after and has returned with six impressive wins from as many starts.    Chicago Bull is out having a rest, but trainer Gary Hall Sr still found a way to win the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night.  Classy mare Ideal Alice made the most of gate one to lead throughout in a 1.57 mile rate for the 2536m.  It was only her second run back from a spell, following a successful summer campaign where even beat star Kiwi mare, Piccadilly Princess in the Parliamentarians Cup at Gloucester Park.  The other highlight of the night was popular trainer Gary Elson’s double with his classy four-year-olds Ideal Tyson and Sprinter.  Ideal Tyson, with Aiden De Campo aboard, toyed with his rivals in the opening race by 7.7m in a 1.57.5 mile rate for 2536m.  Sprinter took on a stronger field and won even more impressively for driver Gary Hall Jr by 9.3m in a 1.55.6 mile rate for 2130m.    Classy mare Bettorthanspecial snared the last feature of the hugely successful Queensland Winter Carnival.  The Shannon Price-trained five-year-old caused a minor upset, beating hot favourite Major Cam by a half-head in the Patrons Purse (2280m) at Redcliffe last Friday night.  It took her record to an impressive 51 starts for 25 wins, 18 placings and almost $330,000 in stakemoney.    With some of the big guns away, classy NZ-bred free-for-aller Allblack Stride returned to winning form at Menangle last Saturday night.  But it wasn’t easy going for the Craig Cross six-year-old, who led staved-off a rejuvenated Major Star, to win by a whisker in a 1.52.4 mile.    When Andy Gath took Burnaholeinmypocket home from the 2015 Harness Jewels he thought he had his next stable star.  And anyone who saw the son of Bettor's Delight charged home late for fourth to subsequent Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me, in his Jewels final would have said the same thing.  Instead, Gath’s had a largely frustrating two years.  But, Burnaholeinmypocket is now starting to at least show glimpses of that potential from 2015.  The five-year-old has now won four of his past six starts, including his first in genuine open-class in the Our Maestro free-for-all (2240m) at Melton last Friday night.  “It was the first time he’d drawn the front row in eight starts, and we thought he was a great chance of leading, which he did. It was great to get a draw to use his gate speed again,” Gath said.  It was his 17th win from just 42 starts and took him past $200,000 in earnings.    Fresh from his triumphant Group One Blacks A Fake win on Hectorjayjay a week earlier, young gun driver Josh Aiken snared another feature at Melton last Saturday night.  Aiken teamed with top trotting trainer Anton Golino and the huge Yabby Dams operation to win the Group Three Sumthingaboutmaori free-for-all (2240m) aboard Glenferrie Burn.   Adam Hamilton

Champion harness racing driver Chris Alford won his fifth Traralgon Pacing Cup on Sunday afternoon. In front of a good crowd despite windy and wet conditions, Alford partnered Hurricane Stride to a strong victory in the $7000 race. While Alford is used to victory in the feature event, Clyde trainers Jayne Davies and Noel Alexander had never won the race before Sunday, despite having won many races in the district over more than three decades. The Traralgon Pacing Cup remembers trotting held in the Latrobe Valley from 1975 to 1995. Alford won the last race on the Traralgon track in 1995. Gippsland horses collected plenty of success at the Sunday meeting. Trafalgar pacer Choosa Cruiser landed win one at start four in the three-year-old event, surprising many punters. Left alone by many punters, Choosa Cruiser held the lead from barrier one on the wet track, and scored at odds of 40/1. Glenn Hunter drove Choosa Cruiser for his father Chris, who trains the filly for Thorpdale owner/breeders Pete Ransom and Rowan Blackshaw. Most Happy Cullen scored an impressive 13 metre victory for trainer Gary Quinlan and a big syndicate of local owners in the third race. The four-year-old stallion's victory was the second winning drive of Chris Alford's treble for the day. Alford also teamed up with trainer Ray Mathews to win the second race with Jackmichaels. Mathews has been patient with the five-year-old gelding, who scored his first race win on Sunday at start 38. Ten-year-old gelding Outpunch Enchanter won the Trotters Handicap, his eighth victory from an incredible 222 race starts. The trotter has also finished in the minor placings on 47 occasions. She Can Rock led throughout to win the first race, while Irish Player won his second race for the year at Warragul in the final event of the day, gaining the major prize in an exciting three-way finish. Warragul trots return on Monday, August 28. Kyle Galley

The battle lines are being drawn up between the Albion Park Harness Racing Club and racing control body Racing Queensland. Like most wars, it is a dispute over territory - that territory being the Albion Park harness and dog racing complex. Like all such disputes, there will be artillery in the form of barristers and solicitors, the ammunition will be words both, verbal and written, and there will be several referees. The time frame at this point is anybody's guess. The ultimate cost, like all wars, will be staggering. The end bearers of that cost will be the harness racing participants in general and the hobbyists in particular. The greyhounds will also experience negatives from a financial aspect. Albion Park has fired the first shot with a full page advertisement in last Saturday's Courier Mail and the Brisbane City Council has made that shot more effective by rejecting RQ's current development application which does not include a racing facility. From the Sunday Mail (July 16): "In rejecting the application on Friday 14/07, BCC planning Chairman, Julian Simmonds said: 'The entire Queensland racing fraternity needs to speak as one voice on the future of Albion Park.'' The only way that racing participants will come up with a majority decision will be if the practice of full disclosure applies. At this point, "Joe Average” harness participant does not know who owns Albion Park, much less the benefits which might accrue from this current power struggle. We wait for the Minister and the Premier to supply this information. ............................................... Whip rules proposal ON a different but apparently equally taboo subject of whips, another gathering was held last week in NSW under the auspices of HRNSW. The following is taken from an interview with John Dumesny, CEO of that body. He believes that the road forward is tightening the way the whip is used, rather than an overall ban. "We have to be aware of the public and community standards about the whip and its use,” Dumesny said. "The whip itself is not cruel, it is the way it is used that can be seen to be cruel. "The drivers see it as a safety and integrity issue for the sport, and it is important to wagering and punters' confidence. We need to modify the rules to move with community expectations, but at the same time maintain safety and integrity concerns.'' A whip convention last week, with drivers, trainers and administrators from every state attending, worked towards a set of rules acceptable to all. Dumesny said consistency was the most important factor in whip rules, so they could be applied across every meeting in Australia. "We have told HRA that the whip will be continued . . . in NSW, but we don't want to get to the stage where there are different rules in different states,'' he said. "What we are looking towards is what is called a wrist-only method of using the whip. We held the convention last week, where there was a consensus that we need to work on the whip rules. It was a very good discussion from everyone involved from around the country. In the afternoon session the drivers got in a gig and showed their whip action as it is now, and how they would see it under changes to the rules. "We feel we have the support of the other states and continue to work with them, and there will be another meeting this week to get the right outcomes. "The main thing we want to work towards is something that is easily understandable and enforced by stewards.” The sad part is that for all the positive vibes coming from this move by NSW, none of the more vociferous supporters of cruelty free racing in the Sunshine State would have been aware of this particular convention, much less be invited to contribute to the discussion. Well managed THE late Tony Price was often the source of accurate comment. At a Botra meeting some years back, the "Big Fella” stated that Queensland was the easiest state for a horse to win $100,000. A quick check of stats for Darrell Graham's cash cow, Montana Falcon, indicate that lifetime earnings from 163 starts, stand at $209,995. The super impressive factor is that Montanta Falcon is still assessed at M0. That's well managed. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Quinella 4-12: Only The Brave (T. Dixon) and Montana Falcon (D. Graham). R2: Box trifecta 2-5-10: Any chance (D. Weeks)-Timmo Time (A.Sanderson)-Bettor Be Lucky (M. Neilson). R3: Box trifecta 1-8-10: Munroe (NA)-Written In Red (P. Diebert)-Lancelot Bromac (N. Dawson). R4: E/w 2: Philanderer (M. Neilson). R5: Quinella 1-3: Bettor Promise (M. Neilson) and Always Prompt (T. Dixon). R6: Quinella 4-6: Jerrys Jet (R. Thurlow) and Verdot (D. Cernovskis). R7: Box trifecta 1-4-7-9: Shardons Sheralee (J. Rattray)-Counterfeit Cash (G.Dixon)-Wicked Time (S. Graham)-Spare The Price (A. Frisby). R8: Box trifecta 3-1-6: Comply Or Die (N. Dawson)-Lombo Ranmiles (G. Whitaker)-Threo (C. Turpin). R9: Box trifecta 4-5-6: Majestic Major (G Dixon)-Majestic Mach (I Ross)-Alleluia (T Dixon). Honour board Tess Neaves, Chantal Turpin, and Trevor Lambourn led the way with two winners apiece. Nathan Dawson and Gary Whitaker shared driving honours posting thee winners each. Most pleasing was Tess Neaves' double at Albion Park on Thursday. Albion Park, July 14: Threo (Chantal Turpin); Heavens Hint (Nathan Dawson for Stewie Dickson); Lighting Colony (Gary Whitaker for Donny Smith); Nolonga Your Choice (Trevor Lambourn); Ashton K (Gary Whitaker for Trevor Lambourn); Village Cruiser (Adam Richardson for Dave Russell). Albion Park, July 18: Tygar (Adam Sanderson for Joe Taafe); Destreos (Kelli Dawson for Kenny Rattray); I'm The Golden Child (Dean Cernovskis for Megan Cockburn); Montana Falcon (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham). Redcliffe, July 19: Weedons Express (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Cheers Kathy (Brittany Graham for Darrell Graham); Slippery Jade (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Mach Torque (Chantal Turpin). Albion Park, July 20: Princess Jessica (Nathan Dawson for Doug Lee); Hammerhoff (Nathan Dawson for Narissa McMullen); Riverleigh Jeff (Steve Doherty for Tess Neaves); Call Me Yours (Steve Doherty for Tess Neaves); Gallymont Sport (Trent Dawson); Surface To Air (Greg Elkins). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

A number of New South Wales drivers are rallying their support behind Victorian Mini Trot driver Connor Clarke who is currently undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a condition rare in children. Without even meeting young Connor, his story has touched many hearts and some of this state’s leading reinsmen and women are showing their support. Connor is just 14-years-old and has to spend time away from his family and friends whilst undergoing the 18-week course of treatment. From Ballarat, Connor is having his treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital, 1.5 hours away from his loved ones. One of the state’s leading drivers Robert Morris is more than happy to donate to the cause. “It’s so sad and I’ve decided to donate my driving fees from Bankstown (tonight) as well as Menangle (Saturday night) to try and help Connor and his family in this time,” Morris said. “To see such a young kid go through something like this just breaks my heart.” The state’s leading driver Amanda Turnbull is also donating all of her driving fees from Bankstown tonight where she had five drives. Meanwhile, leading reinsmen Todd McCarthy and Jack Trainor have agreed to donate their driving fees and percentages from their drives at Menangle on Saturday night which add up to 13 drives collectively. And so too is Inter Dominion winning reinsman James Rattray who has a number of drives at Albion Park this Saturday night. Harness racing participant Maria Furina helped co-ordinate this fundraising after being touched by Connor’s story. “It’s just something that I want to do, I want to help Connor,” the mother of one-year-old Charlie said. “Two years ago I shaved my head and helped raise over $15,000 the Leukaemia Foundation Shave For A Cure. “A lot of people donated and helped with that and hopefully we can help Connor too. “Chris Alford, Greg Sugars, Grant Dixon and Shane Graham are all donating their driving fees from Saturday night too. "Luke McCarthy is giving Connor a service fee to For A Reason so he can breed a horse one day and have something to look forward to. “Garrards Horse and Hound, Zilco International and Finntack are also donating products which will have raffle tickets available for purchase through the Garrards Horse and Hound stores at Menangle and Bendigo. “Connor’s parents Belinda and Steven are just absolutely blown away and extremely humbled by everyone's generosity in this trying time and are so happy to see the industry pull together in their time of need. “They are a lovely family and have four children of their own and still find room in their hearts and home to care for foster children.” There is also a Go Fund Me page set up for Connor called Connor’s Cancer Journey which can be found here.  Amanda Rando

The Brisbane winter carnival has come and gone for another year. And while many of the features went interstate, the locally trained runners managed to win 20 of the 31 races staged during the three week carnival. So, the Albion Park Harness Racing Club will play host to another tidy nine race program this Saturday night. And again punters have the chance to win big with gambling giant UBET offering a huge $100,000 guaranteed trifecta pool on the opening race. A jackpot component of $25,000 is also programmed for the opening race. And the opening race has attracted an even field of 12 pacers with several in-form runners set to contest the UBET Pace over the 1660m. A number of pacers are looking to bounce back into winning form with only Montana Falcon being a last start winner and that came on Tuesday afternoon. But Montana Falcon faces a difficult challenge after drawing gate 12, the outside of the second-line. The value runner could be Withalotofluck from the stable of Stephen Cini, unplaced at his past eight starts, the Ifihadyourluck gelding looks well placed in this line-up. Concession driver Isobel Ross takes the drive and he backs up from his unlucky effort here on Tuesday afternoon behind Montana Falcon. Others to consider include Cheap Tint, Ketut, Only The Brave, Our Leonardo, Supaliner, Epirus Boy, Deano Robyn and Remember Ruby. The $15,540 Kevin & Kay Seymour Rising Stars Championship also looks an extremely open affair following the barrier draw. Heat winners on Tuesday were Bettor Be Lucky and Anychance while others to be considered include Georgia Grace, Timmo Time, Chapter One, Zaras Delight and Regal Nightshade among others. The Rising Stars Finals is listed as race 2 on the card – the opening leg of the UBET Quadrella. A Quadrella jackpot of $10,000 is also slated; the quaddie will be staged on races 2, 3, 4 & 5. UBET have also slated $2000 jackpot trifecta pools on races 3 through to 9. Check out Racing Queensland form analyst Darren Clayton’s thoughts on the meeting http://www.harness.org.au/punters-corner-details.cfm?keyNum=176432 The first of 9 races is scheduled to start at 4.53pm.  

Sunday’s broodmare and mixed stock sale promises to be the best Shepparton Harness Racing Club has held, with 91 lots on offer. Club manager Ian McDonald said the line-up of stock was “unbelievable, we expect a huge crowd”. “This is the best list of horses we’ve had in the sale since we have been holding them,” he said. Among the lots are 45 mares including Cornsilk (dam of Delight Me), Pelicanrama and Kyvalley Kyrie’s dam Maori Lindy. Three mares have a foal at foot, which are by Art Major, Life Sign and Pet Rock, and many others have positive tests and are nearing birth. “The timing of the sale is key, because many of the mares are in foal and going to drop within four to six weeks and buyers will get instant return on their investment,” McDonald said. “There are three mares that are in foal to Somebeach Somewhere, whose book is full and closed. “If you take home a horse like Cornsilk or Peclicanrama you get the opportunity to invest in what could be a gold mine going forward.” In addition to the broodmares the sale will offer weanlings and yearlings, and raced and unraced horses aged two and over. A trial will be held, timed and captured on video at 8.30am featuring 11 horses on offer for sale. Mr McDonald said the club’s sales had a proven record, having previously offered pacing superstar Hectorjayjay, leading trotter Claudys Princess and Group 2 winning Im Princess Gemma, who was snapped up for $990. The sale, to start at noon at Quest Racing Complex, will be live streamed via http://www.sheppartonhrc.com.au, where you can also find more details. Click here to view the sale catalogue.   Michael Howard

South Australia’s Breeders Owners Trainers Reinspersons Association can be justifiably proud of its work in resurrecting yearling sales in South Australia. Realizing the SA harness industry needed to create a pool of horses to ensure the sport progressed, BOTRA organised its first sale in 2015 with sponsorship by Harnessbred.com and 11 yearlings went under the hammer. Four of those, Arm A Princess, Bella Sofia (Fillies), Wroxton Steel, Takemepitchamister (Colts & Geldings), will contest heats of the Ubet Southern Cross Series on Saturday night. The quartet have tallied 14 wins and 11 placings from just 34 starts – an excellent result. The 2016 sale had 17 lots, 10 of which will compete in Friday night’s heats of the Ubet Southern Cross Series for two-year-olds – an exceptional percentage for any sale. Those runners are: Fillies – Grinagain, Su Quick, Loveliest Of All, Justcallmejules, Tell Me Why, Dolwyn and Style Queen. Colts – Juliuss, Imnottruebluejacka and Bobby Ess. The Harnessbred.com/SA BOTRA yearling sales continue to grow in stature such that Harness Racing South Australia has become an even bigger partner going forward with Allwood Stud to create a $100,000 Group One Two-Year-Old race from the 2018 sale. SA BOTRA can be proud of its decision, and work, to have yearling sales again in South Australia. Graham Fischer

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Natalie Emery has been in a purple patch of form lately with her haul of three winners last weekend taking her to seventh place on the harness racing Tasmanian driving premiership table. The treble took her season's tally to 26 and while she won't win the overall driver's title she has made a good thing of taking out her fifth female driver's title. With only five meetings remaining, Emery is 16 wins clear of her nearest rival Samantha Freeman. Last Friday night she notched two winners in Hobart in Washies Chance and Capture Me that are both prepared by reigning premier trainer Ben Yole. Washies Chance has been a good horse to Emery because she has been aboard in all of his nine wins since being imported from Victoria in December last year. Capture Me was given a gun run and emerged triumphant at the good price of $11.50 but a far cry from the huge odds offered at her first win when bookies bet as much as $121. But Emery saved her best performance for last with a great drive aboard Only A Myth for trainer Gary Freeman in Launceston last Sunday night. Only A Myth showed good speed from gate five to eventually find the front but when first starter in the state, Shadow Control, pressured for the lead Emery handed up to enjoy a cozy run on the leader's back. Emery waited as long as she could before easing off the fence in the home straight and when she moved three-wide to challenge, the horse quickly gathered in the leader and went on to record an emphatic win. Peter Staples
The harness racing industry was shocked by the sudden and unexpected passing of legendary trainer-driver Kevin Newman on Tuesday night. Harness Racing New South Wales Chief Executive John Dumesny expressed the harness racing fraternity's shock at the sudden passing. "Kevin at 83 was well and had just finalised the sale of his Penrith home and was looking forward to moving on to the central Coast with his wife Beryl," Dumesny said. "He was an icon, a legend of trotting, a one in a life time horseman. "It was an honour to known and be in the presence of KB Newman. "His wit had no peer and his recall of the halcyon days of trotting never diminished." Born in Western Australia, Kevin arrived in Sydney in 1951, two years after night trotting was introduced at Harold Park, as a 16-year-old. From here Kevin became a dominate force during what is known as the golden era of harness racing in the 1960s and 70s, particularly at Harold Park. He won an unequalled 10 Harold Park trainers' premierships and eight drivers' premierships. Kevin was the first driver to win two Miracle Miles - Halwes 1968 and Friendly Footman 1981. He steered home 533 winners at Harold Park and all up about 1400 in his entire career. Retiring from the driving ranks in 1986, Newman can claim victories in almost every major race at Harold Park. For his services to harness racing, Kevin was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 1991, was named a Living Legend by HRNSW in 2000 and was also one of seven Living Legends of Harold Park. He was also inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions at the State's Sports Centre at Homebush in 2001. Kevin represented Australia twice in the World Driving Championships in the United States and Canada - finishing fourth behind Herve Filion in 1970, and sixth behind the New Zealander Kevin Holmes in 1978. Top performers Newman was associated with in feature race wins at Harold Park during his long and distinguished career include Koala Frost, Tongue Twister, Adios Victor, Mitchell Victory, Apollo Eleven and Markovina. To Kevin's wife Beryl, daughters Julie and Debbie and their families as well as Kevin's many friends, Harness Racing NSW extends its deepest condolences. Funeral details to be announced. AMANDA RANDO
New Zealand faltering challenge for the Breeders Crown roared back into life yesterday. Because three wins in as many races for the Kiwi-trained pacers at Menangle have boosted chances of a serious New Zealand team at the rich Crown finals day at Melton in Victoria next month. For much of the last decade New Zealand horses --- both pacers and trotters --- have dominated Breeders Crown day, with the added bonus of Kiwi horses who travelled to the meeting extending their season by a month because of the late finish to the Australian harness racing season. That has often promoted the crazy situation of horses turning four in New Zealand on August 1, yet reverting to racing as three-year-olds when they cross the Tasman for the Crown a few weeks later. But while the Breeders Crown, with its two-year-old pacing finals worth money than A$300,000, has been enormously lucrative for New Zealand horses, this year’s representation was looking shaky. Already the biggest names from the two and three-year-old pacing ranks have pulled out, their trainers instead preferring to spell horses like Vincent, Ultimate Machete and Spankem after long seasons rather than press to until last August, meaning they would probably not race again until after Christmas. So the all-conquering Purdon-Rasmussen stable won’t have their absolute superstars at the Breeders Crown and Mark Purdon even expressed doubts over whether he would have any reps at the meeting unless they could win their heats in impressive fashion yesterday. That box was ticked on three separate occasions as first juvenile Sicario, then group-one winning filly Partyon and Queensland Derby winner The More The Better also easily won their heats at Menangle.  None of them were asked for their best by catch driver Luke McCarthy but Partyon still paced her last 400m in a sizzling 25.9 to confirm she will be returning to Melton to defend the title she won as a two-year-old last season. The More The Better won even easier and in a similar final sectional with a 26.1 last 400m while Sicario’s win was mere trackwork so the All Stars will have three major players for the Crown semi finals on August 19, followed by the finals on August 27. But they will be readied for the series without the Purdon-Rasmussen polish, with Purdon leaving yesterday for a holiday before representing New Zealand at the World Drivers Champs, with Rasmussen also holidaying before supporting her partner at the series.  “We are lucky we have good staff but it still makes it tricky getting them ready for the Crown with both of us being in Canada,” admitted Purdon. Top horseman Cran Dalgety is also taking three reps to the Breeders Crown, even after two of them, Bettor Joy and Master Moonlite, were beaten in their non-tote heats at Addington last Friday. Bettor Joy was clearly outpointed by Angel Of Harlem, who trainer Barry Ward is likely to send to Anthony Butt to train and drive for the Crown. But with those defeats for Dalgety’s big name pacers and Purdon-Rasmussen not sending their top guns, the New Zealand team for the Crown is in the usually unthinkable position of not having any dominant favourites for the pacing series. Northern pacers King Of Swing and Big Mach are also likely starters but Alexandra Park heat winner Utmost Delight is out of the series and heading to the paddock. New Zealand’s trotting team for the Crown is also lighter than usual but does boost the shining light of three-year-old star Enghien, who will be red hot to win his division as well as the Victoria Trotting Derby in two weeks on the way through. Michael Guerin
Team Tritton is hoping to put the disappointment of last year’s Breeders Crown behind them with their latest boom juvenile. Exciting lass My Sweetchilliphilly was a flawless Crown heat winner at Menangle today, enhancing her career ledger to 5/5 with a 1:57.4 win from the front. Reinsman Chris Geary only had to give the daughter of Betterthancheddar the tiniest of urging up the Menangle stretch as the filly notched 28 and 27.2 late splits for an 8.8-metre win over runner-up Love My Sister. “The best way to describe her would be to say she’s the classiest two-year-old I’ve ever had,” co-trainer Shane Tritton said. And while confidence is clearly high in the camp given the filly’s burgeoning superiority against her Sydney rivals, Tritton is loathed to declare her – or anything in fact – a certainty on Crown Super Sunday after the racing gods refused to shine on the pink power at Tabcorp Park Melton last August. Team Tritton, consisting of Shane and his wife Lauren, produced Tingira Beach in the colts and geldings’ final as a $1.6 favourite. But to say nothing went right for the budding star would be somewhat of an understatement. After being squeezed underneath the pegs early, Tingira Beach jumped off stride before being buried away on the markers where he found more trouble half a mile later and all hope was gone. “We got knocked over … so you can never be too confident going into the big Group 1s, but she (My Sweetchilliphilly) is going to take some serious beating,” Tritton said. “I’d say it’s hers to lose at this stage. All the signs are there that she’s going to be something special.” My Sweetchilliphilly is already a Group 1 winner, having taken the Bathurst Gold Tiara ($104,000) in March in extraordinary fashion. The firebrand filly breezed throughout and from the 500m scorched her main rival, Lady Chatto, which was unbeaten to that point. Philly won by over 20m in 1:54.7. “She’s as tough as she is fast,” Tritton said. The plan between now and Race to Royalty grand final day is simple enough in theory, but of course Breeders Crown trophies aren’t won on theories. “We’ll go straight to the Semis then the final,” Tritton said. “We considered the Tatlow Stakes (at Melton) and taking her to New Zealand. And if she wasn’t as good as she is then we probably would have seriously looked at the Tatlow, but we’re taking it slowly with her. She’s never let us down. “She went 53 in a trial a few weeks ago and I’ve barely done anything with her since.” And so this year’s Breeders Crown two-year-old fillies’ section is shaping as an absolute classic – cliché to say, I know. But this is fair dinkum because Nostra Villa and My Sweetchilliphilly are both unbeaten to this point. Villa won last weekend’s Racing Hill Tatlow Stakes Final at Tabcorp Park Melton in 1:58.7 from the breeze, edging Amelias Courage, which sprint-laned, and stablemate Molly Kelly, which led and had the services of champion reinsman Chris Alford. The win made it six-out-of-six for Nostra Villa, a daughter of Art Major, who swept the recent Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series and also captured the Youthful Stakes in June. Let’s hope both remain sound and well and we witness an absolute classic Semi-Final/Grand Final stoush next month. And, an important footnote: Congratulations to Shane and Lauren Tritton for another reason, welcoming their first child, Levi Shane, into the world overnight. Cody Winnell
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