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IN welcoming news for owners and trainers Harness Racing New South Wales has announced a $20,000 Cups Bonus for Sydney’s upcoming Carnival of Cups doubleheader at Penrith and Bankstown. The bonus will be eligible to owners and trainers of horses that race in both the Renshaw Cup and Treuer Memorial, two time-honoured raced on the NSW harness racing calendar. The first leg of the HRNSW Cups Bonus will take place with the Group 2 Renshaw Cup at Penrith on Thursday April 18. Carrying prizemoney of $50,000 plus the additional bonus will be enticing according to Penrith Paceway chief executive Lorraine Pozza. “This $20,000 Bonus is an excellent incentive for owners and trainers,” Pozza said. “It brings the two races together to make for some great racing and it gives connections of those horses a fantastic opportunity to race for good money at this time of the year.” The second leg of the HRNSW Cups Bonus will be at Bankstown on Friday April 26 with the $65,000 Treuer Memorial. Bankstown Harness Racing Club President Les Bentley is optimistic of the bonus and also that this Group 2 has increased in stakes from last year. “It’s great that both Bankstown and Penrith Clubs can jointly promote these races through the generosity of Rod Smith and his Board at HRNSW with this Bonus,” Bentley said. “With the feature races only being a week a part, this Bonus should be able to attract horses from all over. “It is the Club’s long-term goal to take the Treuer Memorial back to Group 1 status.” The $20,000 HRNSW Bonus will be split with $12,000 going to the owner/s and $8,000 to the trainer of the horse with the most points after the two features. A horse must race in both the Renshaw Cup and Treuer Memorial to be eligible with points starting from 10 for first working back a point per finishing position.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HRNSW

The 2019 Gold Crown harness racing Carnival at Bathurst delivered like no other. It was the first time in history the three-year-old legs were lifted to Group 1 status, giving last night's Grand Final night four Group 1 races worth $100,000 each. And the class in horseflesh certainly delivered to match this prestige. The fairer sex kicked off the first of the Group 1 Finals with the Craig Cross-trained No Win No Feed winning the Yirribee Stud Gold Bracelet Final. By A Rocknroll Dance and out of the Art Major mare Designer Rose, No Win No Feed gave reinsman Todd McCarthy his second win on Gold Crown night after he won last year's Gold Chalice Final with Lifeonthebeach. No Win No Feed led throughout rating 1:55.5. "I was surprised how quick she left the arm," said McCarthy. "I put the foot down when her main rival got close and that was the telling move." The next Group 1 Final was the Apsley View Estate Gold Tiara that was won by Michelle Lee Mac. The daughter of Bettors Delight and Duets gave trainer Kerry McDowell her first Group1 success and gave veteran reinsman Colin McDowell his second success in the race after winning the inaugural edition in 1987 with Loves A Dance. "We had plenty of luck at the top of the lane," Colin McDowell said following the race. "She is a very good filly and have always had a good opinion of her." The two Group 1 Finals for the boys went to Victoria. Classy three-year-old Lochinvar Art was too strong in the Gold Chalice Final clocking 1:54.5 with David Moran in the sulky. The colt overcame the tricky draw of inside the second row and a mid-race move won the race. "I had to put him into the race when I did," said Moran. "He gives 100 per cent every time he goes around. "We will aim him at the Breeders Challenge series now." The action did not stop there, with promising two-year-old Jilliby Nitro making a statement with his decisive win in the Tooheys New Gold Crown Final. Driven by Jason Lee, the Bettors Delight/Kiewa Valley colt set a new race record when leading throughout and clocking a scintillating 1:53.8. "He copped a fair bit of mid-race pressure and stuck to his guns well in the run to the line," said Lee. "We will aim him at the Australian Pacing Gold now." For the full results from this Bathurst Gold Crown click on this link. AMANDA RANDO

A GROUP 1 dream has come true for young reinsman Nathan Xuereb. The 22-year-old has booked not only his first Group 1 drive but two at Bathurst’s Gold Crown Carnival tomorrow night. Having recently achieved the feat of driving 100 winners, this season is certainly becoming one Xuereb will cherish for a long time. “It’s very exciting to have two Group 1 drives,” Xuereb said. “This is something everyone aspires to and to not only get one but two horses qualify for Group 1 races is a dream come true.” Xuereb’s first taste of Group 1 driving will come when he partners Bella Clare in the Gold Bracelet Final. The filly is trained by Xuereb’s father Michael and has drawn barrier one for the feature. “She is a lovely filly that had to do more work in her heat than what I wanted her to do . . . I was still happy with her fourth-placed effort, she wasn’t beaten far,” Xuereb said. “This week it’s a different story, she has the draw and she won’t have to do any work. “They will definitely know she is there. “I just brought her in from the paddock and she is feeling pretty well within herself.” Xuereb will have his next Group 1 drive a race later when he drives the Katie McGill-trained Katalytic in the Gold Tiara Final. Also giving McGill her first Group 1 starter as a trainer, Katalytic has drawn barrier seven for the $100,000 test. “The draw hasn’t made it easy for her but she goes well and truly deserves her place in the Final,” Xuereb said. “I’ll have to drive her quiet and if the speed is on, she will definitely be thereabouts.” Before Xuereb heads across the Blue Mountains again, the Londonderry-based horseman will drive for his father at Penrith tonight who has Sams Cam (5) and Redbelly Jack (6) engaged in race five. Xuereb will drive Sams Cam while Josh Gallagher has been nominated to drive the latter. Xuereb trains a handful of horses with his father whilst also working as a farrier for big stables including that of Craig Cross. “I was very fortunate that Craig put me on as a farrier at a young age,” Xuereb said. “I have been fortunate enough to shoe great horses like For A Reason, Bling It On and Mach Doro. “I’ve had a lot of glory shoeing horses like that and when Bling It On won the Hunter Cup it gave me a huge thrill, just as much if I drove him to win the race. “I love what I do.”   Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government. HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT: AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  arando@hrnsw.com.au •  @Amanda_Rando

TOP class pacer Ultimate Art has run his last race. Connections of the Group 1 winner, who is affectionately known as Thomas, decided it was time to pull the plug on his harness racing career after his lust for racing had deteriorated. Trainer Michael Formosa was hoping for one last win with his stallion at Bathurst this Saturday night but the Ellalong mentor scratched the nine-year-old out of the Smooth Satin Cup. “I was hoping to go out with a win but in this grade he’s in it’s hard to find an easy race,” said Formosa. “He hasn’t really been interested in racing so I decided this morning (Wednesday) to not keep pushing him. “I never really imagined he would have over 100 starts . . . for a stallion to have that many starts and not go amiss is a massive effort.” Ultimate Art will bow out of racing with a record of 38 wins and 33 placings in 117 starts. The son of Modern Art began racing at the age of two and has retired from the racetrack at the age of nine. Ultimate Art gave a lot to the Formosa family including their first Group 1 victory when he won the Bathurst Gold Crown as a two-year-old in 2012. Wins in both the Breeders Challenge Final as a four-year-old and a heat of the Inter Dominion in 2015 were also highlights.  “Each of his wins meant something to us but that first Group 1 win was big for us,” said Formosa. “We didn’t really enjoy it as much as we should have at the time though . . . we were offered $120,000 for him before the race and we knocked it back. “We had a mortgage at the time and it put a lot of pressure on us. “In the end we made the right decision.” So much so, Ultimate Art went on to pocket $621,996 in stakes after being purchased for a mere sum.  “We bought him from the Australian Pacing Gold Sale for $7,000,” said Formosa. “It was the first year we went to the sales to by horses for ourselves, we were on a tight budget so we didn’t look at the expensive breeds like the Art Major’s. “We had $15,000 to spend and we saw him (Ultimate Art) and he was such a magnificent looking horse we thought he would go for more than our budget would allow. “When we got him for $7,000 we thought we’ve missed something with this horse, something must be wrong.” Ultimate Art will now spend his days in the paddock as a father. The son of Modern Art has already served eight mares with Formosa hopping to increase this in the next season.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

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

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

TALENTED pacer Ignatius will have to face another wide draw in Saturday night's Group 1 Cordina Chicken Farms Chariots Of Fire at Menangle. The James Rattray trained and driven pacer has faced wide barrier draws in his two qualifying races and has landed barrier nine for the four-year-old feature. Ignatius was forced to do it the tough way outside the leader to win last Saturday night's Paleface Adios Stakes, beating Chase Auckland in a mile rate of 1:50.2. The winner of the Chariots Of Fire will receive an automatic invitation to the $1million Miracle Mile on March 2. The Chariots Of Fire barrier draw was conducted in the Harness Racing New South Wales office as a random barrier draw performed by HRNSW executive management.   Chariots Of Fire - GROUP 1 (1609m) 1 Chase Auckland 2 Picard 3 Royal Gamble (EM1) 4 All U Need Is Faith 5 The Black Prince 6 Boyd Writer 7 Rackemup Tigerpie 8 Poster Boy 9 Ignatius 10 Hail Christian 11 Jack Farthing (EM2) 12 Ashley Locaz   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES  

DEFENDING champion Majordan has opened as the favourite for Friday night’s Group 1 AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile.  The Kevin Pizzuto-trained pacer is the $1.80 elect with TAB Fixed Odds over stablemate Picard at $2.20. Both pacers have drawn beside each other with Majordan in three and Picard in four. Driver Chris Geary is pleased with Majordan’s starting position. “It’s really good, he comes out of barrier two with the removal of the first emergency so hopefully he can push forward and be handy,” said Geary. “It looks a pretty suitable race for him.” Majordan set the track record at Newcastle when winning last year’s Newcastle Mile clocking 1:51.4. This edition of the Newcastle Mile received a major prizemoney boost and will carry a purse of $100,000 making it the only Group 1 race in the Hunter Region in all three racing codes. The winner will also receive an automatic invitation to the $1million Miracle Mile on March 2. AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile – GROUP 1 (1609m) 1   Little Rascal 2   Yayas Hot Spot (EM1) 3   Majordan 4   Picard 5   Loorrim Creek 6   Maximan 7   Rakarolla 8   Lombo Kotakinabalu (EM2) 9   Mattgregor 10            Ultimate Art     AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  arando@hrnsw.com.au •  @Amanda_Rando

The barrier draw for this Saturday night’s harness racing Group 2 Paleface Adios Stakes at Menangle has been finalised (see below). The first four placed horses will qualify for the $200,000 Group 1 Cordina Chicken Farms Chariots Of Fire on February 16. Those horses will join pacers Picard, Ashley Locaz, Hail Christian and The Black Prince which finished first to fourth, respectively, in last Saturday night’s Group 2 Hondo Grattan Stakes at Menangle to earn their spot in the 2019 Chariots Of Fire. Meanwhile, Victorian pacer Poster Boy earned an invitation to the lucrative four-year-old feature when taking out the Bonanza at Melton on January 26. The balance of the Chariots Of Fire field will be selected from finishing positions in the Paleface Adios and Hondo Grattan Stakes. In the event of a ballot, this season’s prizemoney will determine final positon, and if the same, then fastest time from qualifier. The winner of the Chariots of Fire will be invited to contest the 2019 $1million Miracle Mile at Menangle on March 2. PALEFACE ADIOS STAKES – GROUP 2 (1609m) Rackemup Tigerpie Chase Auckland Mackeral Cowboys N Indians (EM2) Jack Farthing Little Peanut Franco Landry Royal Gamble All U Need Is Faith Ignatius Spankem Boyd Writer (EM1) AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  arando@hrnsw.com.au •  @Amanda_Rando

LAUREN Tritton sat behind the fastest three-year-old pacer to ever grace a track in Australasia just recently. And now the top reinswoman is excited to see what Muscle Factory can produce against some of the nation’s best at Ballarat on Saturday night. Muscle Factory set a southern hemisphere record when clocking 1:49.6 in the Simpson Memorial at Menangle a fortnight ago. And on Saturday night south of the border the colt faces his next challenge in a heat of the Victoria Derby. “I’m really excited to see what Muscle can do against the best of them,” said Tritton. “It’s hard not to declare a horse that just won in 1:49. “I’m not worried about the smaller track either as we saw what he did at Albion Park.” However, there is an element Tritton is concerned about. “It is the hardest heat but we’ve drawn accordingly,” said Tritton. “It’s still going to be tough facing the locals on their home turf . . . some of those horses have been raised on that track their whole life so they have that advantage.” Some of those dangers include Lochinvar Art and Australian Pacing Gold winner Centenario. Meanwhile, the $1.65 TAB Fixed Odds favourite is the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained Im Another Masterpiece. Tritton does not have to face the powerful Purdon/Rasmussen combination in her other Victoria Derby heat with Petes Big Jim. The gelding is a $15 chance behind the $2.50 elect Max Delight and the Menangle Park horsewoman is full of praise of her drive’s latest effort at his local track. Petes Big Jim finished fourth to Muscle Factory in the scintillating Simpson Memorial. “He went into that race 50/50 after being sore and tender on his feet and he is only a little horse but has a heart of gold to push through and go as well as he did,” said Tritton. “He went 1:50 himself and I’ll drive him conservative now as he steps up with the big boys.” ‘Team Tritton’ will be represented on home soil at Menangle on Saturday night as well with seven runners nominated. This includes Tritton’s two recent Inter Dominion campaigners My Alpha Rock and Maximan. “Maximan and Alpha are super since the trip to Victoria,” said Tritton. “We private trialled them around Menangle and they worked the mile in 1:51. “It’s not easy for them coming back to racing in that grade but we are happy with how they have come back after their campaign.” Tritton trains her team of horses with her husband Shane Tritton and they have trained 264 winners since starting their partnership in the 2016/17 season.   Some fun facts: Mile Records – Australasian: http://www.harness.org.au/hra/annual/public/records/ausn_milep.pdf HRA’s Milestones – Pacers http://www.harness.org.au/hra/annual/public/records/mstonesp.pdf   Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) is the controlling body for harness racing in New South Wales with responsibility for commercial and regulatory management of the industry including 33 racing clubs across the State.  HRNSW is headed by a Board of Directors and is independent of Government. HRNSW MEDIA CONTACT: AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

EARLY tactics will be vital in tonight’s Group 2 Simpson Memorial at Menangle according to reinswoman Lauren Tritton. The premiership winning driver is taking the reins behind the $1.33 TAB Fixed Odds favourite Muscle Factory and drawing barrier one with the colt has not made the situation any easier Tritton admitted. “It’s an awkward barrier for him as he does have early speed but for his whole two-year-old season we drove him with handbrakes on early and just drove him out easy to stay out of trouble,” said Tritton. “This draw won’t allow us to do that and this is a pretty fast front line.” One rival Tritton will have her eyes on early is Victorian visitor Lochinvar Art. The colt is the only other starter in single figure odds at $4.20 and will begin from outside the front line. “It will be interesting to see what they do with him early and it will be interesting to see Muscle Factory and Lochinvar Art race each other again,” said Tritton. “Muscles is tough whereas Lochinvar Art has a quick last half in him. “Lochinvar Art has been running some ridiculous sectionals in Victoria and just drawn where he has, you would expect that they will have to put him into the race at some stage.” Muscle Factory and Lochinvar Art clashed in the Breeders Challenge Final last June with the pair finishing third and second respectively. Lochinvar Art has had two starts this season for a win and a second while Muscle Factory is first up from a spell. “We couldn’t have him any better,” said Tritton. “He went super winning his trial and there has been some good form come out of that trial too.” Meanwhile, Tritton’s other two starters have already raced this season. This includes Petes Big Jim which finished sixth at Menangle on December 18. “He got himself beat last start over-racing, pulling outside the leader which is not his go,” said Tritton. “He is the fastest two-year-old out of the gate that I’ve ever driven so should be suited by his draw.” Tritton’s other starter is Petes Said So. “He has blistering early speed as well,” said Tritton. “He is the highest assessed horse in the race so deserves his spot in the field.” Petes Said So will be driven by Lachie Manzelmann while Josh Aiken has obtained the drive on Petes Big Jim.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

WITH an unbeaten record since racing in his care trainer-driver Blake Fitzpatrick could not be happier with the progress of Rollin With Holly. The three-year-old has had two starts with Fitzpatrick and the filly has pleasantly surprised him each run. “She’s improving quite a bit,” said Fitzpatrick. “She is not an overly flash track-worker so her two runs have surprised me. “She’s always been a nice type and we’re just really happy with how she is progressing.” Rollin With Holly will face the starter for the third time in Fitzpatrick’s care at Penrith tonight. This race is another stepping stone towards a big preparation connections have earmarked for the daughter of Roll With Joe. “She has a busy year ahead,” said Fitzpatrick. “She will race in next week’s Raith Memorial at Menangle and the New South Wales Oaks will be her main aim at this stage.” Rollin With Holly has had 13 starts for five wins and four placings. For her immediate task, Rollin With Holly has drawn barrier four in tonight’s TAB Rewards Pace (1720m) with Fitzpatrick in the sulky. “She should be hard to beat,” said Fitzpatrick. The Cawdor horseman has three other starters nominated tonight starting with Urban Girl in race three. Having also won her last two starts, Fitzpatrick believes tonight’s assignment has its challenges. “She’s an improver but drawn barrier 10 over the mile at Penrith is never easy,” said Fitzpatrick. In the following event, Fitzpatrick has last start winner Burning Rubber drawn barrier four over the 2125m. “He’s a very consistent horse and is in this race with a claim with Jason Grimson driving and looks a good chance again,” said Fitzpatrick. Another good draw has Fitzpatrick optimistic about his other runner’s chance – Clarry in race five. The pacer has drawn barrier three over the 1720m. “He’s going well again and has a strong chance from the draw,” said Fitzpatrick. Clarry won for Fitzpatrick two starts ago at Penrith. The victory added to the strong season Fitzpatrick has experienced so far. With 17 wins to his credit as a trainer and 13 wins as a driver for the term, Fitzpatrick is on track to experiencing stronger results than last season. Overall, Fitzpatrick is one of the most successful drivers in New South Wales having steered 1870 winners. As a trainer he boasts 614 victories to his credit.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

WITH the goal of driving 100 winners before he turns 18 reinsman Will Rixon could achieve that. The Sydney driver has driven 99 winners so far and will celebrate his milestone Birthday tomorrow. “It’s always been a long goal of mine to drive 100 winners before I turn 18 so we’ll have to wait and see what happens,” said Rixon. With five drives on the seven-race card at Penrith tonight, Rixon is hoping he can breakthrough to the centurion ranks in the opening race. Rixon has been assigned the drive on the James Rando-trained Southbound Train. “I’m pretty confident in Southbound train,” said Rixon. “He can do things wrong but goes well when he puts it all together and he has found a suitable race.” If Southbound Train is not the one to catapult Rixon to his century then the young driver believes his next best chance is De Santa Anna in race three. “De Santa Anna should run a good race,” said Rixon. “Fingers crossed.” And if Rixon’s win does not happen tonight, he has booked five drives at Bankstown tomorrow night. It will be a big week Rixon as he has also landed his first Group drive in Saturday night’s Inter City Pace Final at Maitland’s TAB Carnival of Cups meeting. “It’s exciting that I got the call to drive Pocket Of Terror in the Final,” said Rixon. “I missed out on driving him a few weeks ago at Newcastle because I was stuck in traffic and I didn’t get to drive him in the Inter City Pace heat last week because I was suspended. “I watched his run and he looked impressive winning his heat.” Pocket Of Terror is the $4 TAB Fixed Odds second favourite in the feature with the Kevin Pizzuto-trained Persimon the $2.60 elect. “Drawing barrier one would have been better but barrier two is the next best,” said Rixon. “It’s good to draw inside the main dangers. “It’s a strong race with a few winning chances . . . Kevin Pizzuto’s horse was impressive in his heat, Ashark copped a lot of heat and didn’t have the race run to suit but still won his heat well, you have to respect Benalong Valley from barrier one and The Bus off the back line goes well too.” The 56th Inter City Pace Final is scheduled for 9:45pm this Saturday.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

IT was an exciting night last Wednesday for trainer - driver partnership Mat and Gemma Rue with pacer Fouroeight winning at his first start back from an injury after almost 18 months between runs. Trained by Gemma and driven by her husband Mat, the six-year-old gelding proved too strong for his rivals sitting outside the leader for the majority of the race and running away to score comfortably in a final quarter of 27.3 seconds. Winning the Group 3 Gold Chalice Final in 2016 and running fourth in the Group 1 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Colts and Geldings Final as a three-year-old Fouroeight looked to have a promising career ahead of him. “We’ve always had a high opinion of him and we knew he would mature and get better with age,” Gemma said. After only finishing 6.7 metres off of the winner in the Group 1 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Four-Year-Old Entires and Geldings Final last year the gelding went for a well-deserved spell. Unfortunately, just before he was ready to return to racing Fouroeight injured himself in the paddock resulting in a fractured pelvis and tailbone which meant seven months’ recovery with no guarantee of him returning to the racetrack. “We spoke to many people about horses who have broken their pelvis, some make it back and some just don’t,” Gemma said. “We were lucky, but even with the all clear we were still unsure as to how he would cope due to his size. “After a slow preparation back to the track everything looks to be perfect and he seems to be better than ever”. Fouroeight is set to step out in the Group 2 Kriden Park Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst’s TAB Carnival of Cups meeting this Wednesday and has drawn barrier one. “The distance (2790 metres) will be a task but with a good run on the fence he could definitely be in the money.”   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

LEADING reinsman Chris Geary became the youngest driver in New South Wales to reach 500 winners. The 20-year-old has piloted 508 winners overall and achieved the 500-milestone last month. He is the second youngest driver to achieve the feat in Australia with Queensland’s Pete McMullen claiming the top honour at the age of 20 and three months while Geary was 20 years and 10 months old. “It’s something pretty special for me, more so that I’ve never really been the number one driver for a large stable,” said Geary. “In saying that, I’ve had great support from many stables and hope it continues into the future.” Geary has driven Group winners and won some of Australasia’s biggest races since he began driving in November 2013, including the Gold Tiara and the Len Smith Mile. It took him five drives to land his first winner and that was Western Gailes at Bankstown on December 7, 2013. “I’ve been fortunate to have been associated with some nice horses like My Sweetchilliphilly, Cruz Bromac, The Black Prince, Miss Streisand and many others,” said Geary. “But I’ve always really enjoyed the driving trips that I have been lucky enough to go on, meeting new people and travelling around Australia.” Geary will represent NSW in the upcoming Australasian Young Drivers Series that takes place in Queensland from November 22. As for NSW records, Lauren Tritton is the youngest female driver to reach 500 winners. Others such as Luke McCarthy, Amanda Turnbull, Robert Morris and Blake Fitzpatrick also sit amongst the top 10 youngest drivers in Australia when they reached the 500-win milestone.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER  HRNSW

HARNESS Racing New South Wales have developed a drought assistance scheme for trainers state-wide which comes into effect today (November 1). The scheme will see NSW licenced trainers receive $17.50 per starter each week to assist in the increased price of feed due to the drought. This will cover all horses drawn in fields, including emergencies, as well as starters in trials drawn into fields by HRNSW Handicappers. Payments will be made to trainers through the stakes run on a fortnightly basis. This assistance package will continue through until January 31 and will then be reviewed by the HRNSW Board. NEED TO KNOW: HRNSW will pay NSW licenced trainers $17.50 per horse per week based on horses drawn in fields (including emergencies) and starters in trials based only on horses nominated through HRNSW Handicappers. For sake of clarity a horse will be subsidised only once per week (Sunday to Saturday) not for multiple races and/or trials during that period. The assistance commences from November 1 through to January 31. There is no application required for this assistance. For more information, watch the latest Trots TV Drought Assistance Update.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

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