Day At The Track

Perth’s State Equestrian Centre played host on Sunday to the last of APG’s 2019 round of yearling sales, with 122 quality Westbred yearlings going under the hammer. Western Australia’s commercial breeders have really stepped to the fore in recent years, with APG’s 2017 crop of Perth Sales graduates including champions like Its Rock And Roll, To Fast To Serious, Shockwave and Patrickthepiranha, whilst the current crop of Perth Sales Graduates already includes the brilliant filly Double Expresso and fellow Group One winner, Major Martini. Buoyed by a renewed confidence in the local product, Western Australian buyers showed their support on Sunday, bidding strongly throughout the day to set new records for both sales average and turnover. In total, Sunday’s sale saw 94 of the 122 lots sell at an average of $18,253, an increase of 13.1% on the prior year.  Gross turnover was $1.715million, up by over 28% on the prior year, whilst the clearance rate of 76.4% was healthy enough, but was around 5% down on the prior year, no doubt due to the large increase in the number of yearlings that went under the hammer this year. Steve Johnson had a day to remember, breeding and preparing both the top priced colt and the top priced filly.  The colt, a Somebeachsomewhere full-brother to Group One winner, Red Hot Roxy, was knocked down to Rob Tomlinson for $87,500, whilst the filly, a Bettors Delight full-sister to Group One winner, Bettor Reward, went to Justin Prentice for $70,000. APG’s General Manager, David Boydell, was thrilled with the sales results, explaining “We’re delighted with the way buyers have supported the local product at this year’s sales. “There is no doubt that local breeders have invested heavily to lift the quality of the stock that they are presenting at the sales, so it is really satisfying to see buyers reward their efforts. “Whilst it was pleasing to see the progeny of the ‘Big Five’ stallions sell well, it was equally exciting to see some strong sales from other stallions, with Hes Watching, Four Starzzz Shark, Tintin In America, Rock N Roll Heaven and Follow The Stars all siring progeny that sold north of $30,000. “The bottom line is that we’re really pleased with the growth of our Perth Sale over the last three years, which has seen sales averages rise by over 34%.  We’re proud of the way our Perth breeders have supported the sales with quality horses, and we’re extremely appreciative of the way our Perth buyers have supported the sales and rewarded our breeders for their hard work. “I’m confident that this year’s crop of graduates will prove their worth when they start to hit the track in twelve months’ time, which will provide further proof to breeders that they are on the right path, and will further convince buyers of the benefits of supporting the local product. “Thank you to all the breeders and buyers who helped to make this year’s sales a success, and also to RWWA for their continued support of the WA Sales Classics and Westbred Bonus Scheme.” For a full list of results, please click here.   Top 12 Sales: Lot    Sire Dam Sex Buyer Sales Price 530 Somebeachsomewhere USA    Gabriella Rocks Colt R Tomlinson $87,500 516 Bettors Delight USA Chemical Romance Filly    J Prentice $70,000 591 Mach Three CA Royal Tour Colt Team Bond Pty Ltd    $60,000 509 Mach Three CA Artistic Copper Colt Andrew DeCampo $57,500 536 Hes Watching USA Here For The Money Colt B Simeon $50,000 546 Four Starzzz Shark CA Imogen Colt L O'Connor $46,000 540 Tintin In America NZ I Am Special Filly A Belton $40,000 559 Bettors Delight USA Lilianna Beauty USA    Filly Team Bond Pty Ltd $40,000 521 Captaintreacherous (US) Courage On Fire NZ Colt K Jeavons $36,000 552 Mach Three CA Jasmin Amal Colt K Gibellini $35,000 563 American Ideal USA Merry Mary Whitby Colt Pacing WA $35,000 592 Bettors Delight USA Robyns C C NZ Colt Pacing WA $35,000   Purchasers of Multiple Lots: Buyer No. Horses Pacing WA 7 J Prentice 4 Team Bond Pty Ltd    3 A Belton 3 D Padberg 3 P Anderson 3 S Zucchiatti 3 G Cox 3     APG Media

Sunday afternoon’s Collie harness racing meet saw $1.80 favourite Adda Rockinheaven lead all the way for trainer reinsman Dean Miller in the main race, the Telstra 5G Pace, where the trophy was a $1000 iPhone.  Both the winner and the runner-up, Nowuseemesmile moved to within two points of the leader in the Noel & Bev Holdsworth Leading Horse award. The leader, $1.90 favourite, Budd Sidewinder won his second race at Collie to go to the front in the award on 10 points.  He came from the one out one back position in the Ian Scott Handicap to storm to the front for trainer Michael Callegari and driver Dylan Egerton-Green. The second leg of a double for the leader in the Ray Aramini Reinsperson’s Award has Egerton-Green 16 points clear in the award from Shannon Suvaljko. The same combination was also successful in the other standing start event when Sammy’s Ideal dashed to the front in the back straight to run away from the opposition with Disco Spirit (Morgan Woodley) taking second from Bettor Twisted for trainer Sarah Suvaljko, the leader in the Auburn Valley Leading Trainer Award. She leads by two points from Peter Tilbrook. Shannon Suvaljko kept in touch with Egerton-Green with an impressive display behind the Tony Hynam trained Sarge in the Griffo’s Ice Cream Pace when leading all the way int he exceptionally fast time of 2.01.6 for the tight Collie circuit. Sarge is also just two points off the pace in the hunt for leading horse. It was a family affair for the Wallrodts in the TBS Stockfeeds Pace with son Cody leading all the way for Mum Karen’s and Dad Leo’s charge Mon Alisa Jet.   Keeping pace: Mon Alisa Jet (No 2) won for Karen and Cody Wallrodt in the TBS Stockfeeds Pace. Photo: Jessica Ashcroft.   She started a $3.50 favourite, also returning $2.20 for the place. The opening event on the program, the Past Members Pace, went to another leader in the Hayden Reeves trained, Morgan Woodley reined, Secure The Gold. In a heady drive the horse charged away to a 25 metre gap early before coming back to the field in the final lap to win narrowly.  He was great value at $5.60 and $1.50 as he has been consistent this season. The kids bike went to Jett Morton with Ken Truscott winning a Tote voucher for correctly forecasting the winners of races 2, 3, 4 and 5. The Punters Club had a welcome win of $187 this week so the share is now valued at $33. Hopefully he will really hit his straps next meeting. One winner and six placings was a good result for Collie connections in Friday night’s Narrogin program. Triple Brie continued her good form by coming home well for third for Bianca Ashcroft and Ashleigh Markham as a $1.50 place chance. Cody Wallrodt ran two thirds with Stephen Jelf’s Roman Reign ($4.60) and Charlie Draper’s Aint Misbehavin ($3.00). Trent Wheeler piloted the $2.90 favourite Glens of Tekoa to a win for Matthew Scott.  He also sat behind the favourite in Dennis Morton’s Handover Penny who charged home late for second as a $1.20 place chance. Another second was behind Adrian Shanks’ Miss Stonebridge ($2.40) and he ran an encouraging third behind Peter Hemsley’s Hillbilly Time who sat in his customary breeze position for the journey. This weekend’s racing centre’s around the Narrogin Cup meeting on Saturday Night and Bridgetown’s Cup meeting on Sunday afternoon where several Collie horse are nominated to compete. Favourite Adda Rockinheaven (No 1) winning the main race the Telstra 5G pace for Dean Miller.  Collie Harness Racing Club Reprinted with permission of The Collie Mail

The $1 million Hambletonian and the harness racing filly companion stake, the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, will be raced on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 3, at the Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Meadowlands has held America's Trotting Classic for a record 38 years, the longest run of any host track. The 94th edition of the Open event will feature eliminations and final on the same afternoon. Eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks, if necessary, will be raced Saturday, July 27. The 2018 Dan Patch Rising Star Award-winner, trainer Marcus Melander, also happens to have the Winter Book favorite for the Hambletonian in his stable, the freshman male Dan Patch divisional champion trotter, Gimpanzee. Gimpanzee authored a perfect 9-for-9 season for Melander and owners Courant Inc. & SRF Stable, winning the Breeders Crown and the New York Sires Stakes final on his way to $591,358 in earnings. "Gimpanzee has been training very good all winter, never missed a day of training and he has grown and filled out nicely. He's on the road to the Hambo starting in May (New York Sire Stakes) at Vernon Downs," said Melander. Melander has more than just one arrow in his Hambletonian quiver - add in Green Manalishi S, ($510,557) runner-up to stablemate Gimpanzee in the Breeders Crown and winner of the William Wellwood Memorial who closed his year with five wins and five seconds in 10 starts, and Greenshoe ($76,723), who fetched $330,000 as a yearling under the name Rifleman. Greenshoe scored his major victory in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final in an abbreviated freshman campaign. "Green Manalishi S has also been training good all winter," continued Melander. "He's probably grown and filled out even more than the rest of the group. He was a really big horse last year and I think now when he's a year older and filled out so nice over the winter it will be very exciting to see how he developed. The plan is to qualify him in the beginning of May. "Greenshoe feels like he's matured a lot during the winter months, he's an incredibly fast horse, definitely the fastest one of my 3-year olds, but he needs to behave himself better at the track this year. He will qualify in late April and his first race for the season will be in New Jersey Sire Stakes." Demon Onthe Hill ($144,542) and Gerry ($67,147) also train in the Melander barn, completing an impressive starting lineup for the 27-year-old native of Sweden. "Demon Onthe Hill - he's a nice little horse that always does his best. He did great in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes last year and then had some bad racing luck down in Lexington. He's been training good and he definitely has the potential to be in the Hambletonian. Gerry, he's a really nice horse, he started out his 2-year-old season very good but then ran in to some problem later in the season. He's been training well all winter and I'm very excited how he developed over the winter." Other highly anticipated eligibles include Swandre The Giant, an Indiana-bred son of Swan For All-Adagio who changed hands for a reported seven-digit sum last year after racking up seven straight wins in state-bred company. Horse agent Ernie Martinez, who put the deal together for current owners Diamond Creek racing, J&T Silva Stables and Howard Taylor, reports that the colt is training down in the Florida division of the Ron Burke stable. "I don't like to throw money around," said Martinez. "But this colt impressed me so much. Maybe we asked him to do too much too soon last year but we turned him out in Kentucky and Burke loves the way he is training down." Peter Haughton winner Don't Let'Em, Valley Victory winner Southwind Avenger, and O'Brien Award winner Forbidden Trade are all listed among the eligible horses. There are no supplemental entries permitted in the Hambletonian and Oaks, nor are participants in those events or the Hambletonian Maturity (July 18), permitted the use of Lasix or Butazolidin. The Hambletonian is the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown, followed by the Yonkers Trot at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 31, and the Kentucky Futurity at the Red Mile on Sunday, Oct. 6. The Hambletonian is also the longest-running live broadcast in harness racing. The Aug. 3 event will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). The Hambletonian Trail commences Saturday, May 4, with the Dexter Cup and Lady Suffolk at Freehold Raceway. Eligibles for all Hambletonian-serviced stakes can be found at Moira Fanning

The world’s oldest bookmaker is not ready to call it a day anytime soon. The popular identity will again be beside his trusty board for the famous Silver City mining town’s iconic racing fixtures this weekend – the harness racing Carnival of Cups on Friday night and the St Pat’s Race Club gallops on Saturday. 93-year-old Doug Carroll, from Broken Hill, is not only as sharp as a tack, but has zest for life, energy and enthusiasm – and a sometimes-wicked sense of humor – that would do credit to someone half his age. “I don’t really know what else I’d do – I reckon I’ve pretty much learnt the art of bookmaking, and sometimes punter, over the years,” Doug said with a chuckle. “Unfortunately, I did like the punt as well as the bookmaking. I mixed my gait a bit in the old days and it took me 65 years to realise not to!  I’d win 1000 pound on the book and I’d have to give the bookie next to me 1500! “A bloke told me once that I’d stop the sun from coming up!  I think he was pretty well right. I’ve had some good times and some good days and never made a fortune, but I’ve absolutely loved it.” Doug makes no secret they’re his favorite events of the year, and he can judge, because he keeps a busy schedule for a nonagenarian bookie! Apart from 10 Broken Hill Harness Racing meetings each season, he fields at many iconic inland NSW bush meetings, including the Cobar Cup, Wentworth on Melbourne Cup Day, Balranald Cup on Derby Day, the Pooncarie Cup and Nyngan on Anzac Day. He’s also a regular bookie at the Mildura Pacing Cup in April. “I really believe the once or twice-a-year meetings kill all the others,” Doug said. “But I do thoroughly enjoy the battle with the punters on St Pat’s weekend. They’ve beaten me a few times over the years, and they could easily do the same again but that’s all part of it,” he said. “St Pat’s and the Carnival of Cups are terrific.  I love them because they attract people from all over the place who make their annual trip to Broken Hill for the weekend. But the meetings themselves are different too. There’s that friendly, relaxed bush feel about them.” Doug has fielded at every St Pats meeting since the first in 1966 but took up the bookie’s bag about a decade prior, when he was 26. “My dad always loved a bet and I wagged school from the time I was 13 until I was 16 to hang around outside the pub with the ‘cockatoo’ and run dad’s bets,” he said. “There was always betting in the pubs, the authorities just turned a bit of a blind eye, I think.  Once I left school, I worked at the North Broken Hill Mine, then at the Barrier Daily Truth newspaper. But a mate of mine, Joe Fargher asked me if I wanted to get a bookie’s licence and of course I was keen. “But the Bookmakers Association was a closed shop at the time, so Joe and I went to the President of the Barrier Industrial Council, which was strong at the time. We told him we were local boys, we’d lived here all our lives and we couldn’t get a licence.  A week later it had been ‘fixed up’, so we were on our way.” Broken Hill was booming in the 1950s and 1960s, with a population reaching 36,000 (now approximately 15,000). When Doug started there were 45 bookmakers in the betting ring at the fortnightly greyhound races in Broken Hill. “If it wasn’t the greyhounds, it would be the gallops then later the trots or greyhounds and we’d run books for all the city and interstate meetings as well. We’d be run off our feet. It was just go, go, go. “Probably the biggest bet I ever had was about 5000 to 1000. It was a good bet, but I had to put a bit of it back with other bookies. “But it goes both ways.  I had a bit of a lucky escape when the bloke who was working my board made a mistake with prices at the gallops.  A horse that should have been three to one, he put it up as 33s and a local shearer had 100 on.  The horse led and it led and it led, but thankfully it hit the last hurdle and fell over.  I don’t think I would have been in business if it’d got home!” But he’s remained steadfastly in business, an achievement honoured in mid-January alongside five other iconic NSW bookies at Rose Hill Gardens’ inaugural Bookmaker Recognition Day.  Doug was unable to attend because of “work commitments” at the Broken Hill trots! In more than 65 years in the game, though, Doug’s seen his share of change. “I found it tough at first when I had to go to decimal on the boards.  There was a fair bit of having to stop and think. I’d been calling out odds of 6/4, 9/2 and stuff like that for years,” he said. “The electronic system is a Godsend though.  If you’ve seen a bookie working the ledgers, you never really know where you are at during the meeting because you start adding it up and someone comes and has a bet and you lose your place. You mightn’t remember all the bad bets and sometimes the bag gets pretty low because it’s hard to keep track! “But with the computers I can just look over see straight away how much we are holding and what’s going to be the worst result. “Most of the time I do give the local trainers and owners a point over the odds because I don’t mind seeing them win.  That’s what keeps them going in the game and if I lose a bit to do that, then that’s OK.  They’ll keep coming back.” Doug said he had more than a few close calls, most memorably on one occasion at Broken Hill. “There was only three or four horses in the race and all the bookies had the favorite at 1/2. There was support for one of the others, so we turned the favorite out to evens. “Well, they came at us from everywhere, even guys who wouldn’t normally bet, and I found myself a bit light in the tank – in other words, I didn’t have enough in the bag to cover the bets. “We were looking down the barrel of some big payouts and of course, the damn thing bolted in.” But Doug said he noticed many of the stable supporters were somewhat subdued. “I thought there may be some worry because surely they’d be off celebrating at the bar, but instead they were all standing on their tippy-toes watching the jockeys weigh in. And we soon found out why. The winning jockey weighed in seven pounds light, so the horse was disqualified. “I ended up winning three hundred pounds, but it could have been disastrous.” Doug might be one of the survivors in a rapidly-changing industry where tradition is being lost to the corporate betting agencies.  But he’s still learning new tricks. “One of my bookie mates Peter Murray and I always worked in together, but he always did the form,” Doug said. “Unfortunately he died last year and I’d never done form in my life because he’d always taken care of it. So I had to start doing the form.  I was like a fish out of water at first, but I’m starting to enjoy doing it now.  “I don’t think I’ll ever give it up – not until I don’t know what I’m doing, anyway. So if I give you 10/1 about an odds-on pop you better say Dougie, time to go!” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Stewards questioned Smith about his relationship with harness racing trainer Neil Costello. Forensic investigation of Smith's mobile phone made Costello a person of interest however Costello has refused to give evidence during the hearing and was warned off Australian racetracks last year. In Her Time’s Group II Sydney Stakes win in 2017 is under a cloud after it was revealed the mare returned elevated levels of formaldehyde - an embalming fluid – during the Ben Smith inquiry on Tuesday. Stewards continued their inquiry into the embattled trainer’s actions at the offices of Racing NSW on Tuesday after excessive levels of cobalt were returned in four samples taken from Smith-trained horses last year. To read the full article written by Clinton Payne on Racenet click here        

Josephine Brook has been a model of consistency for Robbie Clifford this season, but there is still one thing the harness racing trainer has yet to witness from his mare - a win. Across her 13 starts Josephine Brook has only twice finished outside the top three, with three of her runner-up performances seeing her cross the line less than two metres behind the victor. Clifford hopes that Wednesday night's Harness Racing NSW Rewards Series Final (1,730m) at the Bathurst Paceway will be the race where the five-year-old can finally break through.  If she can it would be her first victory since May 25, 2016. "It's just frustrating," Clifford admitted. "This will be the fifth Rewards Series Final for her this time in. She's been pretty consistent, that's for sure, and she's not doing anything wrong, she's just not finding the line in front. "She seems to be well graded in this series, but every final or series there just seem to be one or two that are coming through that are just that bit better than her." The Roll With Joe x Kassandra Brook mare qualified for Wednesday's final via a second placing in her Dubbo heat. That was from a second row draw, but for the 8.40pm decider she will go from the inside of the front with Tony Higgs in the gig after drawing barrier three. Clifford feels that will play in Josephine Brook's favour given the two runners he sees as the biggest threats - Wendy Turnbull's Walk On Kimmy and William Stubbs' Lovin Everyday - have drawn on the back row. "In her last final she drew okay and led, but she got run down in the finish. We'll be going forward with her again from this draw and then I guess just play it by ear from there," Clifford said. "The two main dangers, Wendy Turnbulll's and the one from Dubbo Mat Rue is driving, they were heat winners. They both led and won, but at least on Wednesday we'll start a cart in front of them."- By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

Homelessness has been identified as a major problem on the Fleurieu Peninsula for many years, and this March, community leaders will sleep out to address the issue. The Victor Harbor Harness Racing Club will play host to a 'Sleep Out' for the homeless event on March 30 and it is hoped the planned family friendly event, with live music, an outdoor cinema, food stalls, and information booths will raise much needed funds and awareness for the homeless in our community.  In March 2014, the Southern Fleurieu Housing Round Table conducted a survey across the region and found there were 144 people who did not have a home, including 56 children under 13 years old. Organiser of the Sleep Out Karly Cousins, said estimates show that approximately 116,000 people were experiencing homelessness in Australia. "Only six percent of these are viewed as the 'visible homeless,' the rest are hidden from view and are easily forgotten about," she said. Following a forum held in Victor Harbor last year, Karly's daughter Lauren, aged 11, was challenged by these statistics, and in an effort to raise much needed funds for those suffering from homelessness in the area, shaved her long, blonde hair. "With the assistance of local community members and leaders, and local businesses she was able to exceed her goal of fundraising $4,000, by raising an incredible $8,000," said Karly. "These funds were donated to the Fleurieu Community Foundation's Homelessness Fund and we are now challenging members and leaders of the Fleurieu to Step Up and Sleep Out. "We are challenging you to sleep that night in cardboard or a car, to experience what people experiencing homelessness know all too well. "Help us to raise awareness of this difficult issue; to stand in solidarity with people experiencing homelessness; and to raise much needed funds to support the most vulnerable in our communities." Member for Finniss David Basham will be sleeping out and said Karly had put forward a great initiative to raise funds for the Fleurieu Community Foundation's Homelessness Fund. "I know there are many people in our community who want to help so I urge them to get involved," he said. “I’ve been strongly encouraged by the compassion in our community for people facing homelessness, and I think events like these are a great way to harness this compassion and deliver direct support for services to the people who need it most. I’m looking forward to seeing a big turnout.” Father Jesse Poole, of Victor Harbor Anglican Church is involved in planning the event and said it will help advocate for additional funding in homelessness services. By Jack Manning Reprinted with permission of The Victor Barbor Times    

A PICTURE perfect day greeted nearly 3,000 racegoers in Wagga Wagga as the Riverina Paceway was officially opened last Sunday. The enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a great day of harness racing with some excellent performances on track highlighted by Tuapeka Glory setting a new track record in the best finish of the day.  The seven-year-old made use of the new sprint lane to defeat Pocket Of Terror by a short half -head, with the first four placegetters separated by less than one and a half metres. In the first race of the day Anthony Frisby drove Mistery Road to victory claiming a historic double. Frisby took out the first race at the grand opening of the new Bathurst track in October 2014 aboard Uncle Paul. Harness Racing New South Wales Chief Executive John Dumesny was delighted with the new track and the crowd that had come to enjoy the day. “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m thrilled that the Riverina now has this wonderful facility where trainers and drivers can really demonstrate how talented their horses are,” Dumesny said. “It really is exciting to see such a great crowd here and we’ve been blessed with perfect weather. It’s a wonderful day for people to experience harness racing for the first time, or even reconnect with the sport after many years.” The opening ceremony included Rod Smith (Chairman of HRNSW), Michael McCormack MP (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Riverina) and Paul Toole MP (NSW Minister for Racing) who all spoke about the importance of this facility for the Riverina and for harness racing in NSW. McCormack was thoroughly impressed with the facility. “This facility will be the jewel in the crown for harness racing track across all of country Australia,” he said. Meanwhile, Toole commended HRNSW on its foresight and perseverance. “There have been a number of people involved over this journey that is about making sure that this industry is going to go from strength to strength.” Leading reinsman Luke McCarthy doesn’t make too many trips to Wagga but was impressed by what he saw. “I don’t often come to Wagga but with a track and facility like this I can certainly see it attracting trainers from Sydney more often, especially for the club’s feature races which they wouldn’t have travelled to in the past,” McCarthy commented. The next feature meeting at Riverina Paceway will be Wagga’s Carnival of Cups event on Sunday 21 April (Easter Sunday) which includes the Wagga Cup.   Kyle Maher

Legendary WA reinsman Gary Hall Jnr took out the 2019 edition of the Decron Horse Care - Noel Smith Memorial - Horsham Invitation Drivers Championship on Monday afternoon. It was Hall's second time as competitor but the third occasion he had accepted the Horsham club's invitation to make the long, west to east haul.  "Back in 2009 I was having a few issues with being on aeroplanes and was a late-late scratching," he said. "But it turned out a good result for my replacement Lance Justice, who went on to win the title." Hall made it to Horsham for the 2010 series and finished in the middle of the tally board behind Jim Douglass (NSW) with a first, fifth and eighth from his three drives. "I really enjoyed the visit over here and hoped to be back again sooner, but this is the first time I've been able to slot it in since."  The first heat of the day saw Hall gain valuable points when partnering 50/1 chance Cripparno into fourth spot behind Ardens Winstar for the Chris Alford/David Drury combo. Heat two saw Hall lead all the way with the Michael Stanley debutant Off The Bench to gain maximum points after looking likely to be run down by the 70/1 outsider Crowded Reactor (Rob Morris/Bec East), who galloped in the shadows of the post. It was a popular win on social media, with Off The Bench part-owned by Craig Hutchison and AFL footballer and trots ambassador Josh Jenkins. The horse had been much discussed in the lead-up on the Off The Bench radio program, which airs throughout Victoria on Saturday mornings. Hall then drove a trademark heady race aboard Emma Stewart's very smart four-year-old entire Concealment in the third round of the contest to score by five metres over the $1.50 favourite Crime Writer (Chris Alford/Matt Craven). Heading into the fourth and final heat, Hall needed to beat a few others home with the 70/1 roughie Rocking Tess to secure the championship while Alford, Jason Lee and Michael Bellman had some chance of stealing the title if the cards fell their way.  Courtesy of a soft trip on the pegs, Rocking Tess managed to cross the line in sixth place, some 40 metres behind Major Times (Kerryn Manning/Emma Stewart) and Jean Luc (Chris Alford/Lance Justice) who fought out a very close finish. When accepting the Noel Smith Memorial shield from club president Justin Lane, Hall admitted that the luck had certainly fallen his way, but that it was still a great thrill to come out on top. Hall went on to thank series sponsor Merv Butterworth together with the many other sponsors who made the day so enjoyable, not just for the 10 invitees but all the trainers, drivers and owners  who have supported the meeting. He also thanked the Horsham club for staging what is "such a fun event for us."  While Hall took home the Noel Smith Memorial Shield, a host of trainers, drivers and owners also went home as winners with product and voucher giveaways courtesy of Decron Horse Care, Carbine Chemicals, Finn Tack, Mustad Australia, Oringi Protection Wear, Tabcorp Park Melton, Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association, Claire Weston Photography, Roma Pocock, Grafx Inc, Norton Estate Wines, Virbac Animal Health, Harness Breeders Victoria and Riverspa Apartments Moama.   Tony Logan

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) advises Brett Day has been appointed Chairman of Stewards (COS) effective 12 of March, 2019 after former COS Nick Murray advised he would step down from the role and will commence in the position of Senior Steward. Mr Day has been acting in the role of COS since Mr Murray took an extended period of leave due to the illness of an immediate family member in June 2018. HRV GM – Integrity Brent Fisher welcomed Mr Day’s appointment and said his “thorough knowledge, leadership and experience on the stewards’ panel meant he was a great fit”. Mr Murray returned to HRV today. “It is great to have Nick back at HRV as he is a great mentor and leader and he is such a quality person and he is well respected by his peers,” Mr Fisher said. “I’d like to take this opportunity to both congratulate Brett on his appointment and welcome Nick back.”    Cody Winnell HRV Media

More than 70 percent of the dams represented in this year’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale, to be conducted by Darren Ebert & Co on Sunday, March 31, are race winners. Of the 76 lots catalogues, 54 are out of race-winning dams with 41 taking a record of 2:00 or better. Yearlings are out of the Group/Listed winning racemares such as the Seymour Nursery and QBred 2YO Triad winner Catwalk Beauty ($156,566), Too Smart For You ($149,684, QLD 4YO Breeders Classic), the Paleface Adios Classic winner Bangkok Dancer, Cullen’s Jewel (QLD 3YO Breeders Classic and Redcliffe 3YO Sales Classic), Designer Style (Redcliffe 2YO Sales Classic) and the Redcliffe Oaks winner Montana Tess. Other well performed mares include the dual Queensland Rising Stars Championship winner Ideal Tact ($98,454), Young Desiree ($89,451), Blissfull Kisses ($72,358), Perfection On Ice (1:55.9), Dance Like A Dream (1:55.9), Suki Suki (1:55.3), Riverboat Royce, the Seymour Nursery heat winners Emma Montana and Three Jewels and the Queensland Oaks placegetter Kiana Frances. Almost 50 percent of the dams represented in the catalogue are winner-producing mares. They have left siblings to the QBred 2YO Triad and Queensland 2YO Breeders Classic winner Smart As Camm Be, Pub Blitz (winner of $362,963), Cha Ching Chaching, winner of the Queensland 2YO Breeders Classic and Redcliffe Yearling Sale Classic, the QBred 2YO Triad victor Jack Malone, Wicked Style (QBred 3YO Triad), Bonnie Jujon (QLD 2YO Breeders Classic and QBred 3YO Triad), Capitalize (QLD 2YO Breeders Classic) and the Redcliffe Sales Classic winners Celtic Cruza, Mathilda Diventa, Designer Style, Couldntresist and Dapper Bessie. Yearlings are eligible for the Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series with a minimum stake of $100,000 for two-year-olds in 2020 and the rich 3YO Sale Classic in 2021. They are also eligible for the Breeders Crown, the QBred Bonus Scheme, Bathurst Gold Crown, Vicbred and the NSW Breeders Challenge. Catalogues are available from the auctioneer Darren Ebert on phone 0410 688 176 or email, Garrard’s Horse & Hound stores in every State and the Redcliffe and Albion Park tracks. The electronic catalogue can be found here:    Peter Wharton

Racing Queensland’s TAB Grand Slam bonuses have been increased to $165,000, with the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club’s stand-alone Group 1 meeting moved to a Saturday night timeslot in two major enhancements for the 2019 TAB Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival. The TAB Grand Slam bonuses, introduced in 2018, brought with them record interstate participation and record wagering for the G2 Sunshine Sprint and G1 Blacks A Fake meetings. The Group 1 Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series Final meeting will be moved to a Saturday night time-slot (June 22) to capitalize on a record wagering result in 2018, kick-starting the TAB Grand Slam Bonus legs, which include:    $50,000 Blacks A Fake Bonus – Payable to any horse which completes the TAB Sunshine Sprint/Blacks A Fake winning double $15,000 Derby Bonus – Payable to any horse that wins the Redcliffe and TAB QLD Derbies $15,000 Oaks Bonus – Payable to horse that wins the Redcliffe and TAB QLD Oaks’ $15,000 Trotters Bonus – Payable to horse that wins the Redcliffe and QLD Trotters Cups $20,000 Trainers’ Bonus – Payable to any trainer that can win two of the following TAB Queensland Derby TAB Queensland Oaks Queensland Trotters Cup and; TAB Blacks A Fake. $10,000 TAB Blacks A Fake Grand Final tickets – Payable to any horse who wins one of the 2018/19 Grand Circuit Races and starts in the 2019 TAB Blacks A Fake. Following the running of the Miracle Mile the ticket holders are: Tiger Tara Thefixer Turn It Up Rocknroll Lincoln Spankem The enhanced bonuses complement recent prize money increases to the 2019 TAB Queensland Derby and Oaks, which will this year be run for $100,000 and Group 1 status. Queensland driver and Sky Racing presenter Brittany Graham announced the enhancements on television program ‘In The Gig’ on Tuesday evening.  Graham, who will also host live coverage of Saturday’s Australian Female Drivers Championship at Albion Park, said the bonuses had reinvigorated the Queensland Winter Carnival. “As a proud Queenslander it has been great to see TAB getting behind our Winter Carnival through increased prize money and bonuses, which we hope will bring some of these top-line horses to the Sunshine State this year,” Graham said. Racing Queensland Harness Development and Strategy Manager David Brick said it was important to continue to find innovative ways to increase returns to participants, while boosting breeding stocks and wagering on Queensland races. “The highly successful Breed A Trotter program, enhancements to the QBRED Scheme which will see horses eligible to win cash bonuses throughout their entire racing career in Queensland, the introduction of TAB meetings at Marburg and race series for grass roots horses and participants and, significant boosts to prize money, are just some examples of RQ’s commitment to ensure the sport prospers in the years to come.”     Racing Queensland

The Victorian Mallee township of Birchip again came alive with the annual Sharp’s Bakery Mallee Bull Harness Racing Cup on Sunday afternoon - the one and only meeting conducted by the club for the season. And according to official gate-taking figures, the small township’s population doubled for the day with nearly 1200 people in attendance. “It was an absolutely magnificent day, both on and off the track,” club President Max Dillon said. “We race on an 805-metre track, but the crowd is so close to the action, so the atmosphere for the whole eight event meeting was unreal,” Dillon said. It was a day of highlights, with the track record was equalled and on-course tote holdings up by several thousand dollars. According to Dillon, much of the credit for the cup meeting’s success goes to the enthusiastic 24-member committee, more than half of whom are aged under 35 years.  They’re also backed up by a committed band of voluntary helpers, sponsors and supporters. “The whole town actually gets behind the meeting and it’s probably our biggest social event of the calendar,” he said. “We had six marquees with one involving 100 family and friends celebrating the 50th birthday of Darren Cozens, while another was a school reunion group. “The children had plenty to choose from with a giant slide, jumping castle, animal farm, pony rides and face painting.” Sponsors tipped in more than $18,000 and that certainly created a pathway for a wonderful meeting which saw the 32nd running of the Cup. (L-R) Birchip Harness Racing Club secretary Brad Sharp and president Max Dillon present the Mallee Bull trophy to Leon Mulquinney, who accepted on behalf of connections.  This was the third consecutive year the Mallee Bull Cup had been staged at the Birchip paceway after being hosted at neighboring tracks such as Charlton and Swan Hill for the previous decade. Lancefield-based reinsman Rodney Petroff won the cup for the second time since racing resumed at Birchip, with a masterful driving exhibition on Dunrobbin (We Will See USA-Rayanne’s Phoenix (Live Or Die USA). The gelding, prepared by Mark Thompson, was sent out a $6.40 chance. Petroff previously won the feature event in 2017 with Regal Ambition, trained at Bendigo by former Birchip resident, Gary Donaldson. After some quick early splits in Sunday’s Cup, Petroff found himself third-last, but didn’t flinch a muscle until coming to get the bell. He worked out three wide but was quick to slot into the one-one for a breather down the back straight. With 400 metres to go, Petroff released the handbrake and Dunrobbin swept to the front to record a nice win over Top The Ace and John Richard. The mile rate of 2.00-6 was a whisker outside the track record. Driving honors for the day went to Ballarat junior concession driver James Herbertson with a winning treble. Herbertson is enjoying a purple patch at present and horses certainly appear to run for him. Racegoers were asked to contribute a gold-coin donation to the Team Teal fundraiser – the result was a $1600 donation to the Team Teal coffers Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

She won the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in 2017 and now Queensland’s recently crowned Australian Female Drivers champion, Narissa McMullen, has another burning ambition. “I want to drive a Group One winner now. That’s my next goal. In the meantime I just want to keep driving winners and become a better driver,” the Fernvale resident said. The talented 24-year-old reinswoman finished top of the 12-strong table with 79 points at Saturday's Australian Female Drivers Championship at Albion Park. Her points came via wins behind Annika Magic and Subtle Delight in heats two and five; and she also finished second and fourth behind Shards Halo (Heat 1) and Cool Scoter (Heat 3). KerryAnn Turner (NSW) was runner-up with 75 points, while Victorian harness racing legend Kerryn Manning, and McMullen’s cousin Kelli Dawson, finished tied for third with 54 points apiece. McMullen said it was always good to get one over family members, especially brother Peter. “He’s my only brother and the only one older than me. I’m probably more competitive with him and my sisters than I am my cousins," she said. “It was great to see Kelli do so well. Nathan (Dawson) is also a cousin so there’s a few of us out there. I’ve only just started to take it all in. I’m so happy,” McMullen said the morning after her nailing her first Australian title." McMullen and her siblings, Peter and Danni-elle have all won BOTRA Queensland Juniors Driving titles as well. McMullen, who works at her parents – John and Jennette’s stable at Glamorgan Vale, said she celebrated with a night out. “It was an amazing feeling and even though I was 13 points ahead going into the last heat I never took anything for granted. I just had to focus,” McMullen said. “Only this morning has it really started to sink in. I’m so proud." There were seven heats of the AFDC on Saturday and two other tote races. McMullen carried on her winning ways in the ninth event – in track record time. She steered the Stephen Cini trained Quietly Spoken along the passing lane to win the feature 1660m trot in 1:59.3, which equated to a 1:55.6 mile rate. “It’s been a night to remember. Stephen had this mare spot on tonight,” McMullen said immediately after the $9,000 trot. According to Saturday's racebook, McMullen has now driven 726 winners and had 6,560 drives. She vividly remembers her first win. “That was Miniature Classic for Ron Sallis at Albion Park (October 18, 2010). My brother ran second (Southern Pacific),” she said. Dad - John, who won the Australasian Junior Driving title in 1986, and Mum - Jennette were “super proud”. “All four of our kids (including Taleah) are fierce rivals on the track and enjoy bragging rights at the Monday night family dinner," Jenette said. “Pete, Narissa and Danni-elle have always been competitive since their pony trot days. Pete was very proud last night though, ringing me on his way home to tell me Narissa proved she is the best female driver in Australia. “He said she drove six out of seven ‘top races’, and the only bad drive for the night was on his horse." She said doing the hard yards and driving ordinary horses had taught Narissa to be a good driver. “Her hard work and has dedication paid off’. Dad’s (John) quote is: ‘All his years of advice have finally paid dividends’. That’s tongue in cheek as he is a very hard task master as everybody at the track knows,” Jenette said. She said her daughter studied Science and Journalism for a year after leaving school and gave that up for her love of horses. “Narissa trained and owned a top horse called Bettor Draw who finished third in an Interdominion heat in Brisbane in 2015. Then he ran fourth in the Bohemia Chrystal at Menangle a few weeks later," Jenette said. “He was a super horse to her and led Narissa to move to Sydney for six months to train. Murano was another nice horse that Narissa had. He won great horse about 15 races. “In 2015 she won the Lady Drivers Group 2 Invitation race on Inters day as well. That was probably her most successful year. “As you can tell, I am very proud of all my kids." Meanwhile, McMullen’s three wins added another $600 to the Women’s Cancer Team Teal Fundraiser. She finished the February 1 to March 9 campaign with the most wins (23). Women in fact won eight of the nine races carded last night, ensuring another $1600 was added to the final pot, which totalled more than $11,000. Competitors in last night’s 2019 Australia Female Driving Championship were: Narissa McMullen and Kelli Dawson (QLD), Hannah Vandongen (TAS), Samantha Gangell (TAS), Kerry Ann Turner (NSW), Ellen Rixon (NSW), Madeline Young (WA), Emily Suvaljko (WA), Lisa Ryan (SA), Kaela Hryhorec (SA), Kima Frenning (VIC), and Kerryn Manning (VIC). Duane Ranger

There’s rarely a day goes by when Bendigo harness racing trainer Danny Curran doesn’t remember the good times spent with a lifelong buddy. Growing up in Victoria’s north west grain farming district near Chinkapook, west of Swan Hill, Danny became friends with Robert Dacey, both sharing a love of horses. “As teenagers we did our bakery apprenticeships together at the Nyahwest Bakery and it just continued on from there,” Curran, who now trains from a property on the outskirts of Bendigo at Marong, said. And despite the fact that Dacey is no longer with us, losing a battle with cancer last July, his legacy continues in the form of handy country pacer Sunrose Master, trained by Curran. Sunrose Master (Vintage Master-Sunrose Mary (Village Jasper) was sent out a warm $1.60 favorite in the $10,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Country Series final at Swan Hill last Thursday. He led from the start and was perfectly rated by junior driver James Herbertson, who made it two-from-two, having won on the pacer in a Gunbower qualifying heat 12 days earlier. Curran said he had advertised the gelding for sale a few times, but surprisingly got little interest. “I decided last year that my stable numbers were getting up a bit and you can’t keep them all. Before Robert died, he told me to move the horse on if I ever wanted too, providing he had some form on the board,” Curran said. “He sure had that because he’d won at Ballarat and then finished second at Melton and I thought my phone would go crazy, but I couldn’t believe it when there wasn’t a lot of interest.” Sunrose Master has now posted six wins from 38 starts for over $35,000 in stakes. Curran said after completing his bakery apprenticeship in the early ‘70’s, he later bought the Sea Lake and Charlton bakeries. “Rob took off traveling, like most people seemed to do then after finishing apprenticeships, but when he came back home, I gave him a job,” Curran said. In the years to come, both took different career paths, but remained the best of mates – Dacey gaining employment with Telstra, while Curran purchased a supermarket at Charlton. “I still bake up bread, pies, pizzas and the works at home when I get the chance because I loved the bakery work, but in the end the 2am starts got the better of me,” Curran said. And the fun-loving horseman later showed his versatility by running a hotel for six years, then decided to try his hand as motelier in both Swan Hill and later Bendigo, before raising chickens at a farm at Lockwood South.  He and his wife Jenny also spent a two-year stint in Darwin, where Curran played football for St Mary’s. “Yes, we’ve had a few changes of scenery along the way, but when I had the White Swan Hotel and Burke and Wills Motel in Swan Hill, Rob was pretty much the main man with our horses,” Curran said. “They were stabled at his place at Nyahwest and I virtually only did the fast work. Rob did all the jogging, mixed up the feeds and cleaned the stables – we couldn’t have done it without him. “When we moved to Bendigo, that left Rob virtually without a horse so he went and brought two well-bred broodmares from Alabar Farms, that were in foal.” The result was a line of horses named “Sunrose”, with which Dacey had great success - including Sunrose Don (17 wins), Sunrose Mary (11 wins) and Sunrose Village, which won two races in Victoria before being sold to WA and winning a further six. Curran said when Sunrose Master first arrived at his place early last year, he wasn’t “overly excited”. “Then one day I was just poking along with him and he got a fright and took off. He showed me he had some ability that I didn’t really know he possessed,” Curran said. “And fortunately, the horse hasn’t looked back. He should continue on his winning way for quite a while yet, I hope.” Curran has had some impressive performers over the years including Eleven Grand, a winner of five consecutive races before breaking a leg; Packard who won 15 with 11 placings for $52,000 from 64 starts; and Fenech, a winner of 11, with nine placings from 30 outings for over $47,000. “I’ve been around horses all from life. Dad had draft horses when I was young, and he also use to buy ponies and get me to ride those around. Then when they were nice and quiet, he’d sell them! “I went to the very first Nyah meeting in 1967, and still have the racebook. I’ve always loved the trots and actually grew up with a former well known reinsman in Terry Pearse as a neighbor. Terry was a popular and talented driver around the Swan Hill area.” Despite clear memories of December 25 and 26, 1974, when Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin and in which 71 lives were lost, Danny and Jenny still venture north during the winter months. “It was scary. We were in a small flat, but we came out of it very lucky with just a few cuts and abrasions. It did take us a few years to get over it,” Curran said. And with the annual pilgrimage just around the corner, will Sunrose Master be again on the market? “We haven’t decided yet.  We’ve only got two other horses going around at the moment,” he said. But with Curran track record as a “a born trader” of bakeries, supermarkets, hotels, motels – as well as horses – there’s every possibility his stable star could be destined for a new home! Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

THE New South Wales harness racing scene has attracted yet another top driver. With an influx of interstate and international trainers and drivers now calling the state home, young reinsman Leonard Cain is the latest to be added to this list. Born and raised in Queensland, the 19-year-old driver has established his driving career in the Sunshine State. In only three seasons of driving, Cain has thrust himself amongst the top 10 drivers in Queensland and is now looking for a new challenge. “I’ve had good success in Queensland but it’s now time to make the next move,” said Cain. Having already driven more than 150 winners in his succinct career, Cain is eager to make his name in NSW. “I will be in Sydney now and willing to drive for any and everyone and I’m more than happy to travel for race meetings,” he said. So much so, Cain had his first drive since relocating south at the new Riverina Paceway at Wagga Wagga yesterday. And today, Cain is traveling many kilometres to make his driving commitments at Newcastle this afternoon. Cain will drive the Melanie Elder-trained Days End in race eight and earned a couple of other catch drives as well. He has also locked in a drive with the Tim Butt-trained Denstown at Menangle tomorrow afternoon. Cain drove for the Miracle Mile-winning trainer at Wagga on Sunday when partnering with Italian Delight to finish third. Ironically, Cain’s main motive to make the move to Sydney was for Italian-born owner Emilio Rosati. Cain will drive for the big-spending owner and will also work on the farm Rosati is establishing in Sydney’s South West. Joining Cain for that mission is North American trainer Noel Daley, who will be a private trainer for Rosati. Daley has just returned from a 29-year stint training horses in the United States.  Also born in Queensland, Daley had success with 2570 winners while training in North America. Others that have relocated to NSW recently on a permanent basis include New Zealand brothers Tim and Anthony Butt as well as Queenslanders Lachie Manzelmann and Isobel Ross.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER