Day At The Track

HE may only have a small team in work, but former New Zealand reinsman Jack Trainor is really making his mark in the Sydney training ranks in recent months. After a long stretch working with leading trotting mentor Blake Fitzpatrick, Trainor decided to go it alone last year and has set up alongside another up-and-comer in Jason Grimson at the Menangle Training Centre. While he has just the one starter of his own at Menangle on Tuesday, Trainor still finds himself in demand and admitted that having the smaller team gave him the opportunity to land more winners. “I’m loving it working with the team that I do have and they continue to pay their way,” he said. “At the moment it’s probably the perfect balance as I work the horses in the mornings and can then head off each afternoon for some freelance driving as well.” Trainor will partner handy mare Everysecondcounts in Race 2 on Tuesday and suggests punters can probably ignore the square-gaiter’s last run when she broke and finished tailed off at Goulburn almost a month ago. “She’s one to follow for the future and she is just an honest little mare,” he said. “She’s in the harder of the two trotting divisions and I’d just be happy to see her hit the line well and I would suggest you should follow her in coming weeks.” Trainor sounded keener on the prospects of the John Ogden-trained Fox Trot Hill, who cases her sixth win from just 19 starts in Race 3, the Schweppes Ladies Night 27 Feb Trotters Mobile. “I was really impressed with her last start,” said Trainor. “She came out of the gate really well and also reeled off a couple of fast last quarters and she looks like a really nice drive. “I expect her to go well.” Trainor is also hoping that veteran gelding Outrageous El can put his mind on the job when he goes around in Race 5 for trainer David Thorn. “He is dropping in class and if he “shows up” he should make his presence felt,” said Trainor. It’s been almost 14 months since Outrageous El last saluted the judge, but he has been racing against some handy opposition and might relish being back with the “claimers”. Trainor also drives Young American (Race 8) and says Thorn has the gelding racing and he expects him to be in the finish.   HRNSW MEDIA

A standout season for young Tasmanian harness racing trainer-driver Taylor Ford wasn't enough to stop her from snapping up her dream job on the mainland. The 22-year-old recently joined the stable staff of Parwan horsewoman Jodi Quinlan, north west of Melbourne, and wasted no time in getting into the winner's circle. "I didn't have to think over the job offer all that much-and it has certainly proved to be the right decision because I'm absolutely loving it," she said. Ford was successful for her new boss at the recent Geelong meeting with brown gelding The Chancer (Bettors Delight-Fairest One Youare (Life Sign) raced by Geoff Walker along with Garry Rogers, who bred him. "I met Jodi when she ran third with Star Chamber in the Tasmania Cup at Hobart last year. We kept in regular contact after that and have become very good friends. I couldn't believe it when she offered me a full-time job at her stables," she said. Ford was forced to death-seat with The Chancer at Geelong, but didn't panic and got the most out of the horse to win a thriller by half a head from Gee Smith (Greg Sugars). Midnight Whisper (Kerryn Manning) was a head away in third place. "I wasn't sure that I'd won. It was very close, but I was excited to get my first win over here. I've had only a few drives and hopefully other trainers will give me a go with my five-point claim," she said. To watch the video replay of The Chancer click here. "It's great working for Jodi because she has quite a few trotters, which is something different for me. I'm learning so much and enjoying every minute. Hopefully I can keep driving some winners." Taylor comes from a passionate harness racing family based at Brighton, a small town with a population of just over 4000 people, situated 25 kms north of Hobart. "Last season was the best I've had back home. I had my own team going which was always around the 15 mark and (leading Tasmanian trainer) Ben Yole was really good to me by putting me on regularly to drive as well," she said. "I drove nearly 30 winners and took out the junior drivers' championship which was a big thrill, and I also got about 20 as a trainer along with a heap of placings. "It's a family involvement and it kept us busy, but we all did our bit. My mum Tammy has taken over training duties and that's working out pretty well." Ford said the move to Victoria also provided a change of pace with raceday engagements. "We probably only went to one or two meetings a week back home - since I've been here, I've never been to so many meetings in a week in my life!" Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Catch up on the week’s harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton. THE GOOD Last season may have ended in disappointment for trainer Jack Butler following Hectorjayjay’s forced retirement, however every end signifies a new beginning. The new season has been a strong one for Butler, with winners at all three Saturday metropolitan fixtures to date. At Redcliffe on Saturday night, the Butler stable was able to leave the Peninsula with a winning treble thanks to victories by Needabacardi, Bohannan and Rock With Sam. In-form square-gaiter Needabacardi was the first in the bag when scoring his third victory since joining Butler’s Logan Village stables, making it the 10th of his career. Sent out as the favourite in the AQWA Constructions Trotters Cup, driver Brendan Barnes was able to secure a great position in the one-out one-back trail as Skyline set the tempo in front. Making his challenge as the field approached the home turn, there were a few anxious moments as the saddle-cloth number detached. Flapping around the legs of the gelding, he remained focussed and maintained stride to power home to victory - minus the pink number eight cloth that was left on the Redcliffe track. One race later and Bohannan took to the track from inside the second line, drawn to follow out the race favourite Master Catch. Just prior to release, Master Catch was off stride and again when the field was released again made an error, forcing driver Chloe Butler to take evasive action before settling in position three back along the marker line. Angling across runners to find open space as the field swung for home, Bohannan produced a powerful closing sprint to arrive for a narrow victory - his second at Redcliffe. Knocking on the door in recent weeks, it was a deserved victory for the seven-year-old after placings at his past five starts in succession. Butler’s third and final win of the night came courtesy of Rock With Sam in open company when taking advantage of conditions to lead throughout, giving Brendan Barnes driving honours for the night with a double. Not raced through December after finishing fifth in the Be Good Johnny Sprint behind Colt Thirty One, the seven-year-old was the recipient of a smart drive from Barnes. With a steady opening half, the speed was dialled up through the last 800 metres with identical 28.4 seconds for the last two panels making it near impossible for the chasers. The win took Rock With Sam’s record to 20 career wins, with the gelding having recorded a win every season since his first as a two-year-old back in May 2016. With the Butler stable having some handy types looking to progress through their grades - Franco Landry, Going For Gold and Sweet Appeal come to mind - season 2021 has started in promising fashion.   THE BAD It’s fair to say that Saturday night’s meeting at Redcliffe wasn’t smooth sailing. After the Greater Brisbane lockdown the week prior, updated COVID-19 protocols were enforced and then after a week of dry weather, storm activity began to build on Saturday afternoon. With rain hitting the Redcliffe Peninsula, the track was in great order, but the muddy conditions made it tough for the drivers. Just to make the night even trickier, the track lighting was a victim of the storms and deluge of water, with the front straight plunged into darkness following the running of race six. Despite the misfortunes that the club was forced to endure, the meeting was able to progress and all ten races were completed. With over an hour lost to the lighting issues, it made the night even longer for Lola Weidemann who had just one horse in for the night. That runner was Pacific Coin who had progressed to the Hygain Final after winning a heat of the series 10 days prior. Sent straight to the front over the sprint trip, Lola was able to stay in front and relatively mud-free, the luxury that leading the pack brings with it. Owned by Lola’s sister, Julie, the nine-year-old had one of the busiest seasons of any horse in Queensland last term, facing the starter on 84 occasions for 10 wins. The big season has certainly not hampered his start to season 2021, with his record showing two wins from three starts. In claiming the 15th career victory with Pacific Coin, the near six-hour round trip from her Clifton stables may just have been worth the race delay for Lola.   THE MILESTONE A relative newcomer to Queensland, Sam Clotworthy is on the board as a winning driver in the Sunshine State. Joining forces with the Jack Butler stable, Clotworthy has taken a handful of drives before breaking through for his first Queensland victory at Albion Park last Thursday. Taking the reins behind the Butler trained Harpagus, the pair were able to settle in a perfect position from inside the second line as Springfield Spirit tried to lead throughout from gate one. Taking the passing lane when the gap presented, Clotworthy was able to arrive in time to end a prolonged period out of the winner’s enclosure for the six-year-old mare. Keeping the good start to the year for the stable rolling, the mare is now owned by stable boss Tara Butler and trained by husband Jack. Last victorious back in June of 2019, Harpagus was driven by champion reinsman, the late Gavin Lang on that occasion. Hailing from New Zealand, Clotworthy spent time in Tasmania last season where he was able to claim the Youngbloods Challenge just prior to arriving in Queensland. The Youngbloods is a six-race series for young drivers - with three heats at Hobart and three at Launceston - with Clotworthy claiming victory in three of the six heats, with a further two placings. Taking his second race drive behind Harpagus in Thursday’s event, the win was a great season start for Clotworthy to get off the mark.   THE WILDCARD Although it does not bring any further reward, book-ending a race card does not happen frequently. For owners Rob and Pam Essex, they were able to claim a book-end double at Thursday’s Albion Park meeting with driver Kelli Dawson piloting both winners. With a big team of pacers and greyhounds that race with the Maywyn moniker, the Essex’ have poured large amounts into both the pacing and chasing codes. On Thursday, Maywyn Troubador was able to score the second win of his career with a dominant victory in the opening race of the day. Given plenty of time to balance, the four-year-old was sent stomping around the field as they went down the back straight. Charging past the leaders, the gelding went on to score a commanding 21.8-metre victory and frank the effort of a recent trial where he blitzed his rivals in similar fashion. Trained by Geoff Dawson (Kelli’s father), the win demonstrated the talent of Maywyn Troubador who has taken some time to adjust to what racing is all about. Waiting until the last race for their second runner of the day, this time it was Kelli as both the trainer and the driver involved with the success of Maywyns Courage. Second-up from a spell, the six-year-old son of Courage Under Fire sat back in the pack from his second line barrier. The widest runner as they swung for home, Maywyns Courage sprinted sharply down the outside of the track to claim his first win of the new season. An APG sales graduate from 2016, Essex went to $22,000 to secure the Courage Under Fire x Nonni Sheffield colt, with his latest win taking his tally to 12 victories. No stranger to a handy horse, some of the better performed that the Essex family have been involved in include the likes of Maywyn Jasper, Badge Of Honour and Maywyn Tonz. Maywyn Jasper won the 2010 3YO APG Final at Group 1 level, defeating a field that included For A Reason, Chariot King and Renaissance Man - all Derby winners that Season. With Rob Essex recently celebrating a milestone birthday, number 10 may be the new lucky number for Rob, Pam and the Maywyn team, with both Troubador and Courage wearing saddlecloth 10 to victory.   THIS WEEK After a change-up to the regular Saturday night metropolitan meeting last week, this week returns to the more traditional programming. Tuesday afternoon, Friday afternoon and Saturday night will be from Albion Park. Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon will be from Redcliffe with Wednesday again hosting a full ten-race card. The week will start with an eight-race card from The Creek with race six named the Happy Retirement John Hackett Pace. John has filled many roles within the integrity arm across various administrations, most recently with the Integrity Regulation Unit for QRIC. A former Chief Steward of harness in Queensland and deputy chief steward for the thoroughbred code, John Hackett has given a significant contribution to the integrity of all three racing codes across more than 40 years of service. Enjoy retirement Mr Hackett.   Darren Clayton for Racing Queensland

Ryley Major added the Group 3 Hardings Hotmix Devonport Pacing Cup to his glowing resume in Devonport on Sunday night, where last season’s Tasmania Cup winner easily overcome his 30 metre back mark in the 3020-metre event. Beginning brilliantly as he always does, Ryley Major quickly made up his handicap before trainer-driver Rohan Hillier got the gelded son of Art Major around the field to take up the lead with 1900 metres to travel with ease. Hillier was then able to set a moderate tempo for the top-level pacers running the first quarter of the final mile in 32.2s, and he then recorded sectionals of 32.2s, 31.3s, 29.4s and 29.8s on his way to a 5.5-metre win. “He has done a super job tonight, to come off 30 (metres) and make a mid-race move and he still felt really strong on the line,” said Hillier post-race to Matt Reid on TasracingTV’s Live Stream coverage. “I went out with no plans, to come off 30 metres in a full field it is hard to make plans, I decided to go, and I was happy to get to the breeze, but they slackened the pace, so I decided to have a go for the front, and once we got there we were always going to be hard to beat,” explained Hillier. With a host of options interstate, Hillier is happy to keep the pacer in Tasmania. There is a host of options including the Tasmania and Easter Cups in March and April. “We will just keep poking around every second week here in Tassie, he isn’t getting any faster, he is probably getting slower, but he is doing a super job for what he is,” said the trainer-driver about the eight-year-old. The mile rate off the 30 metres was 2m 4.3s, with Ryley Major joining Pachacuti (2017), Star Chamber (2015), Gold Label (1995) and Good Town (1993) as the only horses to win the Cup off a handicap further than 30 metres. A protest lodged by Mark Yole on the fourth placegetter, Tisu Spirit, against the driver of the second placegetter, Be Major Threat (Dylan Ford), for interference near the 2700 metre mark was upheld, which resulted in the third placegetter Lip Reader being promoted to second to give Hillier the training quinella. “To cop a 20-metre handicap with him was pretty tough on him, but over the next three or four months we could see him winning a race like the Easter Cup,” said Hillier. There were two $12,000 features on the card including the Ladbrokes Mares Incentive which was taken out by nine-year-old mare Pink Ponder who was one of six winners on the card for Ben Yole. Pink Ponder driven by Mark Yole sat back in the field off a solid tempo and was too good late in what was the survival of the fittest late with the last quarter ran in 32.7s in the 2297 metre event where the mile rate was 2m 2.1s. The Yole stable also claimed the Jeremy Rockliff MP Coastal Pacing Thousand with the Conor Crook driven Proficient. It was a tough effort by the eight-year-old gelding who settled one-out and three-back before gaining a three-wide cart up over the final 100 meters of the event.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

When the Changeover gelding Motu Gatecrasher outsprinted his rivals at Menangle on Saturday night (January), he sent his stake earnings to beyond $250,000 and became his sire’s sith richest performer. The gelding clocked 1:51.5 for the mile – a new lifetime mark. Watch the race click here! Changeover was represented by winners in three different countries last week. Promising four-year-old The Mustang posted his 13th success from 36 starts with a career-best 1:55.2 winning effort at Bathurst, while Dragontown won for the eighth time at Mildura. Changeover produced two winners on the grass at Blenheim, New Zealand in Jazelle and Givemewhatineed as well as the 1:57.1 Invercargill victor Deus Ex. In North America, Changeover’s winners included Sudden Change NZ (1:52.6), Risk NZ (1:53) and Glenferrie Bronte NZ (1:55.2). Changeover, the former champion Kiwi pacer, stands at Burwood Stud in Queensland’s rich Darling Downs.   By Peter Wharton

The TAB Summer of Glory narrative had its first chapter written at the weekend, when legs three and four of the Trots Country Cups Championship were won by horses with bold ambitions. Lochinvar Art will enter this Saturday night’s $110,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup a short-priced favourite after obliterating his rivals on his home track of Shepparton last Saturday, while Fourbigmen reaffirmed his standing among the next tier with a commanding win at Hamilton on Sunday. The performances only fuelled the fire for what shapes as a terrific month’s racing, which will culminate with the $500,000 Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup on February 6 at Tabcorp Park Melton, when interstate raiders King Of Swing and Chicago Bull will battle Lochinvar Art for what’s essentially the nation’s heavyweight title. Though for some it may be disputed, others will argue that title currently rests with Victoria Cup winner Lochinvar Art. They would have had their position reaffirmed by his performance on Saturday when he cruised to victory in his home-town Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup, in the process matching the track record despite being largely untested. Trainer/driver David Moran admitted post-race “it’s pretty scary really”. “He had a pretty easy lead time, but to do it the way he did it (was) pretty arrogant,” he said, after Lochinvar Art stormed home in a 54.9sec last half to win by 16 metres. “He’s pretty basic. He’s not too perturbed by a lot of things. I always refer to him as Mike Tyson, he pulls the black trunks up and he’s pretty happy go lucky, he doesn’t care, he’s just out there to fight.” Making the result all the more significant for Moran was that it was his first victory in his home cup. “Not only is it good to win your home cup on your home track, but it’s great to do it in front of everybody involved,” Moran said. “I’ve got a lot of friends and family here tonight, there are a lot of local people that seem to follow this horse. It’s great for the industry.” Lochinvar Art is among nominees for Saturday’s Ballarat Cup along with Bendigo Cup winner Wolf Stride, Cobram Cup winner Perfect Stride and Hamilton Cup winner Fourbigmen, meaning all who have claimed a Trots Country Cups Championship this season could be on a collision course. The last of those to salute, Fourbigmen, was impressive in confirming his favourite status in the Hamilton Cup by sitting in the breeze for the last lap and holding off all comers. In only her second drive on the Emma Stewart-trained five-year-old, following on from a last start second in the Bendigo Cup, Kate Gath advanced Fourbigmen to the front of the running line with a lap to go and rattled home in 54.9sec outside leader and stablemate Struve. “When Struve had to give a little bit to find the front and then backed off it was the perfect opportunity to put ourselves in the race and then ease off once we got there,” Gath said. “He was really good up the straight. He was the class runner of the field and that’s what he did to them today.”   HRV - Michael Howard

WANTED: A driver for champion WA pacer Chicago Bull in the Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup. The $2 million-plus earner is heading to Tabcorp Park Melton for the $500,000 feature on February 6, but his trainer and driver won’t be coming with him. The need for a 14-day quarantine returning to WA from Victoria means Gary Hall Sr and Jr will be cheering from afar when Chicago Bull tackles the likes of Lochinvar Art and King Of Swing. Daniel Jack will be caretaker trainer and Hall Sr said connections would discuss the best local options for a driver. “The owners want him to come across, even if Gaz (Gary Jr) and I can’t go with him,” Hall Sr said. “He’ll have one more run here, maybe even next Friday night.” Chicago Bull posted his 61st win from just 92 starts and surged past $2.32 million in earnings with his winning return from a freshen-up at Gloucester Park Friday night. It was his first run since finishing second in the WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on December 4 and he was made to earn it in a 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2130m, just a second outside the track record. Chicago Bull’s only previous Melton run was a distant second to Tiger Tara in the Victoria Cup up on October 13, 2018. TAB’s latest Hunter Cup market has Chicago Bull $9 third favourite behind Lochinvar Art ($1.70) and King Of Swing ($3). _________________________________________________________________________________ Any hope of Tornado Valley defending his Woodlands Stud Great Southern Star crown looks to hinge on a Melton trial tonight. Trainer Andy Gath felt the ageing superstar was disappointing when last of four in a Melton trial last Wednesday, casting doubt on plans for him to resume in the $30,000 Group 2 EB Cochran Trotters’ Cup at Ballarat on Saturday night. And that was to be his only lead-up race for the Great Southern Star – now back to its original heat/final format and over the sprint trip - at Melton on February 5. “We won’t run him in the Great Southern Star for the sake of it,” Gath said. “I was disappointed with his trial last Wednesday. I know they ran home in quick time, but he didn’t show his usual fight in the home straight. Whether he goes to Ballarat depends on how he trials this time.” Gath takes some heart from being able to resurrect stablemate McLovin, who made it four wins on end when he snared the Group 3 The George Gath at Shepparton on Saturday night. “Early this campaign his (McLovin) form didn’t look too good, but he’s had some better draws, got fitter and got his confidence back. Hopefully it can be the same with Tornado Valley, but we haven’t got a lot of time on our side as far as the Great Southern Star goes.” McLovin now goes straight to the Great Southern Star, while Gath said the plan was for Majestuoso to tackle the $50,000 Group 1 V L Dullard Cup on January 30. _________________________________________________________________________________ Lochinvar Art's young stablemate Patsbeachstorm turned almost as many heads as the champ himself at Shepparton. The three-year-old was first-up from 10 months out through a life-threatening illness and trainer-driver David Moran was in awe of how easily he won given his less-than-ideal preparation. “Two Shepparton trials I had planned for him were scrapped so I thought he was vulnerable, but he did it really easily,” Moran said. “He’ll improve a heap from that and we’re headed towards the NSW Derby.” It’ll be interesting if Moran throws Patsbeachstorm straight into the big league for a crack at the $100,000 Group 1 VHRC 3YO Classic at Melton on January 30. Lochinvar Art cruised around to win the Neatline Homes Shepparton Cup without being extended by 15.7m and equalled the race and track record 1min56.1sec mile rate for 2690m. He’ll probably do the same again in the Group 1 PETstock Ballarat Cup next Saturday night with no NZ or interstate raiders. But then we get the long-awaited fourth clash between Lochinvar Art and King Of Swing – King Of Swing leads 2-1 so far - in the Hunter Cup on February 6.   by Adam Hamilton

Effective from 11.59 pm January 17, 2021 Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) advises changes to the current biosecurity protocols at all Victorian race and trial meetings. The following are to be observed: All Licensed persons must carry a face mask when entering a race or trial meeting and if requested to do so by a Steward, official or representative then wear the face mask indoors (including drivers’ rooms, stewards’ rooms and veterinary room), unless you have a government permitted exemption (i.e. medical condition). Masks are no longer required to be worn around the stabling areas at all racetracks and trial venues. Wear a mask when you are unable to maintain physical distancing of 1.5m between yourself and others. QR Code has been implemented for use at all racetracks and trial venues, and all licensed participants and essential staff are encouraged to use the QR Form, which gives HRV immediate data should it be required for any contract tracing requirements. As of 1 December, 2020, Temperature testing has ceased at all racetracks and trial venues. Drivers are to limit the time spent in the drivers’ room and all enclosed and indoor areas as much as possible. All persons are reminded to exercise appropriate physical distancing protocols and to maintain 1.5-metre distancing wherever possible. Trainers, drivers and stablehands are to leave the race meeting as soon as possible upon fulfilling their obligations in accordance with the Australian Harness Racing Rules (i.e. after completion of swabbing procedures, attendance before stewards etc). Participants should pre-pack enough food and supplies for the duration of their engagement at race meetings. As of 18 December, 2020 there will no longer be restrictions in existence regarding the number of stable-hands permitted to attend race tracks with accompanied licensed trainers.  Stewards and Officials will continue to monitor this situation at racetracks. All other industry protocols remain in effect and any non-compliance may be subject to action by the HRV Stewards. All persons are advised that should they fail to comply with these requirements, significant penalties including periods of disqualification, may be imposed under AHRR 238. AHRR 238 states: A person shall not fail to comply with any order, direction or requirement of the Controlling Body or the Stewards relating to harness racing or to the harness racing industry. Owners and spectators are reminded of the current protocols in place specifically around stalls attendance on race day. Details here (refer to 12.3, page 17).  Please note, effective from 1 February, HRV will be phasing out the paper based Infectious Disease Declaration forms. This means that licensed participants and essential staff will be required to complete the declaration online, prior to the attending race/trial meeting.  The Infectious disease declaration can be accessed here.  If you are already at the venue, there will be QR codes that you will be able to scan on your mobile device, which will prompt you to the location of the online declaration for completion. Should you have any questions regarding the completion of the online declaration forms, please feel free to contact the HRV Customer Service Team, or Country Clubs directly. These measures have been put in place to ensure that harness racing complies with all bio-security requirements and must be adhered to ensure that harness racing in Victoria continues under the current State Government restrictions.  Visit HRV's COVID-19 hub for more information.   Harness Racing Victoria

The Little Brown Jug winner Million Dollar Cam, who stands at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga (NSW), has made a spectacular start to the new year. He sired winners in three different States last week. Heading the vanguard was Our Mista Kalle, who won at Gloucester Park in 1:57, and Hawk Eye, who notched her first win at the Goulburn Cup meeting in 1:55.6. Other Million Dollar Cam winners were Movin Millions (Temora), who was bred by Yirribee Pacing Stud, Getaloadathisgirl (1:57.4, Redcliffe), Enk Spot Shannon (1:59.3, Bathurst) and the ‘new’ winner Deal Breaker (Leeton). Warrawee Needy, who has served over 110 mares this season, was represented by the runaway Bathurst winner The Grogfather (1:57.8) and, in North America, Need Ur Opinion, who scored in 1:54.2 at Dover Downs, Delaware. Tintin In America, the sire of the 2019 USA Horse of the Year Shartin, left the smart mare Nimah Franco NZ, who made it two for two this season with her 1:54.9 romp at Albion Park, and a ‘new’ winner Rintin (Tamworth).   By Peter Wharton

Victorian harness racing driver Tony Calabria can't remember the previous time he landed a winner in the sulky, but he won't be so quick to forget a recent Melton trip. "I really can't recall which horse I last got the money on. It would have to be a good few years ago though!" he said. Records show that his last win was in 2008 at Globe Derby in Adelaide, behind Mustang Harry, a pacer he part-owned and trained. But despite the long absence from the winner's circle, Calabria hasn't lost the fine touch that held him in high regard in South Australia. Now living in the outer western Melbourne suburb of Fraser Rise, near Caroline Springs he drove a well-timed race on Arocknatthepark (A Rocknroll Dance -Toppathepark) to take out the Allied Express Pace at TABcorp Park Melton last Friday night. The five-year-old gelding's victory was Calabria's first at the Melton track. To watch the video replay of Arocknatthepark click here. "We thought he had a good chance because his previous run at Tabcorp Park was better than it looked on paper. He's a nice horse and should win his way down through the classes," Calabria said. Arocknatthepark had won three races at Addington prior to crossing "the ditch" from New Zealand last year, and now has a record of seven wins and six placings from just 29 starts for $42k. He is trained by Calabria's good mate Tony Romeo, who races the horse with Angelo Cammaroto and Gary Furina. "Tony was in harness racing for a long time before switching to have a go with gallopers. I actually got him back into the trots," Calabria said. "I've known him for years. He's got a place at Diggers Rest which is just 10 minutes away from me and we've got a great working partnership now doing five horses," he said. Calabria works with the railways as a safety supervisor overseeing work on railway sleeper and track replacement projects. "I do night shift so that gives me time in the mornings to muck around with the horses," he said. "Both Tony and I get plenty of enjoyment in doing the horses, but we have a bit of fun as well." Calabria said he initially got involved in the sport while living in South Australia. "When I was young, I'd go for holidays and work at a property with Joe Carbone and Peter Sergi, who were big trainers at Golden Grove at the time," he said. "A few years on I was lucky to drive some winners for them. Conte De Cristo was a brilliant pacer, and the square-gaiter The Upper Crust was pretty good. Probably taking out the Gramel series with Main Artery was one of my biggest wins." Since moving to Melbourne eight years ago, Calabria has kept his hand in, spending off-and-on stints training and driving as his commitments allowed, but in recent years has concentrated more on the training side. "I had a bit of luck with a few handy horses. Brookfield Ruler was good on his night and won a couple with Nathan Jack and Brian Gath taking the reins," he said. "I got itchy fingers quite often especially when I had a few years break from 2014. I realized I was missing being a driver. I'm rapt to be back and I'm just loving it." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

AUSTRALIA’S best pacer Lochinvar Art became a millionaire and equalled the track record, seemingly still in second gear winning Saturday night’s $60,000 Group 2 Shepparton Cup. The $34,200 first prize took his career earnings to $1,020,756 with 26 wins and 19 placings from just 48 starts. And Lochinvar Art’s blistering 1min56.1sec mile rate for 2690m equalled Im The Boss’ track record from three years ago. Trainer-driver David Moran used the pole to lead easily, set a solid midrace tempo and rip home in 54.9 and 27.4sec to win by 14.2m. Lochinvar Art will probably do much the same in next Saturday night’s Group 1 Ballarat Cup given the lack of NZ or interstate raiders. So the focus is on his fourth clash with King Of Swing in the Hunter Cup at Melton on February 6. Moran also has feature race hopes for his lightly-raced three-year-old Patsbeachstorm, who returned from a life-threatening illness and long spell with a sparkling Shepparton win. The gelding won two of his first three starts, but hadn’t been to the races since a Bendigo win on March 31, last year. Despite the long break and not having a trial, Patsbeachstorm led and zoomed away to win as he liked by 14.2m in a 1min55.6sec mile rate for 2190m. “It’s great to get that out of the way because he vulnerable and will improve a heap from it,” Moran said. “I’ve got a really good opinion of him and we’re aiming at the NSW Derby.” Moran will be tempted to throw Patsbeachstorm into the big league for the $100,000 Group 1 VHRC 3YO Classic at Melton on January 30. ____________________________________________________________________________________ A MELTON trial Monday night will decide the immediate racing future of ageing trotting superstar Tornado Valley. Trainer Andy Gath admitted to being disappointed with the veteran’s first trial back at Melton last Wednesday. So only a much-improved effort will see Tornado Valley back on target for a racetrack return a Ballarat on Saturday night and a possible defence of his Great Southern Star crown on February 5. “We don’t have a lot of time on our side. This trial is really important,” Gath said. “I was disappointed with his trial last week. I know they ran home quickly, but I expected more from him. He didn’t show his usual fight in the home straight. “We won’t run him in Great Southern Star for the sake of it.” So this trial is vital because the $30,000 Group 2 EB Cochran Cup at Ballarat was to be Tornado Valley’s only lead-up race for the Great Southern Star. The nine-year-old hasn’t won a race since the Scotch Notch Memorial a Melton on March 21, last year and has only raced four times since. In other stable news, it was another race and another easy win for McLovin’s baby half-brother Havehorsewill travel in Australia. The five-year-old looked encouraging winning his first three runs for Andy and Kate Gath, but went to another level by “spacing” his rivals with a 14.3m win in the secondary trot at Shepparton on Saturday night. ____________________________________________________________________________________ THE Chariots Of Fire remains a possibility for WA’s most exciting pacer Magnificent Storm. The former Kiwi stretched his unbeaten WA record for trainer Ray Williams to 11 races when he sat parked and easily won the $50,000 Group 2 4YO Championship at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Magnificent Storm’s task was made much easier when his main danger, WA Derby winner Patronus Star, copped a nasty flat tyre and was retired from the race after 400m. Driver Aldo Cortopassi seized the moment on Magnificent Storm and worked around to sit parked outside the leader Al Guerrero and control he race. Despite doing the work, Magnificent Storm cruised to the front rounding the final bend and ripped home in 56.4 and 28.1sec to win easily in a 1min54.9sec mile rate for 2130m. “I’m pleased to get that one out of the way. It was three weeks between runs and he was a bit vulnerable, especially from the draw,” Williams said. “The run will improve him a lot for the next two big ones. “The Golden Nugget (February 12) is Grand Final, but the owners have talked about going interstate. If he keeps winning, we’ll have to look at it.” The Chariots Of Fire is just eight days after the Nugget, but victory in the Nugget would gain Magnificent Storm automatic entry into Sydney’s feature. ____________________________________________________________________________________ STAR Galleria’s Hunter Cup tilt hit a snag when he was upstaged as a hot favourite in a Menangle free-for-all on Saturday night. The former classy Kiwi cruised to victory at his first run for Craig Cross, but had to do all the work and was nabbed late by stablemate Motu Gatecrasher in a 1min51.5sec mile. It turned into a real sprint home with closing splits of 54.4 and 27.1sec. Earlier in the night, another recent Kiwi import Burnham Boy put himself into Chariots Of Fire contention with a fighting all-the-way in a 1min51.7sec mile. The son of Bettors Delight won five of his 24 Kiwi starts before being bought by US owners Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks and switched to Tiger Tara’s trainer Kevin Pizzuto in NSW, Burnham Boy’s won two of his three runs for Pizzuto and looks to be building nicely. On the same card, Australia’s top mare Bettor Enforce showed why she dominates prepost betting for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile a Menangle with another dominant win. First-up since November 30, Bettor Enforce who won 13 of her 25 starts last season and ran second in the Ladyship Mile, blazed home in 1min50.9sec mile.   by Adam Hamilton

Carrick trainer-driver Hannah Van Dongen landed her first training win in Launceston on Friday night when Art Frenzy led all the way to score in the Nutrien Ag Solutions Pace. From barrier five Van Dongen pushed forward on the gelded son of Major In Art to find the lead in the 1680-metre event, and after being headed by Black Ops half-way down the straight, the pacer was able to hold off that challenge to score by a half-neck over Black Ops and Earl Jujon. The mile rate was 1m 57.7s. It was only Van Dongen’s fourth starter as a trainer, who prepares a small team in the afternoon after riding trackwork for Spreyton based trainer Leanne Gaffney during the morning. Trainer Adrian Duggan and driver Mark Yole teamed up for a double on the seven-race card. Five-year-old Sportswriter mare Lutetia Midfrew scored a 4.8-metre win in a rating 30 to 49 event. From barrier two Yole positioned the pacer one-out and one-back before sweeping to the lead leaving the back straight and the mare was always holding her rivals over the concluding stages. The Duggan-Yole combination ended their double with the win of Illawong Achilles who broke his maiden status at start 54. Although it had taken a while to break the maiden status, the Western Terror gelding had been placed in 19 starts prior. From barrier four Yole settled the six-year-old in a one-out one-back position before improving into the race from the 700-metre point to go on and score by three-metres over Danger Of Tyne and Ideal Jo. It was a great tonic for Duggan who is still recovering from injuries sustained in a race fall in July. Favourite punters were on the ball early with Heza Sport scoring his second career win for trainer-driver Rohan Hillier. Hillier was alert in the early stages and secured the spot behind Say A Prayer who had plenty of room to take an inside run and obtain the lead around the first corner. From there Hillier drove a patient race before gaining clear racing room at the top of the home straight to go on and record a 4.1-metre win. Heza Sport will be chasing his second win of the weekend when he lines up in the third race on Sunday night in Devonport from barrier three.   Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

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

HARRISBURG PA - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the leading media organization in North American harness racing, has announced the winners of its Dan Patch Awards balloting for excellence exhibited among both equines and humans. The "best of the best" are normally honored at the writers' Dan Patch Annual Awards Banquet, but that event was cancelled this year due to the ongoing health crisis, so a special Virtual Awards show was broadcast Saturday. The Dan Patch Awards Show will be archived & available on the USHWA website ( & USHWA Facebook page ( and also on USTA's YouTube channel, on Sunday, January 17, 2021. This release focuses on the human and broodmare award winners. The racehorse winners, including the Horse of the Year, will be listed in a separate release being sent at approximately the same time as this one. DRIVER DEXTER DUNN, BREEDER BRITTANY FARMS REPEAT AS WINNERS IN THEIR DAN PATCH CATEGORY Dexter Dunn, a nine-time winner of the driving title in his native land of New Zealand before the age of 30, has now been in the United States and Canada for two years, and he has been voted Driver of the Year both years. 2020 was an especially rich year for him, in two senses of the word: he was the leading money-winning driver last year with almost $11.2 million bankrolled by his charges, many of whom were voted champions of their respective divisions. In September, October, and November alone in the shortened season, he drove the winners of 26 races worth more than $100,000, including the pacing filly champions in both the 2- and 3-year-old ranks, Fire Start Hanover and Party Girl Hill; the two champions among the older pacing set, stallion Bettor's Wish and mare Kissin In The Sand; champion trotting mare Manchego; and champion sophomore trotting male Amigo Volo. He again won four Breeders Crown races. During 2021 Brittany Farms has a very good chance of being only the third breeding concern to have been the first home of the winners of $200,000,000 - and that figure achieved despite producing a good many fewer horses than their nearest competitors. They have tied Hanover Shoe Farms as the #1 breeders of Breeders Crown winners at 27. Among the farm's divisional winners in 2020 were Manchego, Bettor's Wish, and the undefeated two-year-old colt pacer Perfect Sting. They were third among breeders in 2020, with their progeny earning over $5.5 million - again, with fewer starts that others clustered at the top of the list.   PINSKE STABLES GIVEN NOD AS OWNERS OF THE YEAR; KELLY SMITH VOTED LEADING CARETAKER Fifty years in the sport with their familiar gold and green colors, the Pinske Stables, in their current composition Marlys Pinske, her son Karl, and her grandson Carter, had a great year to win the closest vote in all of the Dan Patch categories, 55-48, over another family operation, the Chaffees' Caviart Farms. The Pinskes were in various tracks' winners circles after several victories by the richest two-year-olds of both sexes, the trotting colt Venerate ($767,914) and the pacing filly Fire Start Hanover ($592,562), along with the leading three-year-old trotting colt, Amigo Volo, who won his Breeders Crown and the Kentucky Futurity. All three were voted divisional championships in the writers' Dan Patch balloting (more detail in Racehorse release). The winner of the 2020 Caretaker of the Year Award, sponsored by Art Zubrod and Leah Cheverie's Fair Island Farm, is Kelly Smith, a longtime worker in the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Chuck Sylvester. Smith was nominated by Sylvester himself, who called her "my unsung hero." Smith began working for Sylvester three decades ago, with one of her first champions being the 1993 Hambletonian Oaks winner Winky's Goal. Another of Smith's many champions and one of her all-time favorite horses is 2013 Breeders Crown champion Spider Blue Chip. In all, 16 nominations for the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year Award were submitted, with Smith chosen as a winner by a select group of seven USHWAns, all of whom were former caretakers themselves.   CHAMPION RACEHORSE JK SHE'SALADY NOW 2020 PACING BROODMARE OF THE YEAR; VOTE FOR TOP TROTTING BROODMARE GOES TO STEAMY WINDOWS Voted Horse of the Year after going undefeated in twelve freshman starts, the Art Major - Presidential Lady pacing mare JK She'salady is also showing her quality as a broodmare by winning that Dan Patch Award against strong opposition. Bred and owned by 3 Brothers Stables, JK She'salady from her first two foals has produced two outstanding fillies who ranked among the best of their divisions - the Western Ideal miss JK First Lady, a winner of over $700,000 and a sub-1:50 performer at both two and three, and the Always B Miki distaff JK Alwaysbalady, who won her Breeders Crown elimination then was second in the final. Both raced for 3 Brothers Stable. Her trotting counterpart is Steamy Windows, a daughter of Muscle Massive - Commando Queen who was bred and is owned by Order By Stable. She produced the Trotter of the Year, the Chapter Seven stallion Gimpanzee, who won his third straight Breeders Crown and dominated the free-for-all ranks, raising his career bankroll to $2.7 million. Gimpanzee's two-year-old full sister, Iteration, won half of her ten freshman starts and bankrolled over $300,000. Nancy Takter, trainer of Horse of the Year Tall Dark Stranger, was previously announced as the Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year after being nominated for the award by all of USHWA's chapters.   VOTING TOTALS 130 out of 185 (70.3%) of eligible voters submitted ballots Nancy Takter unanimously selected as Trainer of the Year by USHWA's chapters Caretaker of the Year selected by an USHWA panel   OWNER OF THE YEAR PINSKE STABLES 55 Caviart Farms 48 Crawford Farms 25 abstain 2 DRIVER OF THE YEAR DEXTER DUNN 114 David Miller 13 abstain 3 BREEDER OF THE YEAR BRITTANY FARMS 88 Order By Stable 30 Runthetable Stables 7 abstain 5 TROTTING BROODMARE OF THE YEAR STEAMY WINDOWS 79 Margarita Momma 31 Dunk The Donato 8 Nantab 7 abstain 2 PACING BROODMARE OF THE YEAR JK SHE'SALADY 48 Great Memories 39 Beachy Girl 31 Swinging Beauty 8 abstain 1   U.S. Harness Writers Association

Knockawarwon, a younger full brother to the 2019 USA harness racing 'Horse of the Year' and New Zealand's fastest pacer ever Shartin 1:46.8 ($2.5 million), was a very impressive winner at his first public appearance at the Menangle trials on Wednesday (January 13). A member of Tim Butt's Camden South team, the four-year-old gelding, with Jack Trainor at the helm, pinged straight to the front and reeled off sectionals of 29.1, 29.3, 28.1 and 27.8. He covered the 1609 metres in 1:54.9 - the second fastest time of the day. To watch the trial click here. Bred by Cantabrian breeder Grant Crabbe, Knockawarwon is a son of the Breeders Crown champion Tintin In America 1:53.2 ($906,422), who is now standing at Yirribee Pacing Stud in NSW, out of the Live Or Die mare Bagdarin (1:57.7). By Peter Wharton  

Harness racing Group 1 winning Maitland reinsman Guy Chapple was eyeing two qualifiers for the Golden Guitar on Sunday at Tamworth. Chapple will be among several Hunter trainers and drivers making the trip for five heats to decide the field for next week's $30,000 final. Yoha, trained by Chapple's son, Mitch, looks one of the top hopes in the series after winning easily at the track first-up last week. The Kiwi mare had won four of eight starts for the Chapples before the return run and Guy expected her to find the front from gate four in heat two. "She'll be hard to beat," he said. "She had her first-up run last week after a blow and she went really well. "We had targetted her for the Inter City Pace but it was pushed back to April, so we moved on to this one. "She's probably not far off being spot on, but she probably just didn't handle the track 100 per cent the other day. But I think she'll be right. She's one of the best horse I've had." He also drives Our Madiba, a winner twice in his past three starts, in heat four for Singleton trainer Aaron Goadsby. "It's been flying lately, and it gets around the track well and should get a nice run through from that [second-line] draw [behind Ticktockpocketwatch]," he said. The Chapples also have Roclea Ruler in the Starmaker Prelude. Craig Kerry Reprinted with permission of the Newcastle Herald