Day At The Track

Pacing great Lazarus is going to stand at stud in New South Wales in one of the most radical deals in the history of harness racing. But while he will be based in Australia for his Southern Hemisphere breeding career, New Zealand breeders will still have the cheapest access in the world to the recently-retired pacing hero. Lazarus was the dominant pacer in Australasia until sold to United States thoroughbred breeding giant Taylor Made Stallions last year and he went on to become the second best free-for-all pacer in North America during a short campaign there. He is serving a full book (140 mares) in the United States at US$10,000 and after negotiations with several leading Down Under stud farms he will stand at Yerribee Stud in Wagga, New South Wales. But that isn't the radical part of the Lazarus deal as his Southern Hemisphere breeding rights haven't been purchased by a stud or individual but by Club Menangle, who run the Menangle harness racing track. The deal sees Club Menangle buy Lazarus's Australasian breeding rights for life which would see them keep profits until their initial investment is paid back and then any service fees after that will be split with Taylor Made. The move will stun harness racing insiders, who often shy away from thinking outside the square, but looks smart business on two fronts. Not only should Lazarus be popular at stud and looks certain to end up making Club Menangle money but his presence in NSW will give them a glamour stallion prospect at a time when state bosses there are trying to reinvigorate the local breeding industry. That will also boost the depth of all NSW racing series and Club Menangle are certain to give the champion Lazarus huge exposure. He will stand there at an initial fee of A$10,000 plus GST but be available to New Zealand breeders at the slightly cheaper fee of $10,000 plus GST. Just as importantly, Lazarus will be paid up for the New Zealand Sires' Stakes stallion eligibility scheme so his New Zealand foals will have the same local opportunities as foals sired by stallions based in New Zealand. Club Menangle chief executive Bruce Christison says he was thrilled to get the deal signed. "The Club sees this as both an investment for ourselves but also in the breeding industry in NSW," said Christison. "And we believe the breeding incentives already put in place by HRNSW combined with the Lazarus name will ensure this is an outstanding success." Lazarus is expected to arrive in Australia in August.   Michael Guerin

Meet the new Trotting Master – Sundees Son. The rising New Zealand star has capped a great season by being crowned the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Master champion following his heroics in Auckland over the past week. Prepared by father/son combination Robert and John Dunn, the Majestic Son gelding claimed both North Island features at Alexandra Park which catapulted him to the lead passing Victorian mare Dance Craze in the process. With Auckland playing host to the two final legs of the six race series, the title was very much alive with connections of Dance Craze electing to remain local while New Zealand’s best gathered in preparation of claiming the rich prizes on offer. And Sundees Son took the lot. The four-year-old scored a brilliant victory in the $100,000 ANZAC Cup before returning a week later to take the $150,000 Rowe Cup in devastating fashion which also propelled him to victory in the race to be crowned the Totting Master for the current term. The Trotters Grand Circuit commenced in 1999. In 2012, the Grand Circuit was revamped with the Trotters competing in a stand-alone branded series, Trotting Masters. Points are awarded during the Circuit, 100 points for a win, 60 points for second, 40 points for third, and so on, to last placing. In his 12 starts throughout the season, Sundees Son amassed more than $183,000 while taking his overall earnings past $243,000. Sundees Son will next start in the $125,000 Ruby on Jewels day at Addington on June 1. The six leg Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters series starts in November with the Dominion in Christchurch before heading to Melbourne for the Inter Dominion, Great Southern Star and Australian Grand Prix while the series concludes in Auckland with the Anzac and Rowe Cups. The full list of Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters winners for the season were Marcoola (Dominion), Tornado Valley ( Inter Dominion), Dance Craze (Great Southern Star), Big Jack Hammer (Grand Prix) and Sundees Son (ANZAC & Rowe Cups). The top five point scorers were; Sundees Son (200 points) Dance Craze (160) Speeding Spur (143) Lemond (120) Marcoola (108) Sundees Son is raced by his North Canterbury based breeders Colin and Nancy Hair while being prepared by Robert and John Dunn.   Chris Barsby

Inter Dominion champion Shakamaker passed overnight aged 23, with the brilliant Victorian speed machine fondly remembered as a giant of the sport. Shakamaker passed and will be buried today at owners John and Glenys Wolfe’s Ballarat farm, where he spent his past 10 years enjoying retirement. “He lived well and now he’s resting,” Mr Wolfe said. “I think he had a pretty good life. He was good yesterday, he didn’t suffer and was enjoying life. He didn’t have a day he was sick. “He’s been looked after good in his own paddock. He did a lot for us personally. We looked after him, fed him, gave him a pat, but he was a bit of an independent type. Our kids loved him.” Shakamaker’s crowning glory came in the 2000 Inter Dominion, giving us Dan Mielicki’s infamous call ‘here comes Shaka’ as the brilliant entire came from last to first to send a delirious Moonee Valley crowd into raptures. “He was running last then up the straight he picked them up and spat them out,” Mr Wolfe said. “It was a magnificent night. He won in arrogant fashion. “He had a big following, they loved the horse. He was that sort of racehorse, he gave a lot of pleasure to people.” They were extraordinary highs that Mr Wolfe could have barely dreamed of when he purchased the young colt by Bookmaker out of Shakira for $2500 at a pacing gold sale. “I knew the people who bred him (Borambola Stud), I liked his breeding and no one wanted him at sale so I bought him,” Mr Wolfe said. “He was always going to be a racehorse. He was pretty independent, mucked around a bit but when it came to the race track he always switched on.” Shakamaker was placed with trainer-driver John Justice, who “took him under his wing, broke him in and kept telling me you’ve got a good one here”. “John was a good trainer, he looked after the horse and did everything possible to get him fit and drove him to win,” Mr Wolfe said. “He lost his first race and after that he just kept winning. Nothing could get near him. His finishing burst was enormous. He had very high speed.” After finishing second on debut his next 24 starts would produce 18 wins and six placings, culminating in the aforementioned Tabcorp Interdom 2000 Pacing Championship Grand Final. “He was in the elite of racing from then,” Mr Wolfe said. He would race for three more years in a career that also captured the 2001 Victoria Cup, the 2002 South Australian Cup, the 2000 Tasmanian Pacing Championship, the 2000 Ben Hur, the 1999 West Australian Derby and the 1998 Australian Pacing Gold final. They were the star-studded trophy cabinet items that contributed to a stakes haul of $2,219,634 from 81 starts that yielded 46 wins and 22 placings, including a second and a third in A. G. Hunter Cups. He raced until 2003, retiring after an unsuccessful Inter Dominion campaign in Addington. “We took him to New Zealand and he struck bad weather and didn’t acclimatise,” Mr Wolfe said. “We bought him home and he was about seven and we decided to retire him – he had done us proud.” Shakamaker followed with a modest career at stud, with one of his more successful foals being Classic Maker, a now five-year-old out of Total Package who’s owned by Mr Wolfe. A winner of six starts, the Shakamaker gelding will no doubt be a sentimental favourite when he steps out in tomorrow night’s Hunter Rural Pace at Shepparton.   Michael Howard  for Trots Media

Tasracing is about to embark on an extensive review of Tasmanian harness racing as it prepares a development plan for the code's future. It says the plan will cover all aspects of harness racing, identifying the challenges faced and the strategies needed to address them. One 'aspect' that will come under heavy scrutiny is trotting races. At the same time that Tasracing announced the review, it stated that the current trial of trotting in Tasmania would be extended to December 31. But many in the industry believe trotting races, reintroduced to the state in July last year, are one thing that don't need reviewing - they should be scrapped immediately. Leading that call is Leigh Dornauf, a trainer, chairman of the Carrick club and a member of the harness industry group that advises Tasracing. "We had an open meeting at Carrick, attended by 70 people, and 98 per cent were against trotting races continuing," Dornauf said. "I've been to a lot of other industry meetings and the feeling has been the same. "I think 98 percent is an accurate indication of how many people are opposed across the board. Leigh Dornauf "The proposal to export our trot races overseas didn't go ahead so they are not paying for themselves as we were promised. "The funds for trotting are coming out of the pacing allocation at a time when a lot of people can't get runs for their pacers and are getting out of the industry. "Trotters are also given preferential treatment - they need only four runners for a race to go ahead whereas with pacers it's six. "At the same time, clubs are facing financial difficulties due to poor attendances resulting in loss of revenue from catering and so on." Dornauf said that, because the Tasracing board had ignored industry advice in deciding to extend the trotting trial, it was time for a review of the board itself. "If the industry is not being listened to, or getting its message across, I think there needs to be a government review of the way the board is structured," he said. When contacted by The Examiner, Tasracing said it was "inappropriate to comment or discuss board deliberations." In a brief statement, it said: "The Tasracing board was unanimous in its decision to request Tasracing management to prepare an in-depth harness development plan in consultation with industry participants so that it is better informed in making decisions regarding harness racing. "This development plan is due to be completed by the end of the calendar year." By Greg Mansfield

Teenage young gun harness racing driver Leonard Cain admits he loves nothing better than being busy and tackling a new challenge head-on. "I'm just so much happier when there's a lot going on, preferably getting more race drives from trainers and ultimately more winners!" Cain said. The 19-year-old started his Sydney career off in a blaze of glory, combining with his boss Noel Daley, to post wins with their first four starters. "We couldn't have got off to a much better start than that. It was unbelievable," Cain said. "You just dream of things like that, but you don't expect them to happen." Former superstar North American horseman Daley, with enough USA achievements to his credit to choke a bull, is private trainer for leviathan owner Emilio Rosati and his wife Mary. Daley recruited former Queenslander Cain to be the stable number one driver a few months ago. "I was having a good run back home, but the offer to join the Rosati-Daley team was such a huge opportunity," Cain said. "I've learnt such much from Noel - it's invaluable. He's so easy to adapt to and probably the perfect boss," he said. "He's happy for me to travel, and I'm now starting to pick up outside drives from well-known trainers like Ian Wilson, Darren Binskin, Team Tritton, Mark Lefoe and others." In recent times, Cain has been seen competing at Wagga, Newcastle, Goulburn, Bathurst, Penrith and Menangle. "The travel is just part of being in the industry and I haven't got a problem with it - you have to do it if you want to succeed," Cain said. The enthusiastic youngster landed the longest-priced winner of his short, but exciting, career last Saturday night - and he didn't have to travel far to do it! Cain took out the $20,400 M1 event at NSW headquarters, Menangle, with Uncle Jay for Mark Lefoe. Uncle Jay - Ashlea Brennan Photo Uncle Jay (Art Major USA-Kays My Gem (Presidential Ball USA) shot most punters out of the water with starting odds of $126. Uncle Jay "It was the first time I'd driven the horse, but he felt terrific during the run and got to the line strongly," an elated Cain said. "I enjoy driving at Menangle. However, it surprised me being so flat. It's only my opinion, but I think there'd be sensational times recorded if it was banked more." Cain, born and raised in Queensland, drove 55 winners in his first season in 2017. The following season he was successful on 48 occasions and is now enjoying his best season ever, with a tally of 66. "I've settled in well and quite enjoy Sydney. My girlfriend Bethany Manga is with me and she now helps around the stables as well as doing nursing studies at TAFE," he said. "We met when we were both doing the mini trotters." Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Ever-reliable Mildura Harness Racing Club committeeman Andrew Stenhouse ensured he was free of voluntary commitments early last Friday afternoon. And he had every reason to take a break and cheer home his gelding Classic Reactor (Auckland Reactor-Bella Caballo (Safely Kept), who scored an impressive win in the opening event, the DNR Logistics 3YO Pace. "We were hoping he would do well, but there were probably two others that looked hard to beat on paper," Stenhouse, who is based on the city outskirts at Merbein South, said. Driven a well-judged race drive by Dwayne Locke, the flashy gelding made it two wins from his previous four runs and certainly looks destined for a bright future. Auckland Reactor now has 52 winners in Australia for $1,142,365 in stakes and the momentum continues to build. In NZ he has 38 winners for $1,078,610. The intimidation factor of the former champion racehorse in elite company gave him the nickname The Reactor Factor, finishing his career with 26 wins and two placings from 35 starts. Stenhouse said that Classic Reactor was gaining in confidence with each run. "We decided to make a few gear changes about five weeks ago and he's just kept improving from then," he said. "Dwayne told me after the race that he wasn't concerned about having to make a move with around 900 metres to go because the horse felt a million dollars!" The field was content to run in single file with second-favorite Major Mucha (Wayne Hill) leading the way. Classic Reactor was three back the pegs with the race favorite Razs Vision (Kerryn Manning) hard up on his back. Classic Reactor, who popped out into the death seat approaching the bell, joined Major Mucha on the home corner and asserted his dominance. Razs Vision ran on late to grab the runner-up prize from Major Mucha. "It's a bit of a change in luck for us and we are enjoying it," Stenhouse said. "We haven't been in the winner's circle as much as we would have liked in recent times, but hopefully Classic Reactor can keep up the good work for a while yet." Dwayne Locke The Stenhouse-Locke team will continue to race their in-form pacer at Mildura, while trips to Swan Hill and Ouyen may also be on the cards. And in the meantime, the pair are hoping another Auckland Reactor-sired pacer in Power House Rock will find form this preparation. The four-year-old (Auckland Reactor-Diva La Diva (Holmes Hanover USA) had two starts last season but didn't enjoy much luck.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

A member of the famous Turnbull harness racing clan has been hospitalized after a nasty accident at his Tatura property. Craig Turnbull, who has been enjoying recent success with his team on country Victorian tracks, was seriously hurt after being kicked several times by a young horse. It is believed he had just finished working one of his stable team and was coming off the track toward a youngster that was tied up at a rail. After getting out of the sulky, the nearby horse started bucking and kicking out. Turnbull was rushed to Shepparton Hospital before being transferred to Melbourne where he remains in intensive care with a ruptured spleen, broken ribs and several fractures. His recovery is expected to include several weeks of treatment and rehab in hospital, before several months of rest and ongoing medical care. Turnbull, his wife Rebecca Cartwright and daughter Abbey have been enjoying a successful season. Black gelding La Player (Shadow Play USA - La Pucelle (Village Jasper USA) has had a purple patch in recent months with four wins and two runner-up prizes in his past six starts. His victories were at Gunbower, Boort, Cobram and Echuca. Concession junior driver Abbey, who landed her first winner at Shepparton in September 2017, has shown fine touch this season with 11 wins so far. All harness racing participants wish Craig well in his recovery process, while thoughts are with Rebecca, Abbey and other family members. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E hello@newsalertpr.com.au   W www.newsalertpr.com.au      

I Wanna Rock is finally back in the winner's circle after a sensational victory in Hobart in Race 2 on Sunday night. Owner, trainer and driver Sam Rawnsley was rewarded for his hard work and persistence with his former star juvenile (pictured) coming back from a two-year injury lay-off to produce the goods when it mattered in the TAB Park Elwick over 2090 metres. "I'm rapt he's been able to come back from such a serious injury and perform the way he has, two years off is a long time, he has an x-ray file at the Longford Vet Clinic as thick as a log," said Sam. "We got away well from the second row and was able to find a spot two back in the running line, he travelled beautifully from there and I knew if he could get the run at the right time he had the finishing sprint to worry them." Moves came at the bell but Sam resisted the urge to go with them, electing to hold his place. "There was a chance to come out in front of Miracle Marcus at the bell but I knew they had been running along up front so I decided to bide my time and wait for the effort to take its toll on them," said Sam. "I eased out four-wide going to the 400-metre pole and he travelled up sweetly into the home turn, I never really asked him for much in the run to the post as he had the momentum up and had them covered, I loved the way he laid his head down and chased the leader, it was very rewarding to see and feel him so strong." Like Friday night the evening's honours were evenly shared, Christian Salter trained and drove the first winner Burningupthefloor while Shaun Kennedy and Justin Campbell joined forces to salute the judge with Delightful Junie. Matt Cooper's well-supported Call Me Hector clocked a mile rate of 1:57.6 to beat a smart field by 6.6 metres with the Todd Rattray and Lachlan Dakin combination putting a smile on punters faces with Izaha strolling home to victory. Blackbird Power made it back-to-back wins for Gavin Kelly and Ricky Duggan while Yatsenyuk Leis made it five wins from its last six starts for Shelley Barnes and Rohan Hadley.   Shane Yates for tasracing.com.au

Following last week’s announcement of the first two Australian invites for the IRT Harness Jewels (Lulu Le Mans and Major Occasion), Harness Racing New Zealand and Addington Raceway are thrilled to now confirm our three latest Australian competitors.   Pete’s Big Jim (3yo Emerald), Falcon Stride (4yo Emerald) and Majestic Player (4yo Ruby) will represent their homeland in this year’s edition of the Jewels.   Shane and Lauren Tritton will bring back Pete’s Big Jim, who was a gallant second beaten just a neck by Another Master- piece last year, and talented four-year-old gelding Falcon Stride across the Tasman for a Jewels endeavor.   Peter Kohlsdorf is the owner of Pete’s Big Jim, and was ecstatic to be able to return to New Zealand with his pride and joy.   “It’s hardly sunk in to be honest,” said Kohlsdorf. “I’ve been thinking about it since last year when we were just beaten a neck by Another Masterpiece. So we set a programme to come back with the horse to the Jewels again, if it was at all possible.”   Pete’s Big Jim has not had the best of luck this year, struggling with setbacks and lameness but Kohlsdorf and Tritton report the horse is on the way back up.   Falcon Stride is a horse that Shane Tritton has a high opinion of and has won 6 of his 14 career starts. He has previously won over a mile in 1.51.7.   “He’s a horse that I’ve said several times, if he was in a Miracle Mile and they went 1.48, I’ve got no doubt he’d be good enough to be there, ” said Tritton.   “I’m really excited about him. I know it’s a strong division don’t get me wrong, and he’s a horse that a lot of people won’t know a lot about. But he’ll turn some heads at the top of the straight if he can be close enough.”   Anton Golino will also return to the Harness Jewels when he presents four-year-old trotter Majestic Player in the Ruby.   Golino campaigned with Dance Craze at Cambridge in 2018. She was third despite being desperately unlucky in the running and has since gone on to win the Great Southern Star and Saturday night’s La Coocaracha.   The Yabby Dams Farm owned Majestic Player extended his career record to 13 wins from 25 starts when winning at Menangle untouched on Saturday night. This season alone he has won 7 of his ten attempts.   Pat Discoll of Yabby Dams Farm is elated to returning to New Zealand with Jewels contender for Australia. But he did explain to HRNZ that the horse has not been without his challenges.   “We are very honoured and privileged to get the invite and providing the horse has pulled up ok after Saturday night we will definitely be there,” said Driscoll.   “He’s a bit of a stable star.”   “The horse has actually come from nowhere,” explained Driscoll. “As a young horse and a two-year-old he was short in stature and gangly and everyone loved him because even though he tried, he couldn’t trot.”   “Each year he’s just got better and better and from the horse’s point of view it’s a wonderful story. A horse that had a wonderful will to win but just couldn’t trot, and each year has just improved. He just seems to be getting better every start.”   Yabby Dams Racing is an exclusive trotting focused farm, following European training styles and focusing on the best trotting bloodlines worldwide. In an interview (link below) Driscoll describes his passion for the square gait breed and how that has led to the establishment of Yabby Dam Racing.   New Zealand Racing Board Harness Bookmaker Richard Wilson has released the opening prices on the New Zealand TAB for the latest Australian invites for the IRT Harness Jewels; Pete’s Big Jim $26; Falcon Stride $12 and Majestic Player $8. All IRT Harness Jewels future markets are now open on www.tab.co.nz   To hear an interview with Shane Tritton, Peter Kohlsdorf and Pat Driscoll please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/wat ch?v=vC2kelvv66M&feature=youtu.be   Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc          

A Queensland couple with a true love for the traditional harness racing square-gaiters has decided on a sea change. After spending time in Victoria with a team of horses during the past two years on “working holidays”, Ray and Janelle Cross are now in the process of making a permanent shift down south. “It basically come down to a lot more opportunities for trotters and we are really excited at what’s on offer,” said Ray Cross, who is about to celebrate his 80th birthday. “We can race our horses every week and try and place them a bit,” he said. “Back home it was becoming difficult to select suitable events because there was virtually nothing for young, up-and-coming trotters. Most of the time you would find yourself against seasoned, open campaigners.” The Cross stable these days comprises virtually all square-gaiters. “Maryborough is our base at the moment, while we search around and find a suitable property,” Cross said. “There’s five down in Victoria with us and we left another two racehorses behind as well as four well-bred broodmares until we get settled in a new place. “We are both really looking forward to a new challenge and it will be a slightly different lifestyle. But we were both ready to move on. It’s been on our minds for 12 months.” And they are not daunted by the cooler winter temperatures that Victoria will serve up. “I think the second year we come down to campaign, the locals were saying it was one of the worst winters ever.  We handled it okay, so we’ll be right,” Cross said. The veteran trainer, who is somewhat of an icon in the Sunshine State, has always been around horses. As a four-year-old he would ride a horse from the family home in Ellesmere to a school near Kingaroy each day – a distance of over 10 kilometres. “That was the only way I could get there. Then as I got older, I competed in the show rings and any other pony competitions that were going around,” he said. Cross said horse riding was in his family’s blood because his grandfather once rode from Victoria to Queensland. “I’ve been told by others that he was just 17 years old at the time,” he said. In was inevitable that Cross would find his way into the ranks of professional trainers, and apart from stints in his younger years as a roustabout and in the sugar cane fields, it’s been his life’s work. The Cross stable raced at Dalby and then later, when based at Toowoomba, raced on the home track as well as trips to Brisbane’s Albion Park. “We were then at Mount Marrow for a bit before re-locating to Calvert, a small town located near the city of Ipswich. We’d been there for the past 18 years,” he said. Over the years, Cross has been associated with some star performers. Horses that come to mind include ex Kiwi The Emcee and Daphnia as well as the brilliant son of Able Bye Bye, Keen Edge. Prepared predominantly through his career by Cross, Keen Edge won 27 races from 91 starts for more than $135,000 in the late 1980s. Some of his biggest wins were in the 1988 3YO Challenge Final and the 4YO Invitation Pace. The horse, who is believed to have held two world records at some stage, was involved in some memorable battles with Speed King and Butch’s Mate. The Emcee, winner of 58 races and 55 placings, was claimed by Cross for $5000 for stable clients. Cross resurrected his form and in the next 12 months he won $100,000. Square-gaiting historians still talk about the time Cross campaigned speedy Queensland-bred trotter Scottish Larry to win three races at Harold Park many years ago – at a time when Sunshine State wins at Glebe were far and few between. But while Cross says Keen Edge was probably his fastest horse, the title of his best goes to Kate Au Penny (Ringleader-Southern Banner (Mark Lobell), a trotting mare who finished with 24 wins and 43 placings for $80,000 from 2004 onwards. “We bred her, and she won her way to an Adelaide Inter-Dominion Final in 2007,” Cross said. While the couple will be pinning their hopes on Honey Please (Yankee Spider USA-Kumbya NZ (Sundon USA), there are a few others ready to step up going by their early Victorian form. Maiden trotter Ima Calvert Rose caught the eye when third at Ballarat last week and likewise 2yo Countess Chiron, fourth at the same meeting.  Lady Haha ran an improved fourth at Kilmore yesterday. “Honey Please has the form on the board down here, winning at Ballarat (2017) and then at Maryborough and Bendigo last year, during our visits,” Cross said. “Her most recent wins have been at Albion Park, Redcliffe and Marburg, so she’s been pretty handy for us.” And there’s nothing more certain than Ray Cross, who is still as keen as mustard, making his mark in Victoria. “You’ve got to keep working while you can, and we’ll be doing our best!” said the veteran. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

There were seven races decided on Friday night in Launceston with training and driving honours shared with a multiple winner no where in sight. Ben Yole and Rohan Hillier were in action early, sharing success in the Chartley Estate Stakes with the consistent Punchinello. “We sat without cover early but weren’t forced to work and then when Troy (McDonald) came round us at the 1200-metres on the favourite Good Feeling we had cover right up until the home turn and Puncinello finished off strongly,” said Rohan. “He’s been consistent without winning out of turn so it was good to see him rewarded with a powerful victory.” Iden Forest (pictured) ran right up to his last start third to Drillittobits with a runaway 16.9-metre victory after leading all the  way over 2200-metres in the Crown Lager Pace for Christopher and Matty Howlett. The longer the race went the stronger Iden Forest travelled and when Matthew clicked up the four-year-old turning for home he dashed clear for an impressive win. Beam Me Up Chopper, trained and driven by Kate MacLeod, put punters back on track in race three the Carlton Draught Stakes. “We got away well from the second row and settled just worse than midfield, I found the back of Alaphilppe which is where I wanted to be,” said Kate. “Rohan (Hadley) made his move out three-wide at the 800-metre mark and we latched on until the 400-metre pole where I hooked him out four-wide and he was able to round them up comfortably for a soft win.” Real Diamond made it back-to-back wins for Rod Ashwood when steered to victory by Gareth Rattray in the Lees Orchard Stakes. “It was a top performance by Real Diamond, he showed good speed to hold the challenges out early and then when Rowley joined him at the 400-metre pole Gareth just sat there quietly and kept some in reserve for the late surge from Courageous Katee,” said Rod. “That’s his fourth win and his second straight for us in a fortnight, he’s by Western Ideal from Jadah Rose so there may be another win or two in him yet.” El Jays Monet put punters back on the ropes in the Nichols Sound & Communications Stakeswith a courageous all the way win for Sally Stingel and Ricky Duggan. The seven-year-old gelding crossed from the four gate heading in to first turn and fought on like a caged lion when the challenges came left right and centre in the home stretch. Bianca Heenan and Hannah VanDongen kept their successful season rolling with Jeans Mattjesty pulling out three-wide at the bell in the Roberts Equine Supplies Claimer before surging clear in the straight for a 4.5 metre win. The Todd Rattray trained and driven Kadar turned the tables on Watchmylips to take the prize at double figure odds in the Bevan Lee Butchery Two-Year-Old. Rattray rated Kadar to perfection on top and although Watchmylips rattled home coming from last into the stretch Kadar had a length up its sleeve on the post. Watch Beam Me Up Chopper score a powerful victory in the Carlton Draught Stakes over 2200-metres on Friday night in Launceston.   Shane Yates

IT’S almost a year since Dance Craze was a hard luck story at the Harness Jewels, but she’s had some fun back home since. Anyone who thinks a Jewels trip could be detrimental to their horse only needs to look at her to see it’s been the opposite. In 13 starts since the Jewels raid, Dance Craze has posted seven wins and four seconds. The wins include Australia’s biggest trotting race, the Great Southern Star, and she added the Group 3 La Coocaracha at Menangle last night. She’s won almost $250,000 since that Jewels trip. Dance Craze looked the class act of the La Coocaracha back against her own sex and despite drawing the outside. She sat back and blew them away late to win by an increasing 1.8m over stablemate Pizza Queen in a 1min55.6sec. Tim Butt’s emerging mare Sassy Pants did the work and ran a creditable third despite galloping across the line. _________________________________________________________________________________ INTER Dominion hero Tiger Tara is back in work and being set for the Queensland Winter Carnival. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto gave the update after his emerging pacer Persimmon won the free-for-all in strong style at Menangle last night. “He’s been back a week, so it’s still early, but Queensland is the plan with he and a few others,” Pizzuto said. _________________________________________________________________________________ “DID that just happen?” Those were the magical words from Jocelyn Young after landing her first Group 1 driving win and causing a huge upset aboard Has No Fear in last Friday night’s $150,000 Group 1 WA Oaks at Gloucester Park. The race was supposed to be dominated by boom Kiwi import Dracarys, especially after the late scratching of major rival Balcatherine, but produced one of the “roughest” trifectas in modern feature race history. Nobody got the trifecta on the home TAB. Has No Fear was a $41 shot. The placegetters, Delightfulreaction ($101 the win) and Majorpride ($71 the win), paid $16.10 and $9.20 the place. Justin Prentice trains Dracarys, but also Has No Fear and the third-placed Majorpride. It was Young’s first Group 1 win and there were no shortage of well-wishers given Has No Fear is raced by the Pacing WA Syndicate, with many first-time owners to the sport. “It’s the first horse we syndicated when we resurrected the syndicate,” Gloucester Park CEO Mick Radley said. “This is so awesome.” That’s how Young felt. “They went hard, which suited me and I thought I had them on the home bend. She finds when they come at her,” she said. “This is absolutely a career highlight for me.” Dracarys drew inside the back row, Gary Hall Jr quickly had her into the clear and, although she had to spend some petrol to whiz around the field and take the lead, it was a shock she was spent on the home bend. She tired to finish sixth. _________________________________________________________________________________ EMMA Stewart has long felt Tell Me Tales could become Australia’s best mare. She’s well on her way judging by an utterly dominant $30,000 Group 3 Make Mine Cullen at Melton last night. Despite being three-wide early around the field from a back row draw, then sitting parked, Tell Me Tales won easily in a scorching 1min52.4sec mile rate for 1720m. It was the first leg of Victoria’s mares’ triple crown and she is very clearly the one to beat in the main leg, the Group 1 Queen Of The Pacific on what we saw last night. Steve Telfer’s Kiwi mare Our Step Up continued her fantastic Victorian form with a late-closing second, albeit being no match for the winner. Tell Me Tales record is an impressive 25 starts for 18 wins, four placings and now over $300,000. _________________________________________________________________________________ THE bubble burst on buzz Victorian filly Sleepee in the $40,000 Group 2 NSW Trotters’ Oaks. Sleepee headed into the race with five wins and a second from her six starts, grab the lead easily, dictated the terms and was still easily rundown by $26 outsider Royal Charlotte. All credit to Victorians Paul and Kari Males who made the trip to Menangle with a roughie and snared the prize with the daughter of Majestic Son. The other key runner, local Princess Kenny, galloped at the start and again on the home bend before finishing second-last. The race lost some depth when another key runner, last year’s Redwood winner Emerald Stride, was scratched. _________________________________________________________________________________ ONE-TIME budding superstar Jilliby Kung Fu is still sidelined with injury, but a few others of the “clan” are still firing. Marg Lee’s classy pair Jilliby Chevy and Jilliby Bandit both won at Melton last night. Jilliby Chevy prevailed by a whisker in the $30,000 Group 3 Country Clubs Championship final in a 1min56.1sec mile rate for 2240m with Jason Lee aboard. Two races later, Jason Lee took the reins on Jilliby Bandit for an all-the-way fast-class win in a 1min53.7sec mile rate for 1720m.   Adam Hamilton

Bendigo harness racing horseman Gary Donaldson will never forget a dramatic incident 12 months ago when one of his horses bolted onto a busy highway and was hit by a car. “It might be a year ago, but I can recall every bit of it like it was yesterday, and when I look back on it, I still don’t know how she survived,” Donaldson said. Not only did five-year-old mare Live Like A Royal (Stonebridge Regal USA-Live Your Life (Life Sign USA) survive and get back to racing, but she’s incredibly won four of her past 14 starts. “She is a great little horse who gets out onto the track and tries her heart out. Remarkably she hasn’t put in a bad run since that horrible accident,” Donaldson said. On that fateful day of April 26 last year, Donaldson had been galloping Live Like A Royal at Bendigo’s Lord’s Raceway. “A sulky shaft snapped, and I got tipped out of the cart. The mare took off in fright and headed back to the stables on the McIvor Highway,” Donaldson said. “It was about 8.45am which is peak-hour traffic and she went straight across the highway where a guy hit her travelling at about 70 kilometres an hour. “When I got there, the poor guy driving the car was more concerned about the horse than his vehicle. She flipped up in the air when he hit her and landed on the bonnet. “I can honestly say I expected the worst when I saw the damaged car and the horse lying in the gutter with some of her stomach hanging out. A lot of people had gathered about to try and help, which was nice.” Donaldson said he was surprised when Live Like A Royal “jumped up to her feet after giving her head stall a bit of a tug”. “I was sure she’d have a broken leg or something, but she seemed sound and walked off. She was bleeding heavily, but wasn’t distressed at all,” he said. After a short walk back to his Junortoun stables, Donaldson put the horse in a float and drove to the Bendigo Equine Hospital at nearby White Hills.  The mare was given pain killers immediately and went into surgery within 45 minutes. “The vet said it was critical to carry out the operation as quickly as possible because the longer it’s left, the skin becomes less supple,” he said. “I think they ended up putting in 80 stitches and staples later. They were just awesome at the Equine Hospital. “We then had her home in a stable for six weeks to treat her and keep an eye on her wounds then we let her out to graze in one of our paddocks, before putting her out on agistment.” Donaldson said all the owners checked often on the horse and were elated that she was saved. “They were hoping she still might be a breeding proposition, but all that changed when the lady from the agistment farm rang and told us she was running around in a full gallop with not a worry in the world,” he said. “I told the owners I’d give the horse another chance at the races, but if I wasn’t happy, then that was it and she’d be retired. But Donaldson always had one issue in the back of his mind – would the sight of cars prove the mare’s nemesis? “For a few weeks we tried her out by jogging her around the stables with cars parked everywhere. We even drove them near her and past her to test her out and they just didn’t seem to worry her at all, which was incredible, really,” he said. “From then on we really didn’t take any short cuts and just trained her like one of the others. It amazed me that she just went on like she had previously. There was no lameness, she steered well and was eating up.” On her racetrack return, Live Like A Royal took just four starts to get the winning feeling back – at the Bendigo track where the unfortunate sequence of events unfolded five months prior. She’s since scored another win at Bendigo, and was an impressive Mildura winner on Friday, making it two-on-the-trot in the northern region having scored eight days earlier at Swan Hill. After mustering speed from the pole and holding the lead at Mildura, punters who took the short odds would have been very happy with themselves. Live Like A Royal, sent out a $1.70 favorite, posted splits of 31, 32, 30 and 29.4 to cruise to an easy 7m win in the C1 class event. To watch a video replay of this race click on this link For Donaldson, a trip to Mildura is always somewhat of a “home coming” after doing a 12-month stint working at a bank in the city back in the late 1970s. “I began in Charlton and then got transferred to Mildura. I remember helping the late Fred Peterson with his team of horses when I was in Sunraysia and he had a few that went okay,” he said. Since leaving the bank, Donaldson has operated businesses in Central Victoria in addition to training a team of horses. He currently has nine in work – although that’s likely to be reduced in future, with the pending sale of his property. Donaldson said the Live Like A Royal story was one of the most emotional, but also the most satisfying, in his time in the sport. “It was a long road in nursing her back to good health, but she has certainly repaid us now,” he said. “Since the day of the accident, I have had people coming up to me all the time, in the shopping centre or anywhere, to ask how ‘the horse that got hit by the car’ is going? “It got plenty of media coverage at the time and Live Like A Royal now has her own band of supporters which is great.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When you're hot, you are pretty close to being on fire. Eighteen-year-old claim harness racing driver Taleah McMullen has hit her straps in spectacular style in recent weeks. In the 2018/19 season, she is boasting stats of 321 drives for 38 wins and 81 placings while bankrolling $195,361 for owners. We may have to add a couple to the win score as the lightweight lady driver took out the last two at Albion Park Thursday after the information above, was released. McMullen's current lifetime stats put together in just three seasons were 688 drives, 62 wins, 154 placings and total earnings of $327,285. Another star is rising in the lower Brisbane Valley hamlet of Glamorganvale. Top Monday meeting at Marburg JUST two days to the big Labour Day race meeting at Marburg. The best way to wind up a long weekend is an afternoon at a country trot meeting. Eight exciting races are being offered with the first at 12.04pm. Kids will be happy all day with mini-trot races, face painting, a colouring in competition, plus a Kid's Fashions In The Field, sponsored by Anne Murray and run in four age divisions (1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12). Plenty of betting options with the UTAB van and ATM on-course, the "Funny money'' bookmaker for those who want the excitement of a flutter but can't afford to lose the rent. For the form students, get your $500 funny money voucher, and your entry form for the "pick the last seven winners” from the race book. It's worth $1,100 this week on a share basis. Best bar prices, best burgers and best desserts round out a day's exciting entertainment aimed at the budget conscious family. All that and the last race at 4.15pm gets you home at a reasonable time. Gates open at 11am. Admission prices are adults $5, pensioners, members and students over 16 are $3. The all-important race book is $3. Key development CHANGE may be coming. Dependent on Harness Racing Australia giving the nod to a number of minor changes to "Harvey” software, Queensland Harness will wave goodbye to the failed "drop back” rule. No longer will horses coming up to double figures since their last win be strongly suspected of having several "dry runs” in their haste to drop back a class. Uniquely, in a move to combat the current horse shortage in Queensland, Racing Queensland will maintain the existing class system in parallel with the "benchmark ratings system” which will be adopted Australia wide on July 1. As "claiming” races are divorced entirely from the ratings system, it is likely that they may proliferate in Queensland harness programs. In a further initiative, RQ proposes that races of $3500 total, should attract a "career” rather than a "graduate” penalty. This is likely to be the lever which will allow the handicapper to simplify the program, and reduce the number of conditions written. BOTRA invites participants to the Hamilton Hotel on Monday, May 13, at 6pm to discuss the above. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: 1-4-8: Luikin (B Elder)-Wattlebank Flyer (A Richardson)-Monivae (P McMullen). R2: E/w 2: Macheasy (G Dixon). R3: Quinella 1-9: Crowning Glory (N McMullen) and Tell The Linesmen (A Sanderson). R4: Quinella 2-12: Bells Beach House (P McMullen) and Lincoln Road (H Barnes). R5: Quinella1-10: Our Bondi Beach (D Graham) and Unassuming Champ (A Richardson). R6: Quinella 1-4: Proficient (K Dawson) and Battle Born (J Elkins). R7: Box trifecta 1-2-7: Drive Your Dream (D. Graham)-Innocent Crocker (K Rasmussen)-Red Charmer (G Dixon). R8: E/w Living Grand (A Richardson). R9: First four 1-6-8-9: Ivanov (J Cremin)-Northern Muscle (D Smith)-Justabitnoisy (D Lee)-Maybe to The Max (H Barnes). R10: Quinella 5-6: Beaver (T Dawson) and Glenferrie Hood (P McMullen). Marburg guide For Monday's Labour Day meeting. Race 1 tips: 4-2-1. MAJOR SLIP UP: 3rd up from spell. Class drop. ALL MADNESS: Erratic but gets clear shot. Fit. SMOOTH THE COST: New stable. Top trainer/driver. Ace draw. Race 2 tips: 8-6-4. ACE MONTANA: Top stable, top driver and gets easy trail early. DALLAS COWGIRL: Going well, and may get clear of fence early. SHIMANSHYNE: Resuming. Showed some promise early. Race 3 tips: 3-8-9. ARES: Will be going forward early and may hold on. WHATA STRIDE: Recent winner. Lightweight driver and will get a good trail. LIGHT HORSE: Shows flashes of brilliance. Up to these at his best. Race 4 tips: 4-8-10. GOALKICKER: Excellent form. Best of the front markers. BRONZE ECSTASY: Very strong and will get carted into it. GOODTIME STRIDE: Great form, 30 metres not beyond him. Race 5 tips: 8-7-9. TASCOTT LADY: Honest as the sun, can round these up. ARTS PEREGRINE: Always thereabouts, runs on. OUR CHAMPION: Wide draw, but may be his day. Race 6 tips: 3-5-1. OMINOUS FLYER: Gets his chance today. MY ULTIMATE HELL: Knows track backwards, top driver. IFOUNDTHEBEACH: Draw suits,and will be in front for a long way. Race 7 tips: 9-1-4. IF YOU BELIEVE: Stable and driver both flying. Will be there at the finish. DOMESTIC ART: Runs best races here and has ace draw. INCITER: Slowly developing into a nice horse, runs on. Race 8 tips: 7-9-2. DONNY JONES: Good form, gets nice trail, cool driver. STEVIE DEE: Honest mare, top stable, top driver. ZENMACH: Form ordinary, but has options. Honour board Taleah McMullen was first time up with eight wins and rating of 400. Adam Richardson posted six wins and a rate of 300. No change on the trainers' board, with Chantal Turpin and Ron Sallis leading in three apiece. Most pleasing was Taleah McMullen's success with two doubles and a treble. Albion Park, April 26: Garland Greene (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Lisa Lincoln (Trent Dawson for Melissa Gillies); So Bobs Your Uncle (Adam Richardson for Drew Turton); Much Bettor (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney); Im Free Falling (Taleah McMullen for Ron Sallis). Albion Park, April 27: A Good Chance (Pete McMullen for Donny Smith); Tulhurst Ace (Adam Richardson for Chris Monte); Lincoln Road (Hayden Barnes for Alistair Barnes); Innocent Crocker (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Oceans Predator (Narissa McMullen for Greg Elkins); Quietly Spoken (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Watch Pulp Fiction (Chantal Turpin); Ark (Adam Sanderson for Grant Dixon). Redcliffe, April 28: Elms Creek (Taleah McMullen for Ron Sallis); Meant To Be Me (Adam Richardson for Gary Gerrard); Im Toot (Taleah McMullen for Dale Belford); Robinmegood (Rob Gorman for Kevin Joiner); Celtic Cruza (Taleah McMullen for Donny Smith); Downtown Lucca (Adam Richardson for Allan Sanders). Albion Park, April 30: Mach Alert (Kelli Dawson for Ian Gurney). Redcliffe, May 1: Comigal (Hayden Barnes for Brett Cargill); Rowdys Ace (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Mybella Rose (Taleah McMullen for Murray Thomas); One Last Roll (Pete McMullen for Rachel Belier); Dashing Hannah (Adam Richardson for Tayla Gillespie). Albion Park, May 2: Robinmegood (Rob Gorman for Kevin Joiner); Epirus Boy (Hayden Barnes for Jack Butler); Devouged (Adam Richardson for Doug Lee); Morroch Bay (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Our Pepperjack (Taleah McMullen for Graham White); Elms Creek (Taleah McMullen for Ron Sallis). By Denis Smith - Trot Tactics Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

Too Good For You was exactly that in the running of the Perc Verning Memorial at the Tamworth harness racing meeting on Thursday afternoon - too good! With the enviable barrier draw of the one barrier reinswoman Stacey Weidemann rated the four-year-old gelding well out in the lead whilst undertaking race pressure from Jackeroo Shannon from the Sarah Rushbrook stables racing out in the breeze. "He doesn't get a good barrier draw too often and when he does you have to make the most of it," stated Stacey Weidemann of the one barrier for Too Good For You. "Jackeroo Shannon was probably the one at the start that we thought if we hold him out, we lead. I knew I had to hold him out to stand a good chance." After commencing from the two barrier Jackeroo Shannon kept the race pressure on Too Good For You until the final 150 metres where Weidemann motivated her charge around the final turn to come away for a 10.8m win over Tap It In (Tom Ison), with Jackeroo Shannon a further 3.5m away third. Too Good For You "He is a bit of fun this little horse - he is a pleasure to have. We have had a good run with him since the owners gave him to us," added Weidemann, who was notching her second win in the feature race after guiding Fours Enuf Tas to the win in 2016. Raced over the 2360m Too Good For You recorded a mile rate of 2.03.6 minutes for the race distance in achieving his eight race win from 48 starts. "He finished the race off on his ear and you couldn't have asked him (Too Good For You) to finish it any better," Weidemann said. Named in honour of the late Perc Verning, who was a founding member of harness racing at Tamworth, this year was the fifth running of the memorial race.  The presentation with Jack, Bev and Spud Verning - children of Perc Verning. Photo: PeterMac Photography.   The inaugural winner back in 2015 was Alyeska Dream, which was fittingly trained by Perc's son Spud Verning. "Dad loved his harness racing and he would be up there looking down on us today," Verning said. The Weidemann name is now listed on three occasions with Stacey Weidemann taking the 2016 running followed by Lola Weidemann in 2017 with Rocknroll Annie. The Puritan from the Richard Williams stables won the 2018 running. With Lola Weidemann training Too Good For You she went on to pick up a winning double at the meeting as a trainer when Miss Catalina won the Pitt Express Ladyship Pace with Moonbi reinsman Dean Chapple taking the catch drive. "I have been fortunate to get a few drives off Lola - it's a nice stable - the horses are tough and easy to drive," Chapple said. "We had to drive for luck and there wasn't much going our way for a while but we got luck in the home straight. She (Miss Catalina) is a mare with 215 race starts - she is just a marvel - she saw the gap and she went for it." After sitting three back on the inside running line Chapple saw a gap on the home turn guiding Miss Catalina clear to come away for a half neck win over a fast finishing Roll With Tricky (Sam Ison) and Myanga Sportsgirl (Stacey Weidemann) 2.5m away third. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

While competent Daylesford harness racing reinswoman Anne-Maree Conroy showed fine touch to land a recent winning double, she was more than happy to shift the spotlight to her husband Michael Barby. Conroy had just two drives at Ballarat on Wednesday and returned home with a 100 percent strike rate, thanks to square-gaiting pair Teetreetommy (Julius Caesar-Blooming Marvellous (Umbrella Fella) and Argyle Melody (Life Sign-Dalmont Vivienne (What’s Next). Conroy trains Argyle Melody, but she was quick to heap praise on Michael, who defied conventional wisdom in changing pacing bred gelding Teetreetommy into a trotter. “Teetreetommy was a big stroppy type of fella when he was being broken-in and tried as a pacer,” Conroy said. “Then one day Mick figured out that perhaps the horse wanted to be a trotter, so we decided to give him a try.” It wasn’t necessarily a smooth transition for Teetreetommy, though. “I wasn’t actually that sure about the decision when early on he refused to turn in a run-around before the trials,” Conroy said. “But Mick persevered, and the horse kept improving. After a while he made his race debut at Kilmore and we were pretty excited with a third placing. “He was going to be right in it at his next start, but broke and ran sixth, and then had a third and won at Melton leading up to this latest win.” Anne-Maree said the Ballarat success was virtually a carbon copy of Teetreetommy’s Melton victory. “We drifted back to near the rear, and then worked into it going down the back straight before finishing it off in the run to the line,” she said. “He is certainly starting to develop so we are going to have some fun with him.” To watch the video replay of this race click here. Teetreetommy, owned by Gerard and Brendan White, was named in honor of their brother Tommy, who passed away four years ago this month. Tommy formerly lived in Ti Tree Road, Dunnstown. The White clan was out in force at Ballarat, being trackside for the first time to cheer home their winner. Argyle Melody provided Anne-Maree with her second winner of the night, showing in the T C Bricklaying Trotters Handicap that age is no barrier. And in doing so, the 10-year-old mare may have delayed a booking in the broodmare barn. “Her previous run was a fifth at Geelong and it was a bit below par so some of the owners were suggesting perhaps she’d go to stud next season,” Conroy said. “I put the blame on myself because she didn’t feel keen at all; she was really flat and performed pretty ordinary,” she said. Anne-Maree is the daughter of central Victorian trotting legend Bob Conroy, a true gentleman of the sport, who died in a training accident 18 months ago. Anne-Maree’s parents, Pat and the late Bob Conroy “I asked myself what dad would have done in that situation. I decided he would have given her more galloping, long heat workouts, swimming or cut back her feed,” she said. “I thought about it for a bit and then decided to opt for the diet idea. “When we went out onto the track at Ballarat, I soon knew I’d done the right thing because she was up on her toes and felt far more lively than the previous week. “The speed was strong from the start and that suited her. It turned into a slog up the final straight, but she was very fit and that got her there. “I must admit that I did give her a few of her favorite treats afterwards, but only for a little while!” To watch the video replay of this race click here Argyle Melody is raced by Colin Beveridge, his partner Mary-Lou Raybould, Pat Conroy (mum of Anne-Maree), Sam Justin and Leanne Taylor. The mare has now had 15 wins and 43 placings for over $105,000. Anne-Maree and her two brothers Glenn and Peter work a team together of around 17 horses. “We’ll probably reduce that number when the wet, cold weather arrives,” she said. While the Conroy family is renowned for their outstanding results with square-gaiters, Anne-Maree said they didn’t have a preference between either gait. “I agree we have a good reputation with trotters, but it’s a huge thrill to drive a good pacer as well. We’re not fussy, we just love getting the best out of our horses.” Hoofnote: the late Bob Conroy won the ‘78 Bendigo Pacing Cup and Italian Cup with pacing superstar Lincoln Star, but on the flipside had brilliant trotters in Mary Beverley, Amazon, Mister Everest and others. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura