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Be On Guard has delivered leading trainer Matthew Saw his 10th winner of the Albany Harness Racing Club season, at their final meeting on Friday night at Harold Reid Paceway. At only his second start for the Saw stable since coming across from Colin Brown, Be On Guard started a raging favourite in the Bakers Junction Pace (2258m) and won in a thrilling finish to help Saw wrap up his second consecutive AHRC Trainers’ Premiership in style. Driver Madeleine Young used barrier three to her advantage, spearing to the front where she led with the Changeover gelding and survived a late challenge from stablemate Beaus Mystery to win by a half head. Saw, who based himself here in Albany for the season, had already clinched successive titles heading into the last meeting but in the overall standings finished with 79 points. From 78 runners Saw had 10 winners to go with 15 seconds and nine thirds, as he was a clear winner over Peter Fairless (43 points) and Peter Anderson (32). The result also helped Young claim the AHRC Drivers’ Premiership for the 2017-18 season after she held off a strong challenge from last year’s winner Trent Wheeler. Young drove seven winners from 67 starts in the Albany season and had 20 minor placings as she recorded 60 points to finish above Wheeler (50) and Corey Peterson (41). Wheeler won the opening event on the final night after $1.60 favourite Captured Delight prevailed by a short half head in a photo finish over Bettorgrinanbarit. It was the first leg of winning double for Wonnerup trainer Terry Ferguson after he later tasted success with Rocknroll Beachboy. Giles Inwood landed a driving treble on the program after guiding Rocknroll Beachboy to victory along with Dredlock Rockstar and All About The Cash, both for trainer Ashleigh Markham. In the other AHRC awards Peterson was the club’s leading junior driver with 41 points while Crimson Floyd, trained by Charlie Draper, was the leading club pacer with 16 points. Cameron Newbold | Albany Advertiser Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Punters were left up in arms by the stewards’ decision to allow the result of an Albany harness race over the weekend to stand despite several harness racing drivers pulling their horses up thinking the race had been called off. In extraordinary scenes, the standing start of Race 5 at the West Australian racetrack on Friday night saw rank outsider Melton Express stand flat footed at the start before backing straight into the path of Crimson Floyd, with both drivers dislodged. The remaining five horses continued until some 600m after the start where in the mistaken belief that the race would be abandoned because of injured drivers or horses on the track, two drivers decided to pull their horses up. Jack Justins on $4.50 shot Chuck Norris was the first to pull up, and then Lang Inwood on Across the Way ($18) decided his race was also over, dropping back through the field. Chaos reigned for the next lap as caller Craig Morrison tried to make sense of what was going on. “I’ve been calling a long time, but this is one of the strangest races I’ve ever seen,” he said. He would then receive confirmation from the stewards that the race was progressing, with just the three horses in contention. Dredlock Rockstar, the $2.80 favourite, would go on to win the race, defeating Four Needed ($7.70) and Estocada ($3.40). Across The Way would fill the first four, some 380 metres (or around 30 seconds) behind the winner. Here is the race - You be the Judge The stewards report from the meeting said that after interviewing all the drivers, it was established that there were no reasons the race should be called off. No siren had sounded and the decision to pull the horses up was made by the drivers themselves. However, an inquiry was opened into their actions. Driver Wes Andrews, who was cannoned into at the start, was taken to Albany Hospital. The replay of the race and the full stewards report is below. By Bren O'Brien Reprinted with permission of site If Albany race 5 is not declared a no race Harness Racing is dead @Punters @HRNSW_Harness @racing_nsw   The Stewards Report: As the start was effected MELTON EXPRESS stood flat footed and then commenced to run backwards and as a result CRIMSON FLOYD which was trailing made heavy contact with the sulky of MELTON EXPRESS NZ resulting in drivers W. Andrews (MELTON EXPRESS) and T. Stone (CRIMSON FLOYD) becoming dislodged from their sulkies. As both horses and drivers had cleared the track the race continued. Prior to the all-clear Stewards questioned all Drivers in the event into the reasons for them appearing to restrain their horses during the early stages of the event. The drivers stated that they elected to restrain their runners as they were off the opinion that the race would be stopped due to the fall shortly after the start. In giving consideration to the evidence tendered by all drivers Stewards were of the opinion that at no stage were any warning sirens sounded to alert the drivers to restrain their runners, there was no interference suffered to any runner and that the track was clear of any obstruction and therefore clear to continue running the race. As a results Stewards declared the event and race gave the all clear on the judge’s numbers. As Driver W. Andrews was injured he was transported to Albany Base Hospital for observation. Due to the delay all races were put back 1 race with Race 9 re scheduled to start at 11.05pm. Stewards opened an inquiry into the actions of the following Drivers L. Inwood (ACROSS THE WAY), M. Young (ESTOCADA), T. Wheeler (FOUR NEEDED), J. Justins (CHUCK NORRIS), A. Markham (DREDLOCK ROCKSTAR) during the running of the event. After taking initial evidence the inquiry was adjourned to a time and date to be fixed. MELTON EXPRESS – Stood flat footed at the start and lost ground. Driver dislodged shortly after the start. In view of the performance stood down until it can complete one satisfactory standing start trial. CRIMSON FLOYD – Severely checked after the start and dislodged driver.  

Talented pacer Major Stare survived a protest to win his first $20,000 GWN Albany Pacing Cup (2683m), downing red-hot favourite Galactic Star by a head in a thrilling finish to the 2018 Albany Harness Racing Club feature race last Friday night. The Barry Howlett-trained Major Stare started a $6.50 chance on the tote and jumped well from gate two on the front line to surge to the lead for driver Lang Inwood. The son of Art Major led as $1.60 fancy Galactic Star was sent forward soon after the start to sit outside the leader. Major Stare was challenged on the final lap by Galactic Star, driven by Ryan Warwick, but Major Stare hung on by a head to notch one of the best wins of his career. Albany Cup winner Major Stare and driver Lang Inwood. Warwick lodged a protest against Major Stare, alleging interference on the final turn, but stewards dismissed the claim, saying Major Stare did move out on the final turn but they weren’t satisfied Galactic Star would have won if the interference hadn’t occurred. As a result, Major Stare has been stood down until he completes one re-qualifying trial after being warned at his last start for a similar offence. Major Stare ran third in the $50,000 San Simeon Final and has now won 10 of his 27 career starts. Handsandwheels ran third for the De Campo stable, beaten by 2.2m, Mighty Major was fourth and local Mister Ardee fifth. Howlett finished with a winning double after short-priced favourite Punters Dream won the John Barnesby Pace (2258m). Galactic Star’s runner-up finish continued a luckless night for leading metro trainer Skye Bond at Harold Reid Paceway. Aiden De Campo, on the outside, wins the Supercharge Batteries Fillies and Mares Pace with the Andrew De Campo-trained Machine Elle. Ella Gant Player ran third in race 2 while $2.40 favourite Covered N Diamonds was checked and raced roughly at the 300m mark before finishing a disappointing sixth in race 4. Lincs Tiger ($1.10 favourite) galloped at the start of race eight but charged back to run third, beaten by 3m, while the well-fancied My Master Of Disguise finished second in the final race. Machine Elle and Sheez Impressive gave trainer Andrew De Campo and reinsman Aiden De Campo a winning double Aiden De Campo returns with Machine Elle. Locally based trainer Matthew Saw also landed a double with Im Zuleika and October Brown to stretch his lead in the AHRC Trainers’ Premiership. By Cameron Newbold Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Albany trainer Charlie Draper has shot to the top of the Albany Harness Racing Club’s trainer standings after Jasper Casper and Crimson Floyd both scored victories at Harold Reid Paceway last Saturday night. The third meeting held at ARHC this season attracted strong fields in the nine races and Draper continued his strong start with a double to take his tally to 19 points in the Trainers’ Premiership. Draper sits one point ahead of Matthew Saw, who also had a double on Saturday’s program, with Beaus Mystery and Chevrons Champion saluting, while Albany-based trainer Peter Fairless is third with 17 points. Jasper Casper began a $3.70 favourite in the Wilson Brewing Pace (2258m) to start the night fixture, and was driven patiently by Jack Just-ins from the second row to sprint home to win by 9.4m. Crimson Floyd also began from the back line in the Rough Seas Pace (2258m) for reinsman Tim Stone and came with a strong run on the final lap to edge out Im Zuleika by a head, with favourite Wabi Sabi back in third place. Trainer-driver Nathan Turvey enjoyed success as well, driving Chevrons Champion to victory in race five for Saw while also training two winners himself. Heavily backed $1.40 favourite Simba Bromac downed Lord Willoughby by 1.8m in the Figurehead Pace (2258m), with Turvey also in the sulky, before he later tastedsuccess with $1.90 chance Carter Michael. Impressive mare Ladys Are Ideal won aqualifying heat in the mares series for trainer-driver Clinton Hall, with the final to be held later this season. The five-year-old started a short-price favourite and proved too strong for Four Legged Frenzy at the line to win her sixth career race. Reinsman Shannon Suvaljko holds a 10-point lead over Corey Peterson and Madeleine Young in the AHRC Drivers’ Premiership after three meetings. Albany’s next meeting will be on Saturday, January 20 and is again a night fixture. Cameron Newbold Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Harness racing metropolitan reinsman Shannon Suvaljko has produced a sensational performance on New Year’s Eve, driving five winners at Harold Reid Paceway to continue his red-hot form in the sulky. At the traditional Albany Harness Racing Club’s December 31 meeting, Suvaljko teamed with Albany-based trainer Peter Fairless to dominate the early part of the nine-race card as the pair won the first three races. Suvaljko then scored on raging favourite Back To The Beach and the well-supported Imali in the next two races, as he amazingly won the first five races on the card. It was very nearly six on the trot after Lord Willoughby ran second in race 6 and the talented driver recorded another second placing later on to cap off his brilliant night. The five victories are part of a purple patch for the top reinsman, who has driven 11 winners in eight days after a treble in Busselton on December 26 to go with wins at Gloucester Park (December 29), Northam (December 30) and Busselton (January 2). “I’ve driven five once or twice before,” Suvaljko said. “But to drive the first five, that was pretty good. Once you get in the zone and you get a bit of luck, things pan out the way you want and that’s what happened. “To drive the first three for Peter Fairless was a big thrill — he’s a hard worker and a bit of a battler so to see the joy on his face was great.” Ohoka Chief ($4.50) proved too strong from the front line in the WA Koffee Boost Stakes Pace (2258m) to win by 4.3m before Fairless and Suvaljko saluted with Ariki ($10.40) in the Peter Watson Stakes Pace (2258m). The third leg of the combinations treble came at big odds when $30 chance Art Of Illusion stormed home to get over the top of Soho Jett by 1.4m in race 3. Suvaljko now leads the AHRC drivers’ premiership with 24 points over Colin Brown (16 points), and said he was committed to returning on Saturday and Sunday meetings for the rest of the season. Mighty Flying Deal ($3.10) won the $8500 Amity Tavern New Years Cup Stakes (2258m) for trainer Wayne Justins and reinsman Jack Justins, while trainer Ross Olivieri and driver Corey Peterson also finished with doubles at the meeting. Cameron Newbold Reprinted with permission of The West Australian  

Metropolitan trainer-driver Colin Brown enjoyed a night at Harold Reid Paceway to begin the new Albany Harness Racing Club season last Friday, landing four winners on the eight-race program. Brown, one of WA’s most successful reinsmen, won half the card at the season opener, with Arma Rich Girl, Fortunate Adda, Maxentius and Eden Franco all successful. Eden Franco started a red-hot $1.50 favourite in the night’s feature race the $8500 Libby Harding Pace (2258m), and settled outside the leader Mighty Flying Deal for the majority of the race. On the final lap Eden Franco briefly hit the front before Mighty Flying Deal fought back on the inside nearing the home corner, but the short-priced favourite did enough in a terrific battle nearing the line to win by 1.6m, which handed Brown his fourth. Earlier Brown drove four-year-old gelding Maxentius to victory in the Premium Custom Homes Pace (2258m) after downing fellow fancy All Jokes Aside by 7.6m at the line. Three-year-old filly Fortunate Adda scored her third career win, making ideal use of the front row draw as Brown had her outside the leader in running before holding off Clovelly Spirit by 2.4m at the finish. Brown also won the opening event on the card with Arma Rich Girl, who jumped a $17.80 chance on the tote, to edge out $1.30 favourite Captured Delight by a neck in a thrilling finish to the Formation Homes 3YO Pace (2258m). Short-priced favourite All About The Cash proved too strong in race 2 for trainer-driver Lang Inwood, while concession driver Madeleine Young prevailed in another tight result, and Mr Nickel won by a half head over Crimson Floyd in race 3. Albany trainer Charles Draper also tasted success on opening night after Snowball Mackenzie won at his first start for the new stable, scoring a dominant 8.8m win in the last race. AHRC will hold their second meeting this Sunday night, featuring the annual New Year’s Eve Cup Stakes. By Cameron Newbold Reprinted with permission of The West Australian  

Excitement is building ahead of the new Albany Harness Racing Club season, which starts tomorrow night featuring an eight-race card at Harold Reid Paceway. In total, 10 meetings have been scheduled at the club this season, with the highlights being the annual $30,000 Albany Pacing Cup on February 2 and the popular New Year’s Eve fixture on December 31, while the $10,000 Denmark Cup is programmed in March. Tomorrow’s season opener has attracted strong fields, with the $8500 Libby Harding Pace (2258m) the feature race on the card that kicks off at 7.06pm. Metropolitan trainer Colin Brown has a strong hand in the race, with impressive mare Eden Franco drawn on the second row and stablemate Star Armbro beginning from gate two on the front line. AHRC president Laurie Eldridge said preparations were almost complete ahead of the big 2017-18 season. “The club is in a very strong place at the moment — we have a hard-working committee and can’t wait for things to kick off,” he said. “We are one of the clubs to implement the OHS. Financially we are very good and we are doing some major improvements around the venue including having our own water source.” Eldridge confirmed the club would have visiting trainers based here for the season and said the demand was high to improve the trackside facilities to enable more trainers to stay here across the season lasting almost four months. By Cameron Newbold Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Albany Harness Racing Club’s 2016-17 season has been given a boost, with the club handed an extra fixture to hold its abandoned meeting from last month which included the $30,000 Albany Cup. After negotiations with Racing and Wagering WA, the AHRC has confirmed it will hold the Albany Cup on Saturday, March 18, which will be the final meeting of the season. Originally the club’s season was supposed to finish on Saturday, March 11, with the Denmark Cup set down for that night. That meet will still go ahead and club president Terry Rolfe said their major feature race would be an ideal way to end the current season. “We have got an extra meeting on March 18,” he said. “That will have the Albany Cup. “We had a fair bit of discussion with RWWA but we got there eventually.” The club’s final Friday night meeting will be held tomorrow at Harold Reid Paceway, consisting of an eight-race program. The card will start at 7.12pm with the third heat of the fillies and mares series and wrap-up at 10.45pm. Albany trainer Matthew Saw, who leads the AHRC trainers’ premiership, has seven chances entered across the meeting with Four Legged Fury in the Pony Trots Mares Qualifying Heat 3 Pace (1828m). By Cameron Newbold Reprinted with permission of The Albany Advertiser

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