Day At The Track

When Our Sir Vancelot became the first pacer to win three Interdominion Pacing Championships, his feat was compared to Kingston Town’s achievement of winning three consecutive Cox Plates. Considering this alongside his overall record, it would have been reasonable to claim that Our Sir Vancelot was the best Australasian pacer of all-time. Except he wasn’t. In fact, we know he wasn’t. Just a few months earlier, Our Sir Vancelot raced in one of harness racing’s signature events, the Miracle Mile, and was utterly humiliated by Christian Cullen. A week later, Our Sir Vancelot was on the end of another hiding from the mighty Kiwi, although he managed to trim the margin to fourteen metres, down from twenty-four the previous week. Serendipitous. This is not quite the case with the queen of the thoroughbred world: Winx. Winx, of course, is one of the greats of the Australian turf, and the best galloper in the world. But what do we mean when we say “the best”? Do we measure by the sheer accumulation of wins? The most Group Ones? How do we assess the calibre of opposition, and is that even relevant? Has Winx been sheltered from more difficult assignments, merely to keep her winning streak going? A common critique of Winx is that the quality of horses she has been facing isn’t particularly high. I find this to be a weak criticism, given that she has beaten 53 individual Group One winners. There are some critiques that have more weight, however. These are directed more at Winx’s connections, rather than the mare herself, who has no say over where she races. It seems a shame that Winx has not proven herself on the international stage. Few people will believe that a horse of her ability continued to run in races like the Chipping Norton Stakes when she should be taking on the world’s best milers. Winx will never be tested in the helter-skelter of a Caulfield or Melbourne Cup. A golden opportunity was missed by not running Winx in the 2015 Japan Cup. We can marvel at Winx’s three Cox Plate victories, and revel in her greatness; but can we say she had a “Christian Cullen moment,” when she took on an undisputed champion and destroyed him? Reprinted with permission of The Roar

Licensed harness racing trainer and driver Amanda Turnbull appeals against a decision of the stewards of 14 February 2018 to impose upon her a period of disqualification of three months to operate from that date for a breach of the prohibited substance rules, and that is, as is usually the case, a breach of Australian Harness Racing Rules 190 (1), (2) and (4) and it was particularised as follows: “that you Ms Amanda Turnbull, being the licensed trainer of the horse Taihape Sunset (NZ), did present that horse to race at Dubbo on Wednesday, 15 November 2017, with a prohibited substance in its system, namely triamcinolone acetonide, that was certified by 2 laboratories approved by the controlling body.”  When confronted with that charge, the appellant pleaded guilty. The stewards then proceeded to penalty. She has maintained that admission of the breach of the rule before this Tribunal. This is a severity appeal only and accordingly the facts to be canvassed can be reduced. To read the full transcipt click here.

Freemans Reach man David Lindon has a charitable tale involving nudity, swimming, harness racing and Charlie Teo. Lindon has begun raising money for the Charlie Teo Foundation, started by the brain surgeon, and is using his lifelong hobby as a harness racer to do so. The foundation raises money for brain cancer research. Lindon lost a close friend, Greg Sarina, to brain cancer, which he said was his motivation to get involved with the charity. Lindon’s association with the charity began in 2017, when Lindon’s daughter Stacey, suggested that he take part in the Sydney Skinny, which is associated with the foundation.. The Sydney Skinny describes its event as being “...about personally challenging yourself to step ever-so-slightly outside your comfort zone - in a way that is emancipating. That strips life back to its bare essentials. That forces you to accept your real self. That momentarily frees you from the stifling shackles modern society so often puts on us. And importantly encourages you to break free from your own self-imposed limitations.” “It scares the pants off you but once you have done it, you realise we're all born the same,” Lindon said of the swim. Lindon took the plunge and he did it again this year, but also managed to raise about $4000 in the process, thanks to harness racing.  David Lindon is a hobby harness racing driver and trainer.  His family have hobby trained harness racing horses for years, and Lindon is the driver.  Thanks to a story in a national harness racing publication, many in the community chipped in with donations. At the same time, Lindon donated all the earnings from a recent second-placed finish at Newcastle from his horse Semi Sensation. Lindon was full of praise for the harness racing community, who got behind him with donations, and it has encouraged him. “It has been a resounding success. I have to take my hat off to my business associates, neighbours and the harness racing community,” he said. The plan for the future, according to Lindon, is to continue raising money for the Charlie Teo Foundation through harness racing. “Taking the clothes off was the easy part,” he said. Lindon plans to donate some money from any winnings received by Semi Sensational. At the same time, he is planning to get some Charlie Teo Foundation-themed racing silks created to wear while racing. “I'll be wearing those colours and encouraging people to do the same thing and raise more awareness and money for the foundation,” he said. Lindon said apart from raising money, he wanted to promote harness racing. He said he had been involved in the industry for 43 years. He has always run a mechanics business in Blacktown, but harness racing has always been his hobby, and it has kept him in great mental health. “Work pays the bills and my hobby keeps me totally sane,” he said. “If I didn't have the association with the harness racing I wouldn't be able to use that to raise the money, so I am very appreciative of the community.” By Conor Hickey Reprinted with permission of The Hawkesbury Gazette

An 11-horse field described as one of the strongest ever to contest a Boort Pacing Cup will face the starter on Sunday. The $14,500 Cup event will be one of the highlights of a packed nine-race harness racing program, which has delighted club officials. “We’re very pleased about that as we are about the cup race,” said, Boort Harness Racing Club president John Campbell. “It’s maybe our best cup field ever.” Recent Echuca Cup winner Motu Meteor ($1.90) heads the cups fancies for champion trainer-driver Kerryn Manning. The four-year-old followed his win at Echuca with a second in the Terang Cup and third in The Leo Crameri at Maryborough last weekend, on the back of a solid feature races campaign during the Inter Dominion in Perth. A pair of central Victorian trainers hope to play the role of spoiler. Veteran Serpentine trainer Robert Rothacker has his first Boort Cup runner with Repeat After Me, while Sutton Grange’s Graeme Dalton has the outsider Animated engaged. Rothacker said he was pleased with the six-year-olds last few starts - including a second at Ballarat a month ago – and remained hopeful he could run another bold race. “In a race like this he needs a real good tempo, otherwise he tends to pull to hard,” he said. “The other day at Maryborough they only ran the first half (mile) in a minute; his last half might have been about 54.6. “From where he was, the run was a lot better than it looked. “If he finishes midfield or better I’ll probably be rapt, but it will probably be the first time a lot of these horses have run in a track that small. I think mine will get around it okay.” Other feature races include the $14,500 Boort Trotters Cup and $10,000 mares sprint championship, which will mark the return of the promising four-year-old Mia From Memphis for Marong trainer Danny Curran. Off the track, Racing Minister Martin Pakula will unveil Boort Harness Racing Club’s new $20,000 horse wash, jointly funded by the state government an Harness Racing Victoria. Kieran Iles Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

TM TV ventured to Tabcorp Park Melton for the Women's Cancer Foundation's Night at the Trots and Pryde's EasiFeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale. The 15-minute special is a trots celebration to be savoured, tipping its hat to Team Teal and the fabulous trotting breed. Click here to enjoy the video. Video: All Clear It was a monster night at Melton when the all-trotting card included four Group 1 wins. Hear from the winning drivers in All Clear. Click here for this week's video  Audio: HQ HRV GM of Integrity Brent Fisher, VTDA president Lance Justice, clubs CEO Toby McKinnon and Emma Prosser joined HQ. Listen to latest weekly podcast  Cups double-header We heard from Mick Stanley, trainer of Soho Tribeca, ahead of the Kilmore and Boort cups. Click here for the podcast and story   The Guerin Effect Michael Guerin gives Oz punters a head start with best bets for New Zealand's trots racing. Read Michael Guerin's preview   Delightful overs Blake Redden's hunted value on Kilmore Cup night and thinks he's found one at juicy odds. Click here to get the good oil   Into the blackbook Three more horses are in Cody Winnell's blackbook after another week scouring Victorian trials. Click here to get the inside running

Boyanup harness racing trainer Justin Prentice is delighted at his smart two-year-old Has No Fear drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $25,000 Western Crown for fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night and declared: “This looks ideal for her. She has got good gate speed, so if she can hold the front over the mile (1730m), she will be hard to beat. “At her most recent start (in the group 1 Sales Classic last Friday week) she fought all the way to the line, showing that she’s got a fair bit of toughness as well. It was the quickest time (1.57.6) she has run; she’s working well and is still improving.” Has No Fear was the only runner off the back line in that event and she raced in fifth position, one-out and one-back, before fighting on to finish a half-length second to the pacemaker Soho Interceptor. Before that, Has No Fear raced three times for a half-head second to Hong Kong Dolly on debut at Pinjarra and easy wins at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park. She has been driven in all her starts by Tom Buchanan, who will make every effort to jump to the front and set the pace on Friday night with the daughter of American stallion Western Terror. Prentice will also be represented by Delightfull (Aiden de Campo, barrier four) and She Said Diamonds (Shannon Suvaljko, barrier seven). “I was really happy with her latest run (third to Soho Interceptor and Has No Fear) and she has improved again from that,” he said. ”I would say that if you reversed the barrier draws with Delightfull and Has No Fear that Delightfull would be the horse to beat. “Barrier seven is not ideal for She Said Diamonds, but she’s a nice filly on the way up. Tommy (Buchanan) thought she was the winner at the 200m at Pinjarra on Monday. But she weakened to finish fifth behind Itz All About Magic. She’s still a bit fat and her run on Monday should prove beneficial.” Byford trainer Katja Warwick also has multiple runners in Friday night’s race in which she will be represented by Cap In Hand (Gary Hall jun., barrier two) and Hong Kong Dolly (Stuart McDonald, barrier five). Cap In Hand scored convincing wins at her first two starts, at Pinjarra and Gloucester Park in February, before she galloped at the start and then overraced when five back on the pegs and was distanced in the Sales Classic. Since then she has performed soundly in winning two trials at Byford and she should be prominent on Friday night from her favourable barrier at No. 2. Hong Kong Dolly was a winner on debut at Pinjarra early last month before she broke and raced roughly when a well-beaten sixth behind Has No Fear in a Sales Classic qualifying heat. She was checked and broke before recovering and winning a three-horse trial at Byford on Sunday morning. Ken Casellas

It promises to be just a stroll in the park for harness racing millionaire superstar Chicago Bull when he contests the $50,000 Direct Trades Supply Four And Five-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be five-year-old Chicago Bull’s final appearance in a race for several months before champion trainer Gary Hall sen. prepares him for feature events next spring and summer, including the Interdominion championship series in Melbourne. Star reinsman Gary Hall jun. will have plenty of options when Chicago Bull lines up behind the mobile in barrier four on Friday night. The is a strong possibility that four-year-old Maxentius, a speedy frontrunner, will be given the task of leading by ace reinsman Colin Brown. In that case, Hall could be content to rate Chicago Bull in the breeze before applying pressure in the final circuit. Hall sen. summed up his son’s possible tactics by saying: “Chicago Bull will be in front or racing in the breeze. I would say he will win, with stablemate Runrunjimmydunn finishing second. Runrunjimmydunn (Clint Hall) is getting better all the time. “Chicago Bull will be spelled for six weeks and then brought back into work. He will probably resume racing in early September.”    Hall sen. has five of the eight runners in Friday night’s event --- Chicago Bull, Runrunjimmydunn, Ima Rocknroll Legend, Zach Maguire and Campora. Runrunjimmydunn will start from barrier three and is capable of a bold showing. He was most impressive in a 2130m event last Friday night when he started from the outside barrier (No. 8) and raced three wide in the early stages before applying pressure to the pacemaker Vampiro. He fought on with tremendous determination and finished a nose behind Vampiro at a 1.55.7 rate, with final quarters in 27.1sec. and 28.9sec. Runrunjimmydunn’s past nine starts have produced five wins and four seconds and he is certain to improve considerably on his record of 30 starts for 12 wins and nine placings for earnings of $123,098. The Ross Olivieri-trained mare Sheer Rocknroll has excellent place prospects. She will be driven by Chris Lewis from the No. 6 barrier. “She went terrific last Friday (when third behind Madame Meilland and Better B Chevron in the Empress Stakes) and I was very impressed with her,” Lewis said. Ken Casellas            

Khun Lek, trained in Capel by de Campo’s father Andrew, will be one of the fancies in the 2130m Building And Constructions At DTS Pace for harness racing mares after smart wins at Bunbury and Gloucester Park at her past two outings. She will start from barrier No. 5 on the front line and Aiden de Campo is planning to go forward at the start in a bid for the early lead or to take up a prominent forward position. In an open affair, Khun Lek, Rockin The Boys and Our Jeremes Gem appear to have sound prospects. Rockin The Boys and Our Jeremes Gem have each finished second at their past two starts and are due for a change of fortune. Khun Lek is by McArdle out of Chantic Sarah, a D M Dilinger mare who raced 17 times in Western Australia for five wins in 2008 and 2009 --- two at Narrogin and Wagin and one at Pinjarra. She is no relation to Khun Ratha, who finished powerfully to win at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Khun Ratha, recently purchased by Kristy Sheehy and Joshua Dunn, has earned $162,519 from 15 wins and 38 placings from 106 starts. He will start from the back line in the 2536m Hardware at DTS Pace on Friday night and has sound each-way prospects, with Shannon Suvaljko in the sulky. Suvaljko and de Campo have excellent prospects of winning the final event, the Direct Trades Supply Pace, in which Suvaljko will be in the sulky behind the polemarker Ctheballerina and de Campo will be driving Cest Lheure. Ctheballerina, unplaced at her past nine starts since winning over 2090m in Hobart last October, is a newcomer to Mike Reed’s Henley Brook stables and she caught the eye in a 2150m trial at Byford in Sunday morning when she surged home from sixth at the bell to be second to Ay Jays Dream. “She’s been all over the place, racing in New Zealand, Tasmania and Victoria,” Reed said. “I like her and whatever she does on Friday night, she will improve on.” Suvaljko watched the trial in which Ctheballerina was driven by Mark Reed, and gave the mare his tick of approval. “The only blue, first-up, is the longer distance of 2536m,” he said. De Campo described Cest Lheure as a handy horse who hardly ever runs a bad race and said that he was confident of a forward showing, without being in any way over-confident. Suvaljko will have a busy time on Friday night and apart from Golden State (who should win the WA Derby Prelude) he has many good each-way prospects among his drives behind A Boy Named Rosie, Chal Storm, Khun Ratha, She Said Diamonds, Our Jeremes Gem and Ctheballerina. He also spoke highly of Back To The Beach’s winning prospects in the Irrigation At DTS Westbred Pace. Back To The Beach, to be driven by Mitch Miller for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri, will start from barrier six and looks set to fight out the finish after having notched seven wins from his past 13 starts. Suvaljko has driven Back To The Beach in five of those wins, with Miller, engaged this week to take advantage of his concession, having had only one drive behind the four-year-old for an all-the-way victory in the 2180m Wagin Cup four starts ago. “He doesn’t have to lead; he can sit,” said Suvaljko. “However, he has drawn inside of Red Hot Roxy and she will not be able to sit outside Back To The Beach and beat him.” Ken Casellas

Harness racing driver Shannon Suvaljko continues to be a shining light on the track and he is supremely confident that his golden run will be sustained at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he drives Golden State in the $22,000 Power Tools At DTS WA Derby Prelude. Golden State, trained at Henley Brook by Mike Reed, set the pace and finished second to stablemate Bechers Brook in the Battle of Bunbury at Donaldson Park last Saturday night. But Suvaljko is convinced that Golden State will turn the tables on Bechers Brook and move a step closer to winning the WA Derby on April 6. The 49-year-old Suvaljko, who notched his 100th winner for the season when he was successful with Lord Willoughby at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night, leads the Statewide drivers’ premiership table with 100 winners, 95 seconds and 63 thirds from 681 starters. He is showing the way from Chris Lewis (89 wins), Gary Hall jun. (89) and Chris Voak (84). The New Zealand-bred Golden State and the Victorian-bred Bechers Brook are owned by Albert Walmsley and look set to be leading contenders in the rich WA Derby.   Suvaljko has driven Bechers Brook in eight of his nine starts and the colt impressed in the Battle of Bunbury when Dylan Egerton-Green had him handily-placed in the one-out, one-back position before he went three wide 250m from home and finished powerfully to hit the front 30m from the post. The final quarters were run in 27.6sec. and 28.2sec. Egerton-Green has retained the drive on Bechers Brook on Friday night. At his previous start, in the Caduceus Club Classic, Suvaljko drove Bechers Brook, who raced without cover early and then in the one-out, one-back position before finishing gamely to be third behind the pacemaker Golden State (Chris Lewis) and Speed Man. Golden State will be a warm favourite on Friday night after drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in the 2130m event. Bechers Brook’s prospects slumped when he drew the outside barrier in the field of nine. Suvaljko said that he wasn’t disappointed at Golden State’s loss in the Battle of Bunbury, explaining that the colt overraced. “We changed the cart to a shorter one than normal --- and he smashed a wheel all the way,” he said. “That was his undoing. He wanted to run up the track and hit the wheel all the way. “That was his problem; he fired up and made himself run down the back (with a 27.6sec. quarter) when he didn’t have to. I think that if he hadn’t been hitting the wheel he would have won pretty easily. “I don’t think there’s much between Golden State and Bechers Brook, who is a relaxed horse who has a really high sprint at the end.” Lewis will drive the inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding Shadow Magic, who is unfavourably drawn at No. 7 on Friday night. But the Barry Howlett-trained three-year-old was most impressive in a low-class R0 event at Bunbury on Saturday night when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before winning by five lengths from Kata Noi Beach. That was his first appearance for nine months. He finished second to Rosies Ideal at his only other start, at Bunbury last June. Shadow Magic will be making his first appearance at Gloucester Park and Howlett is hoping that he will emulate the performances of his half-brothers VC Manoeuvre and El Jacko who were successful at their first outing at Gloucester Park. Gary Hall jun. has chosen to drive Speed Man (trained by Gary Hall sen.) in preference to the Katja Warwick-trained Rock Me Over, who finished determinedly from fifth at the bell to win the Sales Classic for colts and geldings last Friday night, with Hall in the sulky. Aiden de Campo will handle the colt this week. Rock Me Over, a winner at four of his 15 starts, will begin from barrier No. 3, with Speed Man (four wins from nine starts) at No. 4. Bettor B Abeliever, trained by Paula Petricevich, is handily drawn at barrier two and Kyle Harper should have the colt in a prominent position throughout. Bettor B Abeliever set the pace and won easily from Captured Delight and Our Angel of Harlem over 2185m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.   Ken Casellas

Friday night’s harness racing meeting at Gloucester Park has thrown up a variety of star bets from members of the WA Trotting Media Guild. And there’s also two races where members clash with their best bets. Last year’s leading tipster Stuart Lowe is keen on Golden State. “My best bet is Golden State who ran great second in the Battle of Bunbury last week,” Lowe said. “He won at two of his previous three starts and is ideally drawn and will go close.” TABradio’s Matt Young has made classy mare Bettor Be Supreme his best for the night. “Bettor Be Supreme is third up from a spell and should be spot on,” Young said. “She is drawn beautifully and was brave on resumption over the trip from a bad draw and should lead throughout here.” Not so, according to The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, who has made Vampiro his star bet in the same race. “Vampiro, a winner at 10 of his past 14 starts, has the class to overcome gate 12,” Manning said. “He showed the typical superb fitness of a Skye-Bond trained runner when setting the pace and then holding off Runrunjimmydunn to win in a close finish last Friday.” The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft believes Has No Fear can atone for her last-start defeat. “Punters should hold no fear over taking the short price about Has No Fear in the two-year-old fillies feature,” Havercroft said. “Never finishing worse than second in four lifetime starts, she has drawn to lead and it will take a good one to get around her.” Guild president Wayne Currall disagrees with Havercroft’s views on the race. “Forget Cap In Hand went around last run after she botched the start,” Currall said. “She’s very quick out of the machine and I think she can cross Has No Fear and establish a winning break on that filly.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas believes punters can get off to a great start by supporting Carte Blanche. “Race one, horse one, barrier one - that’s the winning formula at headquarters on Friday night when Carte Blanche is my No.1 selection on the 10-event program,” Casellas said. “The lightly-raced six-year-old possesses good gate speed and Chris Lewis is planning to set the pace with the gelding, who was bred and is trained by Lewis’ wife Debra.” Longshot king Pat Harding is keen on Zennart. “I thought Zennart was a little bit unlucky last week, but he looks to have drawn some weaker opposition and as a result should be able to reward punters from gate five with Lauren Jones aboard,” Harding said. Veteran tipster Bill Brindley says, apart from Chicago Bull, it’s a hard program. “This ia a tough program except for best bet Chicago Bull in the fifth race,” Brindley said. “The Lightning Strike is the one to beat in race seven.” VALUE BETS Stuart: My value bet is Im Zuleika who was a game fourth behind Maxentius and Zennart here three starts ago. Has very good Albany form and has each-way claims. Matt: Euphoric Moment has been unlucky and looks the leader here and should run a big race at each-way odds. Ernie: Muscle Torque, placed twice in four starts since a spell, should now be solidly conditioned again and ready to show form displayed in two wins at consecutive starts last year. Ryan: Max Meridius ran third in the same Northam race where Trustytrev ran fourth at Northam earlier this month, and he franked that form by winning last Friday. Max Meridius hit the line better than Trustytrev on that occasion and is suited by an inside draw. Wayne: Mac Tiger didn’t have much luck at his last start and he’s drawn to get a soft trip behind Bettor Be Supreme. Can run a race at odds. Ken: Livura, to be driven by his trainer Nathan Turvey, is a wonderfully consistent pacer who simply does not know how to perform below par. Pat: The combination of Annie Belton and Chris Voak should prevail with La Roue De Lamour. They had a wonderful win last week with Lady De La Renta  and should repeat the dose with this exciting filly. Bill: CC Chevron should get a lovely run behind likely leader Carte Blanche in the opening event and is my best each-way chance. Good punting. Wayne Currall

The Collie Harness Racing Club was back on Sunday, March 11 for the Joe Suvaljko Memorial. The meeting opened with the club pick Rolling Commander backing up from his second at the last meeting to lead his rivals a merry dance for trainer Des Stockman and reinsman Kyle Harper for an $8 and $1.70 return for supporters in the TBS Rural & Hardware Pace. Adda Rockinheaven and Lauras Shadow filled the placings. Joe With The Flow was a heavily supported favourite at $1.90 in the Spry’s Meat Market Pace first up for the brother combination of Donald and Kyle Harper to bring up a double in the bike for the latter. He again led all the way in an incident packed race which effectively saw only four horses competing meaningfully.  Bleu followed his win at Bridgetown with a strong second after sitting in the breeze for the entire journey. Another leader prevailed in the Dynavyte Products WA though only narrowly as Trent Wheeler had to throw everything bar the kitchen sink at Jay Jays Jet to score by a nose from Showtime Prince and the Silver Fox. The horse was recently purchased by a local Collie Syndicate and was a great return for them as a $3.90 and $1.30 chance. Collie Retired Miners sponsored the first of the heats for the Cedric Jones Tribute to be run in Bridgetown on Sunday afternoon and Dean Miller consolidated his position at the top of the Ray Aramini Memorial Leading Reinspersons Award when he led all the way with his Dad Daryl’s Punters Club pick Liaurie as a $10.70 and $4.20 shot. He will be hard to beat in the final with a similar run. The Club Hotel’s second heat saw the consistent standing start mare Skewsy Newsy prove too strong from behind the leader for trainer/driver Phil Duggan to score from Jasper Rox and Liberte. All of these three will be fancied in next week’s final as this was by far the faster heat. The form runner of the meeting, the Kristian Hawkins trained, John-Paul Chabros driven The Trilogy proved far too strong in the 2700 metre Joe Suvaljko Memorial Pace. He was three wide early before facing the breeze and winning as he liked, in a massive drop in class after running fifth in the Pinjarra Cup the week before. He was great value as a $2.40 winning chance. The pacemaker Brookies Jet filled the quinella position with Batavia Scotter putting some value into the trifecta with an $8.10 third placing. Tracey Reay and Kyle Harper combined for the pacemaker Real Love to score in the “On The Level” Syndicate Pace when she led all the way to bridge the gap on the Leading Horse and Mare in Flying Phoebe who was unplaced in the event. Real Love was a $3.70 and $1.70 chance. Locally trained Call Me Ernie for Bianca Ashcroft sat behind the leader and ran on into second place for a $3.80 place return. The DeCampo stable scored in the final event where the $2.70 favourite Sheez Impressive gave another bold front running display to win easily.  Skewsy Newsy. Photo supplied.   The punter for the Punters Club had a stellar day, backing two winners at 8/1 and 10/1, two trifectas and both the early and the late quaddies (which effectively means he picked the card) he had a profit of over $2250 on the day! The share value for Punters Club members has rocketed to $108. Again neither the Select the Order competition nor the Pick Four was selected so both will jackpot to Sunday week’s March 25 programme, Select The Order to $3500 and Pick 4 to $300. Yvonne Mann was the this week’s winner of the Kalbarri Beach Resort holiday off the chocolate wheel with Tenneale Ireland, Trish Saunders, Ruby Tanian and Nicole J also picking up prizes. Eight-year-old Soraya Wolfe was thrilled to win a bike as well. Summalee Woods and Jen Walton won meal vouchers to the Vic Hotel as the best dressed ladies at the track. The bike and holiday will be given away again at the next meet. Last Friday’s final meeting of the Albany Trotting Club was a great success for local reinsman Trent Wheeler who had a win, two seconds and three thirds from seven drives. He started the night in commanding fashion when the Terry Ferguson trained Captured Delight led all the way as a $1.60 favourite. The horse backed up at Pinjarra on Monday, running second from behind the leader for the same combination as a $1.70 place chance. Placings behind the Jeremy Thornton trained pair Just Barney (3rd) and Simply Sweet (2nd) followed with Barney returning $1.50 and Simply Sweet $3.40. Matthew Saw engaged him for Chevrons Champion who flew home for second from three back on the pegs as a $3.50 place chance and Zara Whitby came three wide from last for a close second, paying a place dividend of $1.80. At Pinjarra on Monday David Hunter took his newcomer, 2yo filly Itz All About Magic with Stuart McDonald taking the reins and she came from five back on the pegs for a convincing win at $8.90 the win and $2.60 the place. Narrogin on Saturday, Bridgetown on Sunday and Pinjarra on Monday are all close meetings for Collie pacers this weekend. Reprinted with permission of The Collie Mail  

The newly-formed Tamworth Show Society has thrown down the gauntlet to re-invent itself as the biggest show north of Newcastle.Now before you cast any doubt, the wheels are already in motion to achieve it. In December 2016, Tamworth Showground was sold to Harness Racing NSW for $4.6 million in December 2016.  The monumental move marked the end of a 146-year chapter at the site, and heralded a dramatic shake-up organisers hope will reinvigorate interest in country shows. The sale meant a new venue, a new date and a new committee. The 2018 Tamworth Show, which will be hosted in September instead of its traditional March date, will be held at the Australian Equine and Livestock Centre for the first time. The historic move means more space and more opportunities to showcase the many and varied agricultural highlights of our region.  But it’s going to take a group effort to get there. There’s plenty of work to do – and everyone can play a part. Organisers are now calling for members and volunteers to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to help stage the historic show later this year. Country shows are the lifeblood of many regional towns. And volunteers are their backbone.  Without them, they just don’t happen.  We only need to look at other country towns like Uralla and Griffith whose shows have been put on hiatus in recent years because there weren’t enough volunteers.  Many of us would be the first to whinge and whine if a show didn’t go ahead, so it’s only fair that everyone plays a part in making it happen.  The 2018 Tamworth Show is a significant event. It has all the trimmings of a country show we’ve come to love over the years, but it’s also the start of an exciting new chapter at its new home at AELEC. With plans to make it one of the biggest shows north of Newcastle, we should all be encouraged to play a part. Volunteers are needed to assist in the running of many of the show’s events, including stewards in the agricultural sector. Those interested in volunteering or becoming a society member should email or phone 0447 601 049 Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

North West harness racing history was made at Armidale’s Carnival of Cups meeting on Sunday with Tamworth siblings Emma, Sam and Tom Ison all driving winners. It was also a good day – and possibly a nervous one – for father of the trio Andy Ison, celebrating a training double with Fear No Evil and Gargzadi Girl, while his son Sam trained Bassey. The youngest of the Ison’s to gain her reins licence, 16-year-old Emma made her debut at Inverell the week prior with no luck and with only one drive at Armidale it turned out to be a winner. “It feels amazing,” Ison said after taking out the Railway Hotel Pace. Her first career win, understandably there were plenty of cheers and congratulations when Emma returned to scale. “I was nervous as always going into the race but it panned out alright,” she said. Ison found herself racing back on the inside running line before weaving a passage on the final turn to make her way clear in the home straight. “It was a lot different to how I thought the race would pan out but it all worked out well,” she said. “I was excited when the split came as this little horse can sprint.” Fear No Evil had a half head win over Esspe Supreme (Dean Chapple) with Mini Masterpiece (David Munsie) 5.4m away third and paid $33.10 for the win. It was also Ison’s first appearance in her teal racing pants after being presented with them just prior to the meeting. “I think they were a good luck charm,” Emma, who was proud to drive a winner in the teal on the last day of the Ovarian Cancer fundraiser, said. “It was pretty good to get my teal trousers just before the race - it’s good for the cause.” Older brother Sam then presented to the winner’s circle with Bassey after the mare took out the Kevin and Kay Seymour Celebrating 50 Years Mares Pace. Ison made a three-wide run around the final turn in the 1980m event to make use of the home straight and pounced on the line for a half neck win over Clancy Pants (Brad Elder) and Mac Sweet (Lola Weidemann), who was another neck away third. “She went really well – she just kept giving down the home straight,” Sam said.  He was also proud of his little sister who he gave a helping hand to. “It was really good – I think she loved my gig – she borrowed it for the race,” he said. Tom completed the treble with Gargzdai Girl, who was a 3m winner over Midnight Montana (Richard Williams) in the St Kilda Hotel Pace. “The win has added to the day,” he said. “She (Gargzdai Girl) has got a pretty good sprint.” And what did he think of his sister having her first winning drive? “It’s a pretty good day – especially for Em – it was only her third drive and she won on her own horse so that’s good,” he said.  By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Queensland harness racing reinsman Pete McMullen added his name to the time honoured “Noel Smith Memorial” honour roll when he narrowly took out the 2018 edition of the Decron Horse Care Horsham Invitation Drivers Championship on Monday afternoon. McMullen started the day aboard the Alan Donohoe trained Gunnrneedabigerboat which battled on gamely for sixth place after being posted three wide for the entire journey. Young NSW driver Chris Geary took out the race with the very smart, Emma Stewart trained, 3yo colt Liftntorque ($1.40 fav.) which led all the way over the 1700 metre sprint trip to score by 8 metres in a rate of 1:54.5. The Queenslander gained maximum points in the second leg of the championship with the Jeff Tarbone trained, 4yo gelding Bettor Than That (NZ) which led from go to whoa in C0 class 2200 metre contest. McMullen piled on the points again in round three, when the Barry Finnis trained, 4yo gelding Bee Gees Bandit ($1.70 fav.) led all the way to capture the C1 race by 10 metres in a rate of 1:57.7. As the starters lined up behind the Pryde’s EasiFeed mobile for the last heat of the Invitation, it was a duel in two between McMullen and Victorian veteran Gavin Lang who had finished third, second and second with his three drives, to decide who would take out the Horsham crown. Chris Geary won the C2/3 event as expected with $1.50 fav. Emain Macha for Naracoorte owner-trainer Greg Scholfield but all eyes  eyes were on Yankee C J (Lang) and The Big Show (McMullen) to see who would be first to cross the finish line. Lang looked to have his 5th Horsham title in the bag, until Yankee C J  ducked in badly when the plugs were pulled allowing McMullen and The Big Show to pass them by. It was McMullens second time as a competitor in the “Noel Smith Memorial” - in the three race series of 2010 he notched up a trio of fourth placings to finish in third position behind the NSW winner Jim Douglass. While the glory went to Pete McMullen there were a host of winners on the day, thanks to the generosity of  Decron Horse Care, Carbine Chemicals, Pryde’s Easifeed, Finn Tack, Hyland Racing Colours, Zilco, Bertocchi Smallgoods, Oringi Protection Wear, Mustad Australia, Fly Veils by Design, GrafxInc., Roma Pocock, Harness Breeders Victoria, Tabcorp Park Melton, Victorian Trainers & Drivers Association, Albenz Park, Claire Weston Photography and Riverspa Apartments Moama. Hoofnote: Western Australian horseman Ryan Warwick who was a last minute withdrawal from the 2017 Horsham Invitation, had one of those days it’s best to forget. Warrick took the dreaded wooden spoon back to Western Australia after his first drive galloped wildly in the scoreup, finished near the tail with a couple of roughies in the second and third rounds, then had to pull out of the contest with broken gear on his best chance of the day. Anthony Logan

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has agreed to trial a sprint lane extension at Tabcorp Park Melton following a submission from the Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA). The sprint lane will be extended by 40 metres for an initial one-month trial. The basis of the trial is to assess the pattern of racing and evaluate whether the extension provides horses with greater opportunities to win. The new sprint lane will see the red peg positioned at the 190m mark and the sprint lane completely open at 168m. The initial trial will run from Wednesday March 14 up to and including Friday April 13. HRV is encouraging feedback from all industry stakeholders, including participants and punters during the trial. To have your say, email and include ‘Sprint Lane Trial’ in your email subject.  Harness Racing Victoria

Sunday, March 11, 2018 will be a notable day in the life of former champion harness racing South Australian reinsman David Harding. Now starting his own training career, Harding landed his first major success when former Western Australian pacer Condrieu took out the 2018 UBET Kapunda Pacing Cup, then later in the day his partner Danielle Hill was a runaway winner of the inaugural Australian Female Drivers Championship at Launceston in Tasmania. The Kapunda Cup also saw top young South Australian reinsman Michael, David’s cousin, land his best win in the sulky while it was a stable quinella with Bettor Party, trained by Les Harding, finishing second. In an exciting finish, Condrieu ($3.80) finished best out wide to score a half neck win in the 2610 metre staying test from Bettor Party ($2.30 fav) with Rap Artist ($5.20) a metre away third. “I’ve known Greg (Bond) for a quite a while and done business with him previously,” Harding said. “He originally rang and offered Condrieu for sale and I considered buying him in partnership with Jake Webster, but we decided not to, but Greg said he would still send the horse to me. “He has been a good horse earning more than $260,000 but Greg felt he needed a change of scenery to reboot his career. “He is a bit one-paced, but the tempo of today’s Cup suited him perfectly.” Duke of Albany ($19.30) led early while Jake Webster, on Bettor Party, sat wide early from gate five before going to the spot outside the lead and trying to take the lead. Jayden Brewin, on the leader, was reluctant to give up the front but after a 200-metre battle, finally conceded. Webster kept a good tempo on with 30.6 and 30.9 first quarters of the last 16500 metres before increasing for a 29.1 third quarter and 30.8 final sectional. Michael Harding, who recently took out the Claiming Cup at Globe Derby Park on Ona Rocky Beach, again showed his driving maturity. Condrieu settled second last in the running line in the small field of eight and with just over a lap to go, Ryan Hryhorec on Mark Dennis ($5.30), which was last tried to get Harding moving to take him into the race. “David said to me around a track like Kapunda, it was nearly impossible to be covering ground more than once around the turns, so I was staying in until we went into the back straight,” Harding said. “The tempo had suited my horse and in the home straight just kept coming and I was able to grab Bettor Party in the sight of the post.” Jake Webster said in hindsight he might have driven Bettor Party a little differently. “I was always going to try for the front but what I would change would be the last few hundred metres,” Webster said. “Bettor Party was travelling but I sent him for home on straightening trying to put a gap on Condrieu which I knew would be finishing on. “But after grabbing a break, my horse switched off thinking his job was done, and David’s horse was able to grab me. In hindsight, I should have waited a bit longer before going for home.” David Harding said the Cup winner would go to the $14,999 Port Pirie Pacing Cup (2530m) on Saturday, March 24 but will again run into Bettor Party and also its stablemate Our Jericho. Graham Fischer