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Moonbi trainer Dean Chapple will look to take Beautiful Stranger to the Narrabri Easter Monday harness racing meeting after the filly broke through for an impressive win at Armidale last Friday. At the three-year old’s eighth race start, Beautiful Stranger made a three-wide run around the final turn to go on and conquer the field down the home straight for a 2.8m win over Million Dollar Mac (Michael Grima). Cronin (Mitch Faulkner) was a metre away third. “It has been a big week for her,” Chapple said. “She went really good at Maitland on Monday and she backed up again at Armidale.” Beautiful Stranger came into the 1980m event at Armidale after finishing second to Que Sera from the Clayton Harmey stables at the Maitland meeting. While Cronin led the field at Armidale, Chapple was biding his time towards the rear of the field. “We drove her with a cold sit and the way the race panned out I was pretty confident a long way out,” he said.  “It is a bit hard to make ground on this track but to her credit she made up the ground and got to the line well.” Beautiful Stranger has only had four race starts for the Chapple stables and is raced by Sam Judge. “She has come to me to win a race or two,” Chapple said. “She has only missed one cheque and I really like the filly.” “We will wait to see what the future brings - she has only had a handful of starts and races very well. The connections in Sydney are happy to be patient with her.” Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Maddison Simon has accumulated some nice statistics in her short driving career and last Friday at the Armidale harness racing meeting added another. The reinswoman celebrated her first career driving double at the meeting when she piloted Itz Platinum Plus and Dark Side to a win for her grandfather Len Simon who handles the training of the two pacers. “I didn’t think I would have a double so it was good - I wasn’t expecting it at all – it was just a big surprise and I like surprises,” Simon said after the days racing. Only commencing her driving career back in January, Simon has had 25 career drives with the results board displaying four wins, three seconds and two third. She opened her account in the first race of the day when Itz Platinum Plus took out the Top Pub Uralla Pace. “The little fella deserves to win it – he hasn’t had a win in a while,” she said. “He has been racing good.” “I didn’t think I had it (the win) but it turns out I did.” In a close finish Itz Platinum Plus held on for a head win over the fast finishing Olympic Wonder (Anthony Varga) with race favourite Groovy Miss Annie 1.2m away third. Itz Platinum Plus paid $13.60 for the win with the gelding recording his first win since March 2016 at Narrabri. The second win of the day for Simon came courtesy of stablemate Dark Side in the Kelly’s Transport Armidale/Supa Moto New England/Landmark Armidale Pace. “He (Dark Side) felt good in the race - I just knew he was going to do something good by the way he felt,” she said. After racing three back in the outside running line Simon shuffled Dark Side to race four wide around the final turn. “I was ready to accept a placing in the finish but he was keeping up with the others around that final turn so I knew it was all good,” she said. Dark Side went on for a 2.7m win over a fast finishing Alyeska Dream (Tom Ison) with Maz (Sam Ison) 4.6m away third. The gelding also produced his first win for his owner Maureen Simon – Maddison’s grandmother. The Armidale meeting did have a little bit of a “match play” between Maddison and her mentor and grandfather Len, when they were pitted against each other in the Grazag Armidale Pace. Maddison had accepted the drive behind Alartmicksue who she drove for a win last start at Narrabri while Len was assigned to his pacer Mammals Rockstar. “Hope we can have a bit of competition and see who comes out the better,” joked Maddison before the race. She gained the bragging rights when Alartmicksue finished sixth and Mammals Rockstar ninth. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Armidale Express

Armidale Harness Racing Club will stage a six-race TAB meeting on Friday afternoon. It is a meeting made up of plenty of local runners as well as 11 runners from the Weidemann stables, with Julie and Lola handling the reins for that stable. The Weidemann girls never stop, with Julie Weidemann now also training a galloper by the name of Noble Billy, who she owns.  The horse placed third at Toowoomba last week at its first start back from a spell. Meanwhile, Julie’s niece Stacey Weidemann is now entrenched in harness racing.  She has a trainer’s licence and had her first winner, at Albion Park, on February  She races Buckhorn Exchange in partnership with Sky Racing broadcaster Anthony Collins.    Fast action: Maddi Simon wins at Narrabri with Alartmicksue who she will link up again with at Armidale meeting.    THE Narrabri meeting last Sunday was a lead in to the club’s upcoming Carnival of Cups TAB meeting on Easter Monday. Maddi Simon kept the honours list going for the local young guns when the 16-year-old had her second career win. She drove Inverell pacer Alartmicksue to victory for Inverell Harness Racing Club president Rod Miller.  Maddi has retained the drive behind Alartmicksue at the Armidale meeting on Friday. The Narrabri meeting had seven races, with three winners going to female drivers. THE Narrabri meeting also saw a visit from the Bathurst father and son combination of Chris and Anthony Frisby.  The pair had a winning double with Uncle Peter and Our Uncle Alan. The horse will return to the Easter Monday Narrabri meeting to contest both the Santos Narrabri Cup and the John Dean Memorial. “It’s always great to come up here to Narrabri and support the club as much as we can and get a winner for sure,” Anthony said. He spoke after his first win of the day behind Uncle Peter.  “We will come back up to Narrabri to see if we can get the bickies again.” Uncle Benjamin won the Luke McGrath Farriers Services John Dean Memorial for Chris and Anthony Frisby in March 2013.  So they are keen to pick up another trophy in the feature. MOONBI pacer Shadow Dealer was in his element at last week’s Dubbo meeting. The Wayne Gray-trained-and-driven gelding dictated the terms of the race out in front. It went on to win by four metres over race favourite Studleigh Stride.  The win came on the back of the gelding’s win at Inverell. It then came second to Rocknlachlan in the $10,000 Golden Horse Shoe at Armidale. Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

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

“She looked too good on paper,” was the response from Maitland harness racing reinsman Guy Chapple when he returned to scale with Last Party after taking out the Missile Bill Barraclough Memorial at Armidale on Sunday. “I have only had one drive here at Armidale before and that was a lot of years ago,” Chapple added. Last Party commenced as race favourite in the tribute race to one of the club’s late stalwarts – Bill Barraclough. “A lap to go I thought, Let’s get out of here,” said Chapple, who after racing in the one-by-one, with Limousine Livia (Lola Weidemann) leading the field, elected to make his race move as the bell sounded for the final lap. “She is a class mare and Aaron had marked this race for her a while ago,” he said, in regards to the mare’s trainer Aaron Goadsby. “She [Lets Party] had a couple of quite trials. We worked her last Sunday and she worked super so we thought she would be too good today.” Last Party is trained at Singleton Heights by Aaron Goadsby who has given the four-year-old Bettors Delight mare nine starts for five wins and a placing. The race was not without drama, with Capital Cullect (Chris Shepherdson) scratched at the start due to causing two false starts. “She [Last Party] is pretty laid back, like the trainer and driver – everything was sweet,” Chapple joked. Last Party, who was resuming from a spell, went on for a 33.9 metre win over Million Dollar Mac (Brad Elder), with Our Joshy Boy (Nathan Dawson) another 15 metres away in third.  “She has won five races now and the last one was a free-for-all race at Dubbo, so she has got a bit of a future,” Chapple said. Goadsby was “relieved’ when the race was over and the mare was back to the stables. “We had a little bit of pressure going into the race with the gig as the trophy, but she went how we felt she would go,” Goadsby said. It may have been only the second trip to Armidale for Chapple but Goadsby he was a newcomer to racing there. “I didn’t know where I was going,” Goadsby said. “I have never been up here myself, but it’s good to get a win.” By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Armidale will showcase a nine-race harness racing program this Sunday with three features – the $10,000 Armidale Cup, the $10,000 Golden Horse Shoe for three-year-olds and the Bill Barraclough Memorial. The latter will have a Missile Gig as the trophy. Ultimate Art – a 2016 Inter-Dominion contender – is returning to Armidale from the Michael Formosa stables after a winning effort last year, as is Strathlachlan Andy from the Geoff Harding stables. Both have scored the visitors draw in the $10,000 Roberts and Morrow Chartered Accountants Armidale Cup. The Ducats Earthmoving Armidale Golden Horse Shoe Three-Year-old will once again see quality, with Queensland pacer Courageous Leo looking for five wins on the trot, while Hunter Valley pacer Rocknlachlan will look for back-to-back wins. Or we will we see the local pacer Shadow Dealer from the Wayne Gray stables at Moonbi take home the title in the $10,000 race? NATHAN Dawson starred at last week’s Inverell meeting when the Queensland reinsman drove four winners  – giving him a total of seven winning drives for the week. Dawson is about to travel to Armidale to contest the Paceway for the first time when he takes five drives. So can he emulate his Inverell success?  The first race at Armidale on Sunday is 12.55pm.   BATHURST Harness Racing Club are gearing up for their big Gold Crown Carnival. It is nice to see that Peter and Marie Neil have been announced as the Gold Crown Honourees for 2018. You have seen many of their horses racing around the North West, with the name of Shannon appearing in each of their racehorse’s names. THE Teal Appeal wraps up this Sunday, with the Armidale meeting being the last event we will see teal trousers worn by the reinswomen for another year. It has been a great fundraiser for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, with $30,000 raised in NSW. Every winning reinswomen donated $200 donated from Harness Racing NSW to the cause. There will be plenty of teal at the Armidale meeting, with teal trousers to appear in 24 drives.  At Inverell, Sarah Rushbrook had her second win in teal trousers, while Sydney-based reinswoman Maddi Young gained her first win in teal at Inverell. Up until last Tuesday, there had been 74 wins by the ladies, including 10 on North West tracks – including one at Tamworth where the ladies finished 1,2,3. Harness racing at Narrabri on March 18.  By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

After clocking up some kilometres this harness racing season Uralla trainer Mitch Faulkner is pleased to have a race meeting only 20 minutes drive from his home base. Faulkner will have two runners engaged in the Smith Sharpe & Abbott Chartered Accountants 3YO Pace at Sunday’s Armidale Harness Racing Club meeting. So far this season, Faulkner has had runners compete at Menangle, Bathurst, Newcastle and Canberra as well as supporting the local meetings in the North West. “It is good to see the two meetings at Armidale – it doesn’t happen enough for us,” Faulkner said. Monterei Bay has drawn the five barrier in the 1980m event with Faulkner electing to take the reins himself behind the Bettor's Delight gelding, who previously undertook his racing in Victoria before coming to the Uralla stables in February. “He trialled on Tuesday night at Tamworth and won easy – hopefully he can put it together in the race,” Faulkner said of the gelding, who has had 14 starts for six placings, but as yet no wins. For owners Jeff Dawson and Theresa Evans it is a welcome return to the sport. “Jeff and Theresa have been out of the game for a little while – they raced Under The Elms – but we found this horse for them about six weeks ago,” Faulkner said. “Hopefully the horse can put it together and we will give him a start in the $10,000 Golden Horseshoe next week.” Faulkner has engaged the services of Queensland reinsman Ricky Gordon to take the drive behind stablemate Ryabby, who will start from the 11 barrier. “He is just coming back from a spell – hopefully he will get around alright this week and he will be ready for the Golden Horseshoe as well,” he said of the Mr Feelgood gelding. Faulkner is in for a late night on Saturday night with Yellow Taxi contesting the Sky Racing Pace at Newcastle’s night meeting.   “He has been going alright and he had a tough run at Inverell last start,” he said. Sunday’s eight race meeting will precede the big Carnival of Cups meeting the following Sunday, which will feature four $10,000 races including the time honoured Golden Horseshoe for three year olds and the Armidale Cup. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of the Northern Daily Leader

The Armidale Harness Racing Club host their “lead in” meeting this Sunday afternoon with an eight race program followed by the big Carnival of Cups meeting the following Sunday (27th). For Tamworth trainer Tony Missen he is aiming for back to back wins when Samuel Thomas fronts up in the Top Pub Uralla Pace on Sunday after taking out the Video Ezy Narrabri Cup the previous Sunday. In what was regarded as a “bloody good drive” by Maitland reinsman Josh Osborn and it certainly paid into the favour of five year old gelding Samuel Thomas to take out the $8,000 Video Ezy Narrabri Cup. Samuel Thomas is raced by Trevor Buckingham. “It was a good run” said Osborn when he returned to scale. “We held the lead and then a bit of pressure came so we handed up and it turned out to be the winning move so we pinched it” added Osborn after the win. “I was hoping to get the lead and no pressure but it was always a thought that we would have to hand up” Taking the lead from the number one barrier Samuel Thomas soon encountered Pepperall (Stacie Weidemann) racing on his outside. As the field turned into the home straight on the first occasion Dubbo pacer Koloura Gold (Bruce McKinnon) also made a challenge for the lead and joined Pepperall out in front. Osborn then saw himself on the leaders back and was thinking what is “Plan B” “I knew he was travelling good enough and had to sort of push out but as soon as he (Samuel Thomas) got clear he was going". "I think we had the race won at the top of the straight”. Samuel Thomas made his “split” from the field as they rounded the last turn into the home straight with Osborn extricating the Dawn Of A New Day-Gifted Armbro gelding from behind Pepperall. “I have driven the horse before and always thought he was better in front but he did get a bit of work today - it was well worth the trip” “It is only the second time I have been to Narrabri and that would be my first winner here” said Osborn. Tony Missen, who trains out of Tamworth has had plenty of winners on Narrabri and won the North West Trainers premiership last season and it looks as if he is headed in the same direction this season but was jovial about winning a Narrabri Cup. “I think I won a Narrabri Cup in the last Century” joked Missen “Swatilight might have won it in the mid 90’s but I’m not sure” added Missen. “The win is very exciting” said Missen “Josh is one of the leading drivers at Newcastle so he knows what he is doing” “When Trevor Buckingham brought the horse he said set him for the Golden Guitar at Tamworth but that didn’t work but he is coming good now” Samuel Thomas had a 1.3 metre win over Idle Hands which is trained by Missen’s son Dean Germon and was driven by Madi Young with Pepperall a neck away third for the Weidemann’s. With a 2160 metre journey a mile rate of 2.00.6 was recorded. Julie Maughan

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