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Star horseman John McCarthy is not getting ahead of himself. The former multiple Albion Park Premiership winner has recently returned to take part in the 2018 Racing Queensland Summer Carnival at Albion Park where he grabbed the spoils on the opening night when Rakarolla proved too classy in the Gr.3 $31,400 Be Good Johnny Sprint on December 1. It has been the one and only start McCarthy has given the giant gelding in Brisbane. Until now. McCarthy will head back to Albion Park this Saturday night searching for another feature race victory when Rakarolla takes his place in the Gr.2 $50,660 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup, the final feature of the carnival. The 2138m mobile start event features rising star Colt Thirty One, the reigning Queensland Horse of the Year and McCarthy believes he’s the real deal. The Grant Dixon prepared Mach Three four-year-old had his first taste of open company last week when he quickly dispatched a tidy field in the Christmas Cup in race record time when coming from near last. “He’s a very good horse; he was brilliant last week and despite a nasty draw this weekend, he’s the horse we all have to beat. I had a good look at him at the wash bay and he’s a good looking horse, he’s got class written all over him.” McCarthy said. Colt Thirty One has drawn the outside of the second-line (gate 13) while Rakarolla has drawn nicely in gate four which gives McCarthy several options. Rakarolla took inside runs to win the sprint feature two weeks ago but McCarthy is adamant his versatility will have him as a key rival. “Despite his age, he’s actually quite an immature type who’s still learning but he’s adaptable to different situations. I think he’ll be even better next year and could measure up for some better races. “The fact he raced week in and week out in lead-up to the Brisbane trip has worked to his advantage, he raced six weeks straight and was really fit for the Be Good Johnny. “He’s trained on well since that victory and should prove competitive again, I was happy to bypass last week and focus on this week’s event.” UBET has listed Colt Thirty One at $1.90 while Rakarolla is quoted at $6.50. Rakarolla is raced by his New Zealand based breeder, Brendan Fahy. The Queensland Cup is listed as race 8 and is scheduled to start at 9.37pm local time.   Chris Barsby

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One solidified his position as the state’s best pacer with a brilliant come from near last to first victory in the $21,160 AQWA Constructions Christmas Cup at Albion Park last night (Saturday). The Grant Dixon trained and driven four-year-old was having his first official open class start when tackling the 2680m mobile start feature and many proven and seasoned stars. Starting from a tricky second-line draw, Dixon sat patiently towards the rear of the field with Colt Thirty One ($2 fav) before gaining perfect three-wide cover over the concluding stages before unleashing a devastating sprint to easily beat Aztec Bromac ($8.50) and Alleluia ($16). The Mach Three entire created a new race record when posting a winning mile rate of 1:56.4. The lead time was covered in 77.5 seconds; sectionals for the final mile were covered in 28.8, 30, 29.1 and 28.4 seconds. Triple Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova led the way from his inside draw before being overpowered over the concluding stages. “We’ve waited an entire life time to breed a horse like this and we’re so thrilled with the way he keeps stepping up to the challenge. It looked to be a tough challenge from the draw but Grant gave him another perfect drive and it was fantastic to see him round them up as easily as he did.” Winning owner/breeder Kevin Seymour said. Trading under the banner of Solid Earth Pty Ltd, Seymour shares ownership with his wife Kay. The victory of Colt Thirty One takes his record to 22 wins from 32 starts while banking more than $420,000. Colt Thirty One will back-up in next week’s feature, the Gr.2 $50,660 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup, a feature over the distance of 2138mbefore embarking on a Sydney campaign centred around the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle on February 16. In the other feature, the $21,160 AQWA Constructions ‘Forever Gold’ Mares Open Pace, race favourite Smooth Showgirl ($1.60) led throughout to beat a game Eleniark ($2.60) and Annika Magic ($71) in a time of 1:55.7. The Art Major mare posted sectionals of 28.6, 32.1, 28.5 and 26.7 seconds. Prepared by Ian Gurney and handled by young Sydney reinsman Chris Geary, Smooth Showgirl registered her 20th victory from 69 starts while taking her career earning past the $300,000 mark. Next week, the Queensland summer carnival comes to a climatic ending with the running of the Gr.2 $50,660 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup, the Gr.2 $40,770 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final, the $21,160 C2/C5 feature plus the $14,999 King of the Claimers Final. It promises to be another exciting night of action. Chris Barsby

Albion Park Summer Carnival has attracted many talented types and they will be showcased in tomorrow night’s AQWA Constructions Christmas Cup and AQWA Constructions Forever Gold Mares Open. Continuing Christmas Cup night tradition, a visit from Santa has been arranged after race 3 at approx. 6.45pm. The carnival opening night was staged last Saturday where the John McCarthy trained Rakarolla NZ sailed to victory in the AQWA Constructions Be Good Johnny Sprint. It was the second time McCarthy has prepared the winner of the feature race named in honour of his former champion, the previous was Washakie in 2011. Mr Kalypso and trainer/driver Kylie Rasmussen were successful in the AQWA Constructions 2018 APHRC Member’s Cup. This was the horse’s seventh consecutive victory. Punters will appreciate that wagering service provider UBET is offering a number of attractive exotic betting propositions for this Saturday night’s meeting, spearheaded by a $25,000 First 4 Jackpot Pool on race 1 scheduled for 5:42pm EST. Additionally, $3,000 jackpot Trifectas are listed on races 3, 4 and 5 as well as a $2,500 Quadrella jackpot is listed for races 2 to 5. For the most up to date form analysis and selections refer to Racing Queensland harness racing specialist Darren Clayton’s deliberations on the meeting: http://www.harness.org.au/punting/punters-corner/form-analysis/?keyNum=234308 The opening event on the huge value packed 10 event card gets under way at 5:42pm EST. For further information contact the Club on 07 3262 2577 or info@aphrc.com.au Visit the Club website at www.aphrc.com.au   Albion Park Harness Racing

It was a fitting result with leading horseman John McCarthy returning in style. The former multiple Albion Park Metropolitan Trainers Premiership winner returned back to his old stomping ground and claimed the Gr.3 $30,660 AQWA Constructions Be Good Johnny Sprint last night (Saturday), the opening night of the Queensland summer carnival. McCarthy guided giant New Zealand gelding Rakarolla ($9) to victory in the 1660m feature after racing three back against the pegs before sprinting past the Ian Gurney duo of Mach Alert ($3.30) and Our Hi Jinx ($7.50) in a scorching time of 1:51.9. Sectionals of 27.3, 28.4, 28.3 and 27.9 seconds. The winning time is well outside of the track record of 1:50.4 set by champion pacer Im Themightyquinn back in 2014. It is the second time McCarthy has prepared the winner of the feature named in honour of his former champion after Washakie scored back in 2011. Now based at Cobbitty near Menangle, the highly decorated horseman prepares a team of around 20. “It’s great to win a race that’s named after my best ever pacer, I got a good run against the inside and that’s the best place to be when the running that sort of time. He finished off really well and we’ll start in the Christmas and Queensland Cups,” McCarthy said. “Earlier this week, I sat and thought about taking my horses to Newcastle and then thought I should drive a little further north and take in the Brisbane features. So I headed up with a small team and it’s been a good start.” He added. Rakarolla is raced by his New Zealand based breeder, Brendan Fahy. In the other feature, race favourite Mr Kalypso ($1.75) accounted for the Grant Dixon duo of Aqua Miss ($14) and Red Charmer ($7.50) in the AQWA Constructions APHRC Members Cup. The Kylie Rasmussen trained and driven pacer rated a strong 1:57.1 after racing without cover for the bulk of the 2138m event. Mr Kalypso remains unbeaten in seven Queensland starts. The Art Major – Kalypso five-year-old entire looks destined for bigger and better things in the future. Next week, the features include the $20,660 Christmas Cup and the $20,660 Forever Gold Mares Open Pace. RQ Media

Reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One made a triumphant return to Albion Park last night (Saturday). Starting at prohibitive odds in the Gotta Go Cullect @ Egmont Park Stud Pace, the Mach Three entire quickly circled the field from his second-line draw before controlling the race outside the leader Our Major Day. The brilliant four-year-old quickly gained the upper hand soon after straightening and drew clear from a game Our Major Day while Top Flight Cruize filled third placing. The winning mile rate for the 2138m event was 1:57.2 while covering the final half in 55.6 seconds. The victory took his earning past $400,000. It was the first full metropolitan meeting staged at Albion Park since September 22 after the track underwent major remediation works following a spate of cancellations owing to poor weather. The Grant Dixon prepared pacer was having his first start since finishing second behind Ride High in the Gr.1 $195,000 Breeders Crown Final at TABCORP Park, Melton on August 25. And without the benefit of a public trial. “Obviously we couldn’t trial him at Albion Park in preparation for his return but we have plenty of handy types that can make him stretch out at home, I was really happy with where he was at prior to his return and he didn’t disappoint and felt like his normal self.” Dixon said. The Queensland summer carnival over the next three weeks has been added to his program as they build towards their main target, the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle on February 16. “We’re definitely going to have a look at some these local features in the coming weeks, he won’t start in all of them but he will be tested at some point against the open class performers. “He’s destined for open class and this looks the right opportunity to dip his toe in the water, it fits his schedule nicely.” The Gr.3 $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprints kicks off the carnival on December 1 followed by the $20,660 Christmas Cup (December 8) and then the Gr.2 $50,660 Queensland Cup (December 15). The trio of open class features will be raced over the distances of 1660m, 2680m and 2138m. With the return of racing to headquarters, Dixon enjoyed a great night preparing five winners. His haul included Eleniark, Fioki, Colt Thirty One, Alleluia and Our Overanova. It is the 10th time he has achieved the feat. And it’s the 7th time he’s achieved it at Albion Park. The previous occasion came earlier this year when preparing five winners on May 12. Chris Barsby

Reigning Albion Park Horse of the Year Glenferrie Hood is on target for the upcoming Racing Queensland summer carnival features. A winner of three races from five starts this term, the Christian Cullen gelding has not raced since disappointing at Redcliffe back on October 27 when finishing at the rear of the field behind millionaire pacer Ohoka Punter in the Stevie Redback Pest Control Open Pace. Trainer Wayne Graham elected to freshen his star performer in readiness for the open class features at Albion Park. “It was established he was suffering from a virus so I backed off on him with the view of having him ready for the features next month. He went off his tucker which is very unlike him but he’s back to full health now and I’m happy with his condition,” Graham said. “I could’ve started him this week but elected to give him the extra week; at this stage he’ll probably contest two of the three features. The $50,000 Queensland Cup is the main target and he’ll appreciate being back on the bigger track like many others.” He added. Glenferrie Hood won 9 races last season and all of those victories came via Albion Park. *********************************************************************************************   Talented mare January has been sold and will do her future racing in North America. The Kylie Rasmussen prepared mare was scratched from her event last weekend at Redcliffe owing to the sale. Highly respected Perth based agent Frank Rinaldi negotiated the deal. January won 14 races and managed 23 minor placings from her 64 starts while banking more than $112,000 in stakes. *********************************************************************************************   Young Brittany Graham is heading to Sydney to take up a position with SKY Channel. The daughter of respected trainer Darrel and Albion Park committee member Linda, Graham has taken on a permanent role with the race broadcasting giant after coming their academy. Graham has forged a tidy career in the sulky and enjoyed good success with the likes of Montana Falcon plus her own pacers The Next Star and The Falcon Ute. Last season, Graham won the Seymour Group Lady Drivers Invitation Series at Albion Park.  Graham will be trackside this weekend at Albion Park in a hosting role with Greg Hayes for SKY. *********************************************************************************************   Up and comer Slice Of Heaven looks set for an exciting campaign following a stylish trial at Redcliffe on Wednesday. Prepared locally by Donny Smith, the Rocknroll Hanover gelding dominated his 1780m public trial in a time of 1:59.0 defeating Courageous Leo and Bangkok Bravado. Slice Of Heaven has not raced since winning at Albion Park on August 18 in a time of 1:55.4. The five-year-old has won 11 of his 28 starts to date including his past three. The summer carnival features next month could be a temptation for connections but another trial next week will determine future plans. *********************************************************************************************   Willowbank trainer John Edmunds and owner Tony Veivers are focused on the Gr.2 $40,770 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship series starting next week at Albion Park. Edmunds will take a trio of talented trotters to Albion Park tomorrow night in readiness for the series when Lavros Jack, Any Old Way and Spud contest the Pryde’s Easifeed Mobile Trot, the final race on the big program. The 2138 mobile start event also features reigning Queensland Trotter of the Year Our Overanova and Melpark Royal Son, the 2016/17 Queensland Trotter of the Year. The Edmunds trio have drawn well with Lavros Jack starting from the inside gate with Any Old Way drawn handy (gate 3) while Spud has landed the inside of the second-line, directly behind his stablemate. Both Lavros Jack and Spud have displayed strong ability since joining the stable; Any Old Way is having his first stable for his new connections. Previously prepared by Brent Lilley, the Sundon gelding gelding boasts a recent placing behind Kyvalley Blur in 1:58.1 for the 2240m distance at TABCORP Park, Melton. Overall, Any Old Way has won 14 of his 84 starts while earning in excess of $140,000. The DJA series starts next Friday with the opening round of heats at Albion Park over the distance of 2647m before switching to the 2138m the following week. The 2647m final is scheduled for December 15. *********************************************************************************************   Young James Herbertson went home a winner after driving Honey Please to victory at Redcliffe on Wednesday night. Born and bred in Queensland, James is the son of respected horseman Ashleigh and Jody Herbertson. The 18yo was enjoying a week’s holiday and catching up with family and friends and landed the drive on the Ray Cross trained trotting mare. Starting favourite, Herbertson gave the Yankee Spider mare a perfect trip and proved too strong at the finish defeating Somedash and No Transactions in the 2280m stand start event. It was the third time the pair has combined for success after scoring at Maryborough and Bendigo earlier this year. “It was a great opportunity to take a few drives during my trip up here and I’m pleased for Ray that the mare performed to the level that I know she is capable of, she’s more than handy.” Herbertson said. The in-demand reinsman returns to Melbourne today and will head to TABCORP Park, Melton tonight to drive the Bill Milner trained Opia in the Blue Pace Trot. In the coming days, he takes drives at Horsham, Bendigo and Echuca. Herberston landed his maiden winner at Terang back in March, 2016 when successful aboard Tearitup for his father Ashleigh. “The family has recently moved farms and we’re mixing the horses with some sheep farming, we currently have around 10 in work. “The best horse that I’ve driven so far is probably Vapar Grin while my winner at Melton (Upanatom) winner was pretty handy too. “My goal is to drive 100 winners in a season while it would be great to drive a metro winner for Dad.” Herberston has driven 15 winners to date this season. *********************************************************************************************   Louth Park trainer Darren Elder is heading to Brisbane for the summer carnival. But unfortunately, his stables Shannonsablast and Bright Energy won’t be making the trip north after succumbing to injury. However, Elder is bringing four pacers north with Sports Bounty, Days End, Hosier Lane and Justarumour. All four pacers are engaged this Saturday night at Albion Park. “The pick of them is Hosier Lane, he went great last start at Menangle and looks well placed this weekend despite a bad draw. We’re happy to support these young drivers and happy to have Deni Roberts driving for us,” Elder said. “Shannonsablast got injured after his last start and is having some time off while Bright Energy was ready to go late last week before sustaining another injury. It was a shame because we have a big opinion of him.” He added. Bright Energy was a winner of the Gr.3 $30,600 Simpson Memorial at Menangle in 1:52.0 last season. The Elder family is chasing a two state double with Ashark starting in the $20,000 Club Menangle Where Horses Fly Final. Prepared by Melanie and driven by Brad (Darren’s children), Ashark is a last start winner at Newcastle.   Chris Barsby

Some of the world’s best young harness racing drivers have arrived in Queensland ahead of the 2018 Garrard’s Australasian Young Driver’s Championship to be staged in Brisbane between Thursday and Saturday. Racing Queensland Harness Strategy and Development Manager David Brick said if last year’s series was anything to go by, the 2018 edition would provide plenty of thrills.  “The drivers from across Australia and New Zealand are not only recognised as the best young talents in harness racing, but as some of the most well-known names in the sport,” he said. “The 10 drivers have amassed a combined 2359 winners and more than $15 million in stakes, despite all being aged under-25.” The series returns to Queensland for a second-straight year where defending champion and Queenslander Narissa McMullen will join cousin and leading Queensland driver Nathan Dawson to try and keep the trophy in the Sunshine State. The points-based series will be determined over nine heats (four at Redcliffe on Thursday, two at Redcliffe on Friday and the final three heats at Albion Park on Saturday) with the leading point-scorer earning themselves glory for their state or country and, a new Rio Mark 2 sulky thanks to major sponsors Garrard’s – long-time supporters of harness racing in Queensland. Mr Brick said the young drivers had again agreed to throw their support behind a charity through the donation of their driver’s fees and raising funds throughout the series. “This year the young drivers will be racing in support of Youngcare,” he said. “The drivers will visit a Youngcare facility to meet some of the residents during their stay in Brisbane and have set a fundraising goal of at least $4000 to help provide appropriate housing for young people with high care needs.” The drivers will be welcomed to Queensland at an opening function at the famous Breakfast Creek Hotel – just steps away from the Albion Park club – on Thursday morning. To follow the series head to www.racingqueensland.com.au or follow Racing Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@racing_qld) or the event Twitter handle @AustralasianYDC               Driver State Drives Wins Places Stakes ($) Narissa McMullen QLD 6139 669 1345 $3,658,885 Deni Roberts   WA 1221 83 243 $697,257 Chris Geary   NSW 3711 501 914 $4,369,376 Nathan Dawson QLD 4688 549 1045 $2,549,854 Jack laugher   TAS 901 74 185 $555,994 Darby McGuigan VIC 1298 135 333 $929,157 Jayden Brewin   SA 1246 154 314 $664,869 Benjamin Butcher NZ (Nth Island) 1374 103 260 $988,218 Sheree Tomlinson NZ (Sth Island) 976 75 145 $840,111 Alicia Harrison   NZ (Nth Island) 128 16 22 $142,387   Racing Queensland

For the second year in a row Queensland will host the Garrard’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship and defending champion Narissa McMullen looks to make it back to back wins. The series, beginning tomorrow (22nd November), showcases 10 of the best junior drivers, one from each state of Australia, one from each New Zealand Island, an overall New Zealand representative, as well as the defending champion. Last year racing enthusiasts saw a nail-biting finish on the concluding night at Albion Park where McMullen went into the final round just 2 points ahead of her nearest rival, New Zealand’s Dylan Ferguson. While McMullen led throughout the race, Ferguson swooped right on the post. A photo finish declared McMullen the 2017 winner and she was presented with a Rio Meter Race Sulky curtesy of Garrard’s. Alongside McMullen, Nathan Dawson represents Queensland in this year’s series. Other drivers are Chris Geary (NSW), Darby McGuigan (VIC), Jayden Brewin (SA), Deni Roberts (WA), Jack Laugher (TAS), Sheree Tomlinson (NZ South Island), Ben Butcher (NZ North Islander) and Alicia Harrison (NZ). The series kicks off tomorrow (Thursday 22nd) at Redcliffe with heats 1-4, followed by heats 5-6 at Redcliffe on Friday night before the series concludes at Albion Park on Saturday night with the final 3 heats. While the series will be very competitive on the track, the drivers will enjoy a number of social outings and activities including visiting the 2018 AYDC Charity partner Youngcare. For the meeting fields and form guide visit http://www.harness.org.au/racing/fields/   Albion Park Harness Racing  

The Queensland summer carnival features now beckon for Lilac Flash. That won’t shock anyone given the recent form of the former New Zealand pacer who made it 8 straight wins on Saturday night at Redcliffe when triumphant in the Comfort Inn Northgate Pace. Lilac Flash has been a revelation since heading across the Tasman Sea; the pint-sized Bettors Delight gelding has now won 12 of his last 15 starts. Since joining the stables of Kylie Rasmussen and Darren Weeks, Lilac Flash has won 12 of his 19 starts in the Sunshine State. But his recent win streak has prompted connections to focus on the upcoming Albion Park features. “We’re considering some of the open class races during the summer carnival, his form is excellent and he deserves his shot for the better prizemoney. No doubt, this will be much harder but his form speaks for itself.” Co-trainer Weeks said. The Gr.3 $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprints kicks off the carnival on December 1 followed by the $20,660 Christmas Cup (December 8) and then the Gr.2 $50,660 Queensland Cup (December 15). The trio of open class features will be raced over the distances of 1660m, 2680m and 2138m. And all distances shouldn’t pose any issues for Lilac Flash. The zippy pacer has already recorded victories at Albion Park at the 1660m and 2138m while he is untried at the 2680m distance. However, he recently scored a comfortable victory at Redcliffe over the 2280m. “He’s still very green and he’s not simple to drive just yet because he’s always running in and out during his races, he’s slowly getting there but he’s not perfect yet. “His speed is obviously his key asset, he just seems to follow pace all day long and then rattle off some quick splits of his own. It will be interesting when he’s forced to follow the higher pressure in the open class races, we think he’ll handle it but it’s an unknown at this stage. “There’s obviously some handy open types running around currently plus there’s talk of some southerners heading up for it so competition will be strong but it will give us a good guide going forward. He’s been a great buy for the stable and it’s still pretty much his first campaign for us so a few more like him will be great.” Lilac Flash was previously prepared by respected south island trainer Tony Stratford in New Zealand. Unraced as a two-year-old, Lilac Flash won two races with 11 minor placings from 20 starts before being sold. Lilac Flash is raced by Darren Wilson.   Chris Barsby

Talented mare The Charging Moa has run her final race in Queensland. The New Zealand bred daughter of Changeover – Special Ops has proven to be a great money-spinner for her connections winning 13 of her 16 races in the Sunshine State. And 11 were recorded at Albion Park. A winner of four Rising Stars Finals at Albion Park, the speedy type recorded a personal best time of 1:53.8 in winning one of her finals. At her most recent start on November 3 at Redcliffe, The Charging Moa finished an unlucky fourth as favourite behind Sweet As in a time of 1:57.4 for the 1780m event. Leading horseperson Kylie Rasmussen was the most recent trainer of the mare where she won 3 of her 8 starts under her tutelage. A talented sit-sprint type, The Charging Moa is headed to Victoria to join the stables of Dean Braun. Ultimately, the mare could end up in North America given the huge success ‘downunder’ mares have experienced over the past twelve months spearheaded by the ex-Braun trainee Shartin among many others. The Charging Moa ranks as a half-sister to Bettor Ops (9 wins - $92k). **********************************************************************   Broodmare Smooth Class achieved a rare result last night (Wednesday). The French Chef mare produced the quinella result in the UBET Pace at Redcliffe when Took Your Time defeated older brother Spondooley. Both pacers are sired by Grinfromeartoear. And both geldings are raced by Perth based owner Tanya Graham and prepared by her highly respected father Wayne. Young gun Leonard Cain took the winning drive behind Took Your Time while Wayne partnered Spondooley. Took Your Time (better known as Fletch) takes his record to 6 wins from 24 starts while Spondooley (aka Nash) has won 21 of his 210 starts. Their combined prizemoney now sits at $168,287. “It was a massive thrill seeing the boys fight out the finish, it didn’t matter who won as long as they both did their best. It’s very satisfying; they provide me with the opportunity to get home as much as I can because they’re my Flight Centre account.” Graham said. Based in Perth, Graham operates the Gloucester Park Garrards Horse & Hound store. The Graham family is synonymous in Queensland harness racing circles after racing the likes of Sparkling Melody, Yahoo Buckaroo, Albert Aralar, Mach Alert and reigning Albion Park Horse of the Year Glenferrie Hood.   ********************************************************************** Former multiple Queensland premiership winner Alan Donohoe is back in town. Based in Victoria for the past decade, Donohoe has returned home and prepares his small team of pacers at Alberton, south of Brisbane. His blue silks with a yellow diamond are very familiar to punters. Venturing to Redcliffe last night (Wednesday) with his first starter since relocating, Donohoe finished as runner-up behind Montana Express aboard race favourite Gunrneedrbigrboat in the Darren Ebert & Co Pace. Donohoe has prepared and won many features in Queensland with the likes of Armada Miss, Grants Law, Penny The Pussycat, Academy Award, Devils Dream, Pocket Battleship and Stratum among many others. His haul of state and metropolitan premierships is very impressive; State Drivers Premiership winner 86/87 90/91 94/95 97/98 98/99   Metro Drivers Premiership winner 90/91 91/92 94/95 95/96 97/98 98/99   Metro Trainers Premiership winner 94/95 95/96 Donohoe never won a State Trainers Premiership. **********************************************************************   A trio of classy mares was back in action earlier this week (Tuesday). Four-year-old mares Lisa Lincoln, Fame Assured and Aqua Miss all lined up in a Redcliffe trial over 1780m and performed as expected. The Melissa Gillies trained Lisa Lincoln led throughout defeating the Grant Dixon duo of Fame Assured and Aqua Miss in the 1780m workout. The winning mile rate was 1:58.3 with sectionals of 31.2, 28.8, 29.5 and 29.2 seconds. With a return to Albion Park imminent, expect to see these mares back in action shortly. ********************************************************************** Star Of Montana has scored himself a summer vacation. The exciting prospect, formerly prepared by legendary Auckland horseman Barry Purdon, has failed to handle the heat and humidity of a scorching Queensland spring. As a result, new trainer Darrel Graham is now left to radically change his upcoming engagements. “He’s basically melted under the Queensland sun; I was happy with the early stage of his preparation but as we got deeper, it got hotter and he hasn’t coped at all. To be fair, it has been very trying weather patterns lately with plenty of storm activity but he’s not worth risking or pushing on with so he’s out until February.” Graham said. The Art Major gelding was being readied for the upcoming Victoria and New South Wales Derby classics early next year but now the ultimate target has become the home town Queensland Derby in the middle of winter. A return trip to Purdon was considered before sending him to the spelling paddock. “I asked Dean (Shannon – owner) if he wanted him to go back to Barry for a shot at some of these bigger races but he wanted him back in the paddock, he believes he will acclimatize in time. “The Queensland winter carnival followed by a trip to Melbourne for the Breeders Crown if his form warrants it is the key focus now; they’re both in cooler conditions which will help. “It’s disappointing because we have a good opinion of him and thought he was up to the standard required to be very competitive in those southern features.” Shannon races talented three-year-old Belle Of Montana, a tidy Alexandra Park winner on debut back on October 26. The Bettors Delight – Lady Cullen filly is likely to head to Brisbane next year in preparation for the Queensland Oaks.   Chris Barsby

A pair of leading stables is eyeing the upcoming Queensland summer carnival. The summer features, to be staged at Albion Park from December 1 through until December 15 has caught the attention of Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy plus Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris. And both stables are likely to bring plenty of talent north of the border. In recent times, both combinations have been frequent visitors to the Sunshine State while success has also followed and consistently. The Queensland summer carnival clashes directly with the famed Inter Dominion series, being staged in Melbourne this year after spending the past three years based in Perth. With many leading stables heading to Melbourne, the Sydney combinations have focused on the Brisbane features. The Cross/McCarthy stable arrives this week and again will be based south of Brisbane at the property of Cristina Monte and Charlie Cini with six horses and the possibility of more to come in the coming weeks. “The carnival looks a good option for a number of our horses and we’re still considering on bringing Mach Doro up for the open class events. We haven’t made a decision about him yet but it’s definitely an option,” McCarthy explained. “We have runners this weekend at Redcliffe and they will remain for the Albion Park carnival. Hopefully, we can make a good start this weekend.” He added. The stable has Young American, Ima Kennedy Two, Blue Moon Rising, Rich Virgin and Living Again starting this Saturday night at the Redcliffe meeting. The Turner/Morris stable are yet to head north as they have confirmed their team but numbers should be strong with at least six to eight shortlisted. Stable favourite Aztec Bromac is likely for the open class events in December. Last year, the American Ideal gelding scored victories in both the Christmas and Queensland Cups. Two starts ago, Aztec Bromac rated a new personal best time of 1:51.6 when successful at TABCORP Park, Menangle. “We’re definitely looking at bringing him up again at this stage, he’s engaged to race again this weekend at Menangle while we’re sorting what races suit some of our team best,” Morris said. “As long as the features are at Albion Park, we’re keen to be part of the action again.” He added. The Queensland summer carnival features over three consecutive Saturday nights include; December 1 – Gr.3 $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprint, $20,660 APHRC Members Cup, December 8 - $20,660 Christmas Cup, $20,660 Forever Gold Mares FFA December 15 – Gr.2 $50,660 Queensland Cup, Gr.2 $40,770 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final, $20,660 C2-C5 Feature & $14,999 King of the Claimers Final Chris Barsby

Aaron Bain is spreading the love. And the early signs are positive. During the recent Albion Park winter carnival, the talented and enthusiastic horseman made the long trek by road from Gawler to Brisbane with stable star Ideal World chasing the riches on offer. While a feature race triumph proved elusive, Ideal World raced with distinction during a number of events including his placing in the Premiers Cup behind star local product, Colt Thirty One. But the trip north proved invaluable for a number of reasons. Based at Glamorganvale (west of Brisbane) with Narissa McMullen, Bain enjoyed his time in the Sunshine State and the way the system works which prompted some serious thinking on his way home. “I like the Queensland assessment system and decided to explore it further and found its another way for owners to gain maximum reward with their horses. So, after careful consideration, I’ve sent two horses up to Narissa.” Bain said. The two horses sent to the care of McMullen were Prince Of Zanzibar and Just Seduce Me. And the latter scored an impressive first-up victory at Albion Park last Friday. The Ohoka Arizona mare overcame a second-line draw to defeat Mammals Magic and Motu Real Style in a time of 1:56.2 to claim the Mr Feelgood @Egmont Park Stud Pace. “We’re thrilled because she’s always been a better front-running type so to score from the back row is an added bonus. Narissa said she was happy with her going into the event and her recent trial was good but until you go out and do it, that’s another matter. “Taking a good time is an added bonus and only adds to her value long term, she’s a lovely big roomy mare with a nice pedigree so it’s a great start to the venture. I felt she reached her mark here in Adelaide but still had plenty left hence the move to Queensland. “I think she can win a few more, hopefully some of those Saturday night mares events are within range. Prince Of Zanzibar is better than what he’s showing presently and I’m sure Narissa can get him sorted in time. “I’ll be sending up another one soon, Hilltop Rose is being considered for a Queensland mission.” Bain also has a number of racehorses based in Melbourne with Alex Ashwood and Kate Hargreaves and they’re also enjoying good success spearheaded by Cresco Park. The talented horseman has prepared four winners for the new season in Adelaide. And stable star Ideal World is set to resume very shortly. The plan of putting the racing team in the best environment is certainly working and looks like paying good dividends.   Chris Barsby

Sparkling Melody, one of the greatest mares Queensland has produced, is returning home. The 2002 Queensland Oaks winner was bred and raced by Ken and Gwen Veivers and prepared throughout her career by Wayne Graham, the daughter of champion sire Fake Left won 29 of her 51 starts while banking more than $290,000 in Stakes. When successful in the Queensland Oaks at Albion Park, she defeated a crack field which included the likes of Oaxaca Lass, Sassy Sarah and Elect To Live among others. The following week, she finished a terrific third in the Queensland Derby. During her three-year-old term, Sparkling Melody won the Gold Coast and Redcliffe Oaks while finishing fourth (4th) in the Australian Oaks at Moonee Valley. Sparkling Melody contested the 2003 Gr.1 Chariots Of Fire at Harold Park and also won the Gr.2 Cranbourne Cup. In 2004, she finished third (3rd) in the Gr.1 Ladyship Mile at Harold Park. Following her retirement, Veivers bred with Sparkling Melody before sending her to Ross Pike in Victoria. Her progeny includes Village Maestro (by Village Jasper), Left Dreaming (by Dream Away), Lively Melody (by Live Or Die) and Jakalija (by Stonebridge Regal). Her last two foalings are colts by Sportswriter and Art Major. But after a number of years spent south, the former star racemare is headed back to the Sunshine State in the coming weeks. Better known as ‘Sarsy’ and now aged 20 - Sparkling Melody is a true Queensland harness racing star!   Chris Barsby

Racing Queensland was saddened to hear the passing of astute horseman John ‘Hollywood’ McMullen early Thursday morning aged 81. McMullen was a skilled trainer/driver before concentrating on breeding his own stock with good success. His silks of red jacket with white sash are fondly remembered during the halcyon days. Based behind Albion Park at Nariel Street since 1978, McMullen was constantly spotted by motorists using Sandgate Road swimming his racing team in the Breakfast Creek. Using a row boat, McMullen felt the training technique of swimming helped his charges in many ways including respiratory while taking pressure off their legs. Occasionally, he would drop the odd crab pot in the creek while undertaking his training regime. His on-track battles at the famed Brisbane raceway with the likes of Kevin Thomas and Darrell Alexander were legendary. McMullen was a pioneer in opening the market to North America. He was nicknamed ‘Hollywood’ owing to his frequent American visits during the 1980’s. McMullen prepared a string of top performers including Viking Reign, Alba Wings, Rameses, Parading, Toliver Bye Bye, Pleasant Fury, Maker Reign, Monty Reign, Sona Fury and Spirit Of Reign among others. Alba Wings won the 1984 Queensland Derby defeating Area Code while Viking Reign finished third behind Another Bart and Rowleyalla in the 1988 Australian Derby. His two sons John Jnr and Chris also followed in their father’s footsteps and have built strong reputations while his grandchildren Peter, Narissa, Dannielle and Taleah all currently drive. Only last season, Peter landed the Albion Park Metropolitan Drivers Premiership. McMullen built very strong friendships with many visiting horseman including the legendary Graeme Lang and Brian Hancock (Mr Inter Dominion). The funeral will take place next Wednesday (September 26) at the Holy Cross Catholic Church on 28 Chalk Street, Lutwyche commencing at 1pm. A celebration of life will follow at Albion Park.   Harness Racing Australia

Pint-sized pacer One Off continues to defy the believers. The former New Zealand pacer was bought for a ‘song’ after failing to win a race his native country but has turned his fortunes right around since arriving in Queensland. Leading owner Greg Mitchell took a punt on the McArdle – Jay Bee’s Gem gelding and placed him with his trainer, leading horseman Grant Dixon. Mitchell enjoyed good success with another of McArdle progeny several seasons ago, Only The Brave (28 wins - $268k) Since being based in the Sunshine State, One Off has never tasted defeat after winning a trial and then three racetrack triumphs. One Off scored a stylish victory in his Queensland debut when successful at Redcliffe on September 6 before conquering the Marburg to Albion Park heat/final series. Starting as a clear favourite despite an awkward second-line draw, One Off ($2.10) sat at the rear of the field before unleashing a powerful sprint with 500m left to run. In the end, he scored by a widening margin of 13.9m while rating 1:58.8 for the 2138m event. “He’s been a real surprise package for the stable, even after his trial victory I didn’t have any lofty ambitions for him but he’s continued to improve and strengthen each time we’ve taken him to the races. Obviously the pace was on but he let down nicely when I called on him going down the back straight, he’s headed in the right direction and will win more races.” Dixon said. But future plans remain unclear and Dixon is now scanning the calendar and weighing up his options. However, nothing is set in concrete at this stage. “Hopefully, we can find and target a few more of these heat/final series and keep him progressing through his grades at a nice rate. Like I said, he’s got some nice upside to him. “I like his versatility, in his three starts he’s proven he can race and adapt quickly so that’s a good thing going forward. “We’ll reassess the race and keep looking at what comes up but there aren’t really any solid plans.” Meanwhile, the Dixon/Mitchell combination struck in the Remembering Speed Ace Open Pace when Alleluia made it four straight victories. Backing-up from Monday, the Art Major gelding landed perfect one out/one back cover and proved too good in the straight holding out Bodhi Tree and Ohoka Punter in a time of 1:54.0. The perennial performer has claimed the current title as the best open class performer in the state given his recent form surge. “He’s a great old performer and his win streak is very satisfying, we’ve changed his work routine around and it’s obviously working while the track is a little softer at present and that’s playing a role. “We’ll just keep ticking him along but we’re likely to nominate for the Inter Dominion series given his current form.” The 2018 Inter Dominion series starts on December 1 and will be staged in Victoria this year. Chris Barsby

Jack Butler has made another flyer to the new season. Fresh from another century season during the 2017/18 term, his third straight, the former Bathurst horseman has jumped out of the blocks quickly and currently leads the way in the Sunshine State. Boasting 11 victories from his 34 starters to date, Butler is hungry to reach triple figures again. Butler has tallied seasons of 110, 119 and 111; he is now firmly established in the top bracket of trainers in Queensland. And he has a number of good chances again this weekend. Butler will take a team of 7 pacers to Albion Park this Saturday night. “If I was to nominate my best chance I would have to say Mandy Kriden, the mare is absolutely flying at presently and looks well suited against her opposition this weekend. Her past three wins have been really impressive in different ways so I’m confident she’ll race well again.” Butler said. Based at Logan Village on the south side of Brisbane, Butler has severely cut numbers with the change in season and is now working a team of 25. At one point last season, the numbers swelled to over 40. A season highlight last season was evergreen performer Markey Oh Markey taking the $20,630 Flashing Red Handicap at Albion Park; the stable stalwart is a last start winner and lines up in the Remembering Speed Ace Open this weekend. Markey Oh Markey takes on the likes of Ohoka Punter, Bodhi Tree, Glenferrie Hood and Alleluia in the 1660m event. “He’s a great old performer and he’s back in good form again, this week looks a lot tougher but he’s drawn the rail and can fill a place. When he won the Flashing Red, it was a great feeling because he’s been part of the stable ever since we made the permanent move up here. “The century probably took a little longer and was a little harder compared to previous seasons but we got there in the end and it’s very satisfying. Tara (wife) and Chloe (daughter) play such an integral part of my success while having Brendan (Barnes – driver) back is great because I believe in his ability. “I’m looking forward to the season ahead, it will be a challenge again and hopefully we can generate some new clients and stock and keep building on what we achieved so far. Chloe is likely to make her driving debut at some point this season which will be exciting, here’s hoping for another century.” Butler enjoyed good success with pacers and trotters last season and has a number of new trotters in his care. Chris Barsby

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