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Evergreen pacer Bettors Fire looks a certainty to celebrate his 100th start in style by proving too fast and strong for his seven rivals in the $25,000 Princi Smallgoods Free Range Salami Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He drew the No. 1 barrier and trainer Kyle Harper looks certain to make use of the nine-year-old’s sparkling gate speed and attempt an all-the-way victory. Owner Frank Ranaldi declared after Bettors Fire’s stylish come-from-behind win over 2536m last Friday night that the New Zealand-bred gelding was the best horse he has raced. And that was high praise indeed, considering that Ranaldi raced wonderful pacers Classic Garry and Admiral’s Avenue. Classic Garry and Admiral’s Avenue were successful in Group 1 feature events, whereas Bettors Fire has not been able to record a victory in a Group 1 feature event. Classic Garry’s 16 West Australian wins (14 at Gloucester Park) included the 1983 Group 1 Golden Nugget (beating Wondai’s Mate and Preux Chevalier) and the 1983 Mount Eden Mile when he defeated Sinn Fein and Garry John in 1.56.6, a race record. Classic Garry also became Australia’s first sub-1.55 performer when, as a four-year-old in March 1983, he sped over a mile in 1.54.9. In the late 80s Ranaldi campaigned with Classic Garry in America where the stallion won races and contested a World Cup series at the Meadowlands. Admiral’s Avenue earned $439,482 from 32 wins and 30 placings from 130 starts. He won the group 1 WA Pacing Cup in January 2000, beating The Accelerator and Saab, and a month later won a 2540m heat of the Inter Dominion championship at Moonee Valley. The level of prizemoney has risen substantially since then and Bettors Fire boasts a splendid record of 99 starts for 38 wins and 22 placings for stakes of $772,029. He was sold to Ranaldi after winning at 11 of his 30 New Zealand starts for his breeders Jim and Susan Wakefield. Bettors Fire’s 69 starts for Ranaldi and Harper in Western Australia have produced 27 wins and 15 placings. The gelding has not been successful in a Group 1 event, but has been wonderfully consistent and his wins include five in Group 2 events and three in Group 3 races. In last Friday night’s 2536m event, Harper restrained Bettors Fire from the No. 6 barrier and the gelding raced in seventh position for almost two laps before being sent forward, three wide, at the bell. Bettors Fire burst to the front with 500m to travel and he covered the final quarters in 27.5sec. and 28.5sec. to win by a metre from the strong-finishing Tommy Be Good, with The Bucket List running on from fifth (on the pegs) at the bell to be third. This week Bettors Fire appears certain to set the pace, with none of his rivals able to seriously challenge him for the early lead. Tommy Be Good, placed at five of his past six starts, should enjoy a perfect passage behind the pacemaker and looks a strong place prospect, with Shandale, Galactic Star and The Bucket List fighting it out for a minor placing. Ken Casellas

There isn’t a lot prominent harness racing owner Robert Watson hasn’t achieved in the sport, but this weekend he, and two of his star pacers, have quite a mountain to climb this weekend. On Friday night, Watson’s up-and-coming two-year-old Franco Edward will look to secure his first Group 1 win in the Pearl Classic Final (2130m) at Gloucester Park. On Saturday night, Soho Tribeca begins his campaign aimed towards the Len Smith Mile and Blacks A Fake Championship in the Italian Cup (2240m) at Melton. After the races are run and won, Watson boards a flight to South Africa for a fortnight where he will climb Mount Kilimanjaro. “I like challenging myself,” Watson said of his reasoning behind climbing the 5,895m mountain. “It’s an eight day trek up the mountain, and it’s minus 20 at the top of the mountain. “I’ll then explore Tanzania for another four days.” Watson’s trip to South Africa means he will miss Soho Tribeca’s run in the Len Smith Mile on July 1, while he has the chance to be crowned the Grand Circuit Champion if he wins the Blacks A Fake Championship on July 21. The WA Pacing Cup champion will be seen on the track for the first time since March 24 on Saturday night, where he starts from the outside of the second row in the $20,000 Italian Cup. Watson said he expected Soho Tribeca, now under the care of Mick Stanley, to win on Saturday night, and also expected him to be very competitive in Queensland. “He’s back, he’s really good,” he said. “He won’t be at his top, but we do expect him to win. “We want him to peak in Queensland.” Although the three start campaign in Queensland is at the front of Watson’s mind for Soho Tribeca, plans for a trip to the New Zealand Cup in November are well and truly underway. Soho Tribeca took part in a standing start trial earlier this week, as he looks to qualify for the New Zealand Cup, with Watson looking to win a Group 1 in New Zealand with the pacer to boost his stallion credentials. On the other side of the Nullarbor, Watson’s hopes of winning the Pearl Classic on Friday night at Gloucester Park received a significant boost when Franco Edward drew barrier one for the two-year-old feature. Franco Edward was, arguably, the most impressive of the three heat winners for the Pearl Classic last Tuesday night. Franco Edward has been installed as a $1.50 TABtouch favourite for the $100,000 event, ahead of the two other heat winners from last Tuesday night Bletchley Park ($3.20) and Shockwave ($10). Watson said while he did think Franco Edward would feature prominently in the finish, he was full of praise for this year’s group of two-year-olds. “It’s the best crop of two-year-olds I’ve seen race at Gloucester Park,” he said. “I’ve been in the Pearl before, and generally there’s only one smart horse in there. “This year there’s Its Rock And Roll, Smart Fortune, Shockwave, The Embezzler, Bitcoin, Bletchley Park and Franco Edward. “Those seven on the front line are all extremely good.” Watson said he hoped trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper would be able to hold up with Franco Edward from gate one. “Leading is half of the battle at Gloucester Park,” he said. “Hopefully we will hold up from the one. “He has got a lot of diversity though, he can race tough or on the speed.” Watson also has star two-year-old filly Soho Nolita, a sister to Soho Tribeca engaged in heats of the Vicbred series next week. The Pearl Classic Final gets underway at 7.20pm on Friday night.   Tim Walker

HARNESS Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an inquiry today into a report received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory that meloxicam had been detected in the blood sample taken from CORRINYAH CONMAN following its win in race 5, the HUTCHEON & PEARCE PACE (2000m) at Temora on Friday 9 March 2018. The “B” sample was confirmed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) in Victoria. Mr Hillier appeared at the inquiry and presented evidence in relation to his registered training establishment, his husbandry practices and the horse CORRINYAH CONMAN.  Evidence including the Reports of Analysis and expert evidence from HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian Dr Martin Wainscott was also presented. Mr Hillier pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 190 (1), (2) & (4) for presenting CORRINYAH CONMAN to race not free of a prohibited substance. Mr Hillier was disqualified for a period of 12 months to commence immediately. Mr Hillier also pleaded guilty to a charge pursuant to AHRR 190B for failing to keep and maintain a log book. Mr Hillier was fined $500. In considering penalty Stewards were mindful of the following: This was Mr Hillier’s second Prohibited Substance offence for which a penalty was imposed- there was also previous HRV arsenic matter for which no penalty was imposed by the RAD Board; Mr Hillier’s guilty plea; Circumstances of this matter; Class 3 Prohibited Substance; Mr Hillier’s offence record, training record and other personal subjective facts. Acting under the provisions of Rule 195, CORRINYAH CONMAN was disqualified from the abovementioned race. Mr Hillier was advised of his right to appeal these decisions.   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. To arrange an interview or for further information please contact: MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRANT ADAMS | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gadams@hrnsw.com.au     Harnesslink Media

Here comes Hector. At a time the sport is crying our for big names to replace the likes of Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Bling It On, Heaven Rocks and others, Hectorjayjay’s comeback is huge. And it’s happening very soon. New trainer-driver Gavin Lang has pin-pointed the $20,000 Popular Alm Sprint at Kilmore on June 30 as the comeback race. It will be Hectorjayjay’s first start since going amiss in a suspensory ligament after his breathtaking Group 1 Blacks A Fake win at Albion Park in July, last year. Lang confirmed the return race after Hectorjayjay turned plenty of heads with second trial win in as many weeks. It was Melton yesterday where Hectorjayjay came from last to win and privately clocked with a 54.7sec last half. He beat classy rivals like Major Secret, Philadelphia Man, Three Ways and Tee Cee Bee Macray with a devastating blast of speed around the field. “Really, he went 54.7sec? I didn’t feel that quick. He did it so easily. He felt terrific,” Lang said. More importantly, he came through the trial in great fashion. “He was in the top paddock running around having fun with the kangaroos later that night,” Lang said. “He’s ready to race now. Kilmore looks suitable. It’s a sprint race and the timing is right. Around the same the time the Group 1 Len Smith Mile is run at Menangle, which means the likes of Soho Tribeca will be there instead of Victoria. “I know this horse has won a Len Smith before, but they go 1min48sec miles or quicker up there and he doesn’t need that first-up from a year out,” he said. “I’d like to get a couple of runs under his belt and hope he comes through them well before I look at anything bigger.” The dream of a Blacks A Fake defence at Albion Park on July 21 is alive, but Lang is coy. “A horse with his history, especially a suspensory issue, needs to be taking one race at a time. I’m just thinking about getting him to Kilmore and getting through that well,” he said.   Adam Hamilton

The Queensland Derby plan remains in place.   Former New Zealand three-year-old Duplicated kept his unbeaten Australian record intact following a breathtaking victory at Cranbourne in the Woodlands Stud Heat Pace last week (Thursday).   The Dean Braun trained gelding obliterated the all aged track record when rating 1:55.8 for the 2080m event.   He posted sectionals of 30.4, 30.2, 28.2 and 28 seconds. With the winning margin posted officially at 34.5 metres, it could’ve easily been further if driver Nathan Jack chased him along or even pulled the ear plugs.   Duplicated will start this Saturday night at TABCORP Park, Melton in the $10,000 Nicola Pace Final and will again start a clear favourite after landing gate two in the 2240m event.   “That was pretty awesome last week because it wasn’t a good night weather wise and he definitely wasn’t full tilt given his plugs didn’t get popped. He’s got amazing speed and he’s very strong, the trip to Brisbane for the Queensland Derby next month is looking good.” Braun said.   Following three starts for Braun after being purchased from the All Stars stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen in Christchurch, Duplicated is shaping as one of the finds of the season with many features still to come.   The Queensland winter carnival is the obvious target followed by the Australasian Breeders Crown in August.   And given his heightening powers still rising, a trip west at the end of the year for the rich Perth four-year-old features at Gloucester Park is another possibility.   Braun is no stranger to success in Perth with feature race victories including the Gr.1 $125,000 McInerney Classic with Chancellor Cullen (2012) and Chilli Palmer (2013) plus the Gr.1 $125,000 Westral Mares Classic in 2015 with Nike Franco.   “He was purchased with the Queensland Derby as a primary target and things are progressing well, we’ll reassess things after he starts again this weekend.   “I’m happy, Nathan is happy and most importantly, the horse is happy so here’s hoping for a strong winter campaign. There’s no doubt that local star Colt Thirty One is the horse to beat in Brisbane.”   At this stage, Duplicated won’t start again after this weekend before heading north.   Interestingly, Nike Franco and Shartin, both graduates of the Braun stable will clash this weekend at Mohawk in Canada in the $370,000 Rose Are Red.   The mares feature is part of the undercard of the North America Cup program.   Both Nike Franco and Shartin enjoyed tremendous success with Braun and both previously won the Queensland Oaks.   Chris Barsby

Gippsland trotting trainers have enjoyed a great start to the month, with the prospect of more success at next weekend's Warragul meeting. There were three local wins at Geelong on June 5 - Drouin West horseman Gary Quinlan won two races with Rocknroll Pearl and Professor Tom, while three-year-old trotter Sovereign Minx scored her maiden win on the same night for Trafalgar trainer Chris Hunter. At Cranbourne last Thursday night, Warragul horsewoman Jenni Lewis produced Miss Intense to win the final race on the program, while Cranbourne trainer Michael Hughes was also a winner earlier in the night with Bettor Beau. At Kilmore last Tuesday night Feel The Rhythm backed up her recent good form to score her third victory, giving further success to the Chris Hunter barn. And at Melton on Wednesday afternoon (today), Gary Quinlan produced another double, with two-year-old Sahara Tiger, and three-year-old Roll With Rocky, which, like stablemate Professor Tom, is raced by local owner Grant Rathjen. The Sunday, June 24 race meeting at Warragul features the $10,000 Ken Miller Memorial, and the $10,000 Traralgon Pacing Cup, with strong local entries expected in both of these races and the support card. Kyle Galley

Four short years ago Novak Djokovic was the undisputed king of world tennis, Barack Obama was presiding over the United States with a sense of quiet equanimity and Chris Lang was the ruling regent of southern hemisphere squaregaiting. Sadly for ‘The Joker’ dominance has made way for deterioration as he no longer occupies a place in the ATP top-20 while Obama’s diplomacy has been usurped by Donald Trump’s tweet-first-think-later approach to leading the world’s pre-eminent superpower. But what of Lang; whatever did become of Australasia’s one-time trotting kingpin? Just days ago the answer to that question – that he was part of a maintenance crew working on the Bellarine Peninsula specifically focussing on Curlewis Golf Course – would have been known by few. But while that may have been true just moments ago, now it seems one of harness racing’s most charismatic figures is re-joining the fray in a very big way. Before we examine the future however, let’s revisit the past. Having owned Australia’s squaregaiting scene for what felt like an eternity with horses like Sundons Gift and Let Me Thru among others, Lang declared, on the Breeders Crown weekend of 2014 if you don’t mind, that he was moving on. After several life-threatening health scares Lang was now being cruelled by a multitude of autoimmune diseases including Scleroderma, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Reynaud’s Syndrome, all of which were conspiring to make the business of training horses tougher than deemed tolerable. On advice from Physicians – who branded his range of ailments as Overlapped Connective Tissue Disease – Lang made the heartbreaking but pragmatic decision to give the game away. Time with family followed as Chris and wife Sharon moved from Aldebaran Park in Nagambie to the outskirts of Geelong. With the same dedication he had displayed during a brilliant career as both conditioner and reinsman, Lang sought to overcome the illnesses which had waylaid his world. Three years and 10 months later Lang has learnt to manage more than maul the maladies which saw his exit from the sport. But now it’s time to get back in the game he’s made his life. “It might sound a bit mischevious to a few people but the break I had was only ever meant to be a  hiatus; I never really thought I was retiring for good,” Lang said. “When I walked away I was doing so on advice from doctors and I can honestly say I believed I’d find a way to get on top of the Reynaud’s Syndrome which is a circulatory disease that badly affected my hands. “At the end of the day I tried my best and it’s no better but also no worse and there comes a time where you have to ask yourself whether you want to twiddle your thumbs doing something you’re not passionate about or have a crack at doing what you really love. “Don’t get me wrong, I am hugely appreciative of Lindsay Sharp who owns the Flying Brick Cider Company among other things for giving me a gig when I needed one. “The boys on site had no idea what I did when I first turned up and when I told them they started calling me the washed up jockey but they were a great bunch of people and I’ll miss them all, everyone bar the mechanic. “Seriously though, the time had come to give racing another chance and nothing has been taken lightly. It’s something I’m excited about for sure.” Having explored options in New South Wales and Queensland since committing his mind to a comeback more than four months ago, an opportunity to stay in Victoria materialised and from there the decision was made. There are still some formalities to be taken care of and some red tape to deal with but for all intents and purposes the king is back in his castle and once again searching for his throne. “Even when I was looking around at other states and what they had to offer nothing could compare with Victoria and the place we’re buying at Riddells Creek is totally perfect in every way. “It’s just part of my personality that I need to be where the action is and I need to be competing with the best. “Don’t worry I’m circumspect enough to know I’ll be starting small and that’s the way I want it but with the support of people like Richard Matthews and Jim Connelly among others I’ll get my opportunities. “Just being part of the game again and developing a small team will be enormous fun but I also don’t want to punch around the periphery for too long either. “I already have plans to implement some ideas I never had the time or energy to tinker with before I left the game; the fire is in the belly and that is what you need. “The Inter Dominion’s back and baby so am I.”   Jason Bonnington for Trots Media

There were two State of Origin events to choose from, for Bathurst district followers on Wednesday evening. Most opted for the comfort of the lounge room and the television, to watch the Rugby League version taking place at the MCG ; only the participants, plus a small band of owners and true-blue diehards, fronted up for the nine-race program at Gold Crown Paceway. The final four races of the night were for maiden two-year-olds, and with preference given to NSW Breeders Challenge-eligible juveniles, there was an added state-of-origin feel to the meeting. All four races, in fact, were taken out by the NSW-bred youngsters. Mat Rue won the two fillies events, the Peter Bullock-trained Merci Shannon producing a brilliant sprint to overpower her five rivals and, two races later, Soundslikeart (trained by his wife Gemma) taking the sprint lane home to a narrow victory. The two-year-old double completed a driving treble on the night for Rue, after an earlier all-the-way win  in a 2260 metres C3 with the Dennis Picker-trained Rave On Rabbits. That Rabbitohs race name, and the sets of green and red racing colours he wore with it and later with Merci Shannon, added to the unmistakeable footie feeling of the meeting. The colts and geldings divisions were taken out by Jake Davis with Nifty Studleigh, trained by his dad Leigh, and Lord Denzel for another son/father combination in Doug and Bernie Hewitt. Both powered home from back in the field for convincing wins. For Doug Hewitt, the win completed a driving double at the book-ends of the meeting, after a win by Trunkey Digger in C1 grade,  a race that set the pattern of close finishes for the night, with a wall of horses across the track. And for Bernie it completed a training treble, his other winner coming in the second event, a 3YO sprint, where Cobbity Chic (Blake Hewitt) got up in the last stride for that narrowest of margins, a short half-head. The other winners mid-meeting were El Gran Senor NZ ( Nathan Turnbull for Steve) in the fast-class, producing a sub-1:56 last half for a brillant win, and Modern Attitude in a C1 sprint, with Dennis Picker bringing the half-brother to Intrude through in the sprint lane for a narrow but impressive victory. The six successful drivers all selected the Blues as the winners of that MCG event, with three prizes subsequently needed for Blake Hewitt, Nathan Turnbull and Dennis Picker, who each correctly nominated a winning margin of 10 points. And the domination of the Bathurst young guns over their older, more experienced, rivals appropriately matched the win of those NSW debutants against the more battle-hardened Maroons. To complete the analogy, four of those drivers have very strong footballing pedigrees: Doug Hewitt is currently the captain-coach of the Bathurst Panthers in the Group 10 Premier League; Blake Hewitt plays for the Panthers, and has previously represented NSW Country; Dennis Picker previously played for the Raiders and the Bathurst Panthers, while Jake Davis represented the Panthers and Western Division before switching recently to Rugby Union. There mightn’t have been “quite” eighty-seven thousand at Gold Crown Paceway this week but it’s fair to say that, as with the other event south of the border, footie was the winner. TERRY NEIL

Longtime harness enthusiast Don Lee is glad he changed his mind when attending the 2017 South Australian yearling sales. “I looked at the catalogue and liked one of the lots offered by Peter Olds, but on sale day, changed my mind when I saw an All Speed Hanover colt,” Lee said. “I had to go to $7000 but picked him up. “I got my daughter Sharon and her partner Anthony Duffy to join me in the ownership and hence the name Shardonant.” At Globe Derby on Saturday, Shardonant came from last to win the $15,000 2018 SA BOTRA Sales Graduate Classic final (1800m). Trained and driven by Michael Norman, the two-year-old, a $9.60 chance, scored a thrilling short half head win over the heavily backed Jenesaisquoi ($2.70) with Scenic Rise ($6.20), 2-1/2 metres away third. Shardonant put up a big performance to win giving away a start of about 50 metres to Jenesaisquoi with 1200 metres to travel. Driver Wayne Hill sent the Jill Neilson-trained Jenesaisquoi forward from gate four and had an early battle before securing the lead from Cheddars Treasure which pushed through from gate one. Hill was confident in his two-year-old’s ability and recorded a 62.8 first half of the last mile and Norman, who had come from gate six, went back to last but had no help with any runners carrying him up to the leader. Norman pulled Shardonant wide with 600 metres to travel and the gelding improved quickly to catch up to the leader coming off the back after a 30.1 second third quarter and drew level with Jenesaisquoi on straightening and the pair staged a two-horse dual up the home straight. “He’s a nice horse,” Norman said. “He has a good turn of pace and I’m sure with age he will get stronger. “He took himself up to the leader when I came wide down the back straight and at the 400 metre mark I thought he could win as the leader was under pressure. However, it was battle up the straight and he was in for the fight.” Norman said he would give Shardonant an easy time before preparing him for the Southern Cross series in July. Lee praised the trainer and his family. “We gave Michael the horse to break in and decided to leave it with him. Michael, Vicki and Kristen have done a wonderful job and tonight is reward for all their hard work.” Graham Fischer

Brady Woods decision to interrupt his Australian Kelpie Muster holiday in Victoria paid dividends when he sealed the 6ty° Youngbloods Challenge in Launceston on Sunday night. Brady led the six-heat Series by eight points over Samantha Gangell going into the final night of heats but it didn’t take long for the Series to take a major twist. Samantha Gangell stormed into contention lifting outsider Streetside Classic into second place behind the Shelley Barnes-trained Lead Singer, driven by Wade Rattray in Heat five to close the gap in the Series to just a solitary point as Brady laboured into sixth place on Keep Playing. With the pressure well and truly on the two combatants lined up aboard two of the top fancies, Usain Jolt (Brady) and Zhukov Leis (Samantha) in heat six. Hannah Van dongen, went into the final Heat with a sneaky chance of pulling off the Youngbloods Title and duly fired the Christian Salter-trained pacer Metro Star to the lead. Brady settled Usain Jolt back third last with his main danger Samantha behind him at the tail with Zhukov Leis, the Series leader made his move on the $2.20 favourite in the run to the bell and was up chasing the leader at the 800-metre pole, Gangell surged Zhukov Leis forward but it was painfully obvious turning into the back straight she faced a forlorn task of outpointing Woods in the final lap. Metro Star always looked to have enough up its sleeve in the run to the post to hold Usain Jolt with Zhukov Leis left lamenting back in fifth place. Hannah’s win not only lifted her into third place in the final standing’s of the Youngbloods Challenge but also catapulted the youngster to the top of the Leading Female Drivers Premiership with nine wins for the season. 6ty° Youngbloods Challenge Final points: 58 pts – Brady Woods 51 pts – Samantha Gangell 48 pts – Hannah Van dongen “I’m rapt to have won the Youngbloods Challenge, even though I had planned my trip to the Muster a long time ago I would never pass up the opportunity to win such a prestigious Series as the Youngbloods, I’ve had a few cracks at it and this was my last chance so I’m very happy to finally get the job done,” said Brady. “It’s a great Series and gives all up and coming drivers the opportunity to experience the pressure of a Series, a big thanks must go to all the trainers who support the Challenge every year and 6ty° for their sponsorship every year.” Shane Yates

Luke McCarthy knew the time had come.  As he drove Bling It On back off the Menangle track last night (Saturday), he knew it was the last time the superstar pacer would contest a race.  It was Bling It On’s 86th and final race start. A staggering 49 of them were at Group level.  He retires with 45 wins, 20 placings and earnings of $1,656,656.  “He went to this race as a D-day. He needed to go really well to continue on and he didn’t,” McCarthy said. “We made excuses for him first-up and then trialled quite well, but he didn’t do enough last time. It’s the right time to retire him.  “The timing works well actually. The breeding season isn’t far away. He served 130 mares when he was at stud recovering from his injuries last year and hopefully he can get another 100 mares or so this year to give him a chance to make an impact as a stallion.”  McCarthy quickly declared the 2017 Hunter Cup as Bling It On’s greatest moment on the track.  “That was the most special to me, but there were so many others. His Queensland Derby win, that Breeders Crown win as a two-year-old and that Gold Coast Cup where he won and smashed the track record,” he said.  “He was such a great horse from day one and just about all of his runs were against top opposition.”  McCarthy was proudest of how Bling It On recovered from horrific injuries sustained in a fall at Albion Park on June 17, 2017.  “I still look back at the photos of the injuries to his knees and wonder how he made it back to the races,” McCarthy said.  “To think he came back and won his first three starts and went 1min50.8sec in one of them, which was his career-best.  “You can only marvel when a horse can comeback from that and still be so good.  “I’m really looking forward to seeing the impact he make at stud. He’s from such a great family with Baby Bling and now Bletchley Park along as a few others. He’s got everything going for him.”   Adam Hamilton

Some of the biggest names in Australian harness step-out at the Melton trials on Tuesday.  Leading the way is sidelined superstar Hectorjayjay, who hasn’t raced since winning the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park almost 11 months ago.  Hectorjayjay looked sharp winning a Geelong trial last Monday and could head back to the races if he impresses new trainer-driver Gavin Lang on Tuesday.  Some of the other big names set to trial on Tuesday include WA Cup winner Soho Tribeca, NSW Derby winner Poster Boy, Australian Gold 2YO winner Centenario and former Grad Circuit star Philadelphia Man. ______________________________________________________________________________________   The already lucrative Queensland Winter Carnival just became even more attractive for Kiwi raiders.  There are four Group 1 races across 10 weeks and more than $1.1 million up for grabs.  Now you can throw in another $120,000 in bonuses across the biggest races thanks for Ubet (the Queensland TAB).  The Ubet bonuses are: $50,000 Ubet Grand Slam bonus – for any horse who can win the Sunshine Sprint (July 14) and Blacks A Fake (July 21) double $15,000 Ubet Slam bonus – to the connections of any horse who can place in both the Blacks A Fake and Sunshine Sprint … or win one and place in the other. $20,000 Ubet Trainers’ Slam Bonus – available to any trainer who wins two or more of the following feature races: Queensland Derby, Blacks A Fake, Queensland Oaks, Queensland Trotters’ Cup ______________________________________________________________________________________   Kiwi filly Sociable looks set to be a key player in that Queensland Carnival after her easy all-the-way Redcliffe Oaks win last Friday night.  John Caldow took the reins for trainer Andrew Stuart and buzzed Sociable out of gate four to find the front, dictate the terms and win easily by 5.1m from local glamour pair Fame Assured and Aqua Miss in a 1min59.5sec mile rate for 2040m.  Aqua Miss was the run of the race after coming from the back to sit parked around the tight Redcliffe track.  Driver Gary Whittaker and trainer Bill Crosby teamed-up with six-year-old Constantly Sideways to win the $30,540 Group 3 Redcliffe Cup from former Kiwi pacer Alleluia. ______________________________________________________________________________________   There was some nice symmetry to the fact WA juvenile Bletchley Park brilliant won two races in the space of three days last week.  Bletchley Park is a brother to Bling It On – by Americal Ideal out of Alldatglittersisgold – and the Gloucester Park wins last Tuesday and Friday nights came in the week Bling It On was retired after racing at Menangle last night.  Trainer Mike Reed declared Bletchley Park “a bit special” before he raced and his four starts for three wins and a second suggest he’s on the money.  Last Friday night the colt sparkled with a 1min53.6sec mile rate for 1730m to win by 12.2m and dash home in splits of 56.7 and 28.5sec. ______________________________________________________________________________________ Emma Stewart’s feature race dominance continued at Melton last Friday night when she snared the quinella in the Group 3 Alabar Silver Chalice.  With nominal favourite Carlas Pixel scratched, buzz mare Tell Me Tales started and hot favourite and was simply too good for her improving stablemate Flying Moth in a 1min55.3sec mile rate for 2240m.  Chris Alford drove Tell Me Tales, one of his staggering five wins on the card. He also teamed with trainer Chris Svanosio and Anywhere Hugo to win the Group 2 Holmfield 3YO Trot.  Former Kiwi pair Sonya Smith and Anthony Butt combined to win the free-for-all with the emerging Moonrock, who led throughout in a 1min54.6sec mile rate for 2240m.  Australia’s best mare Ameretto could only manage fourth after trying to outsprint them from last in a leader dominated affair. ______________________________________________________________________________________   Gavin Lang’s re-emergence as a training force continued when improving trotter Save Our Pennys upstaged a good field to win the Group 3 Bendigo Trotters’ Cup last night.  Lang opted to trail the leader Any Old Way while favourite Tough Monarch sat parked and Save Our Pennys zipped home too quickly to win well.  Lang is up to 15 horses in training, headed by comeback superstar Hectorjayjay.  The other buzz winner at Bendigo was the untapped three-year-old Bonus Play, who is trained by Bruce Morgan and John Caldow took the reins.  Bonus Play galloped on debut and lost all chance, but could not have been more impressive winning all three runs since and looks feature race material. ______________________________________________________________________________________   Former Kiwi pacer Celestial Arden snared his biggest win so far when he thrashed a good open-class field in the Group 3 JD Watts Memorial at Menangle last night.  And, just for good measure, he blazed a scorching 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2300m to win by 12m over rejuvenated veteran Ultimate Art with the in-form Match In Heaven third.  The biggest talking point of the race was the below par run of former Hunter Cup winner Bling It On, who ran ninth and was subsequently retired from racing to resume his stud duties.  Also at Menangle, owner-breeders Emilio and Mary Rosati landed another feature win when their two-year-old trotting filly Emerald Stride gapped her rivals in the Group 3 Foundation final.  She won by 38m and trotted the 2300m in a 2min2.5sec mile rate.   Adam Hamitlon

Brady Woods flies back into Tasmania this morning in a bid to clinch the 6ty° Youngbloods Challenge tonight in Launceston. Woods currently sits comfortably atop the Youngbloods Leaderboard eight points clear of Samantha Gangell and 11 in front of Hannah Van dongen. “I’ve been at the Australian Kelpie Muster here in Casterton in Victoria since Thursday, so I’m catching a flight early Sunday morning and coming back Monday morning to grab the ute, it’s a holiday I’ve had planned for a long time so I didn’t want to miss it but as it’s turned out I couldn’t miss the chance of winning the Youngbloods either, that’s an opportunity I might never have again,” acknowledged Brady. Woods stormed to the lead in the prestigious Tasmanian Junior Drivers Challenge after steering the Tony Peterson-trained Usain Jolt to victory in Heat four on Sunday night in Hobart. “It was great to be able to win for Tony as he used to drive horses for my grandfather back in the day so helping to get Usain Jolt over the line was like my way of paying him back for all his great drives for our family and I hope to do it again for him tonight,” said Brady. As fate would have it Brady has drawn to partner Usain Jolt in the Final Heat of the Youngbloods Challenge Heat 6 and just as in Heat 4 the four-year-old will start from inside the second row. “We come out behind No Apachemee which is one of the top fancies in the race so we are likely to have a few options open to us, Usain Jolt is the class runner of the field and finished off really strongly when I let him go on the home corner in Hobart so I’m looking forward to his effort tonight,” said Brady enthusiastically. “I also have a good drive in Heat 5 with the John Castles runner Keep Playing drawing the pole, there are couple of smart ones in it like Streitkid who has the speed to cross and Semowillrev, but my bloke is very consistent and he will give a great sight I’m sure.” 6ty° Youngbloods Challenge Points Table after Heat 4: 41 pts – Brady Woods 33 pts – Samantha Gangell 30 pts – Hannah Van dongen 29 pts – Braden Howlett 28 pts – Dylan Ford 25 pts Taylor Ford 24 pts – Charlie Castles 23 pts – Germain Boisrame 20 pts – Samantha Freeman  7 pts – Wade Rattray 5 pts – Matthew Howlett Tonight’s seven-event meeting featuring the final round of Heats in the 6ty° Youngbloods Challenge commences17.18 and can be viewed via the live stream service at tasracing.com.au   Shane Yates

Taylor Ford surged to equal top of the Leading Female Drivers Premiership table with a winning double in Hobart on Friday night. Taylor’s first success came early in the opening race on the card with Mary Jill coming from last over 2090 metres in the Crown Lager Pace. Taylor took the Courage Under a Fire-Flying Perec five-year-old mare back off the arm after drawing the outside of the front-line, settling last a good 35 metres off the leader. Ricky Duggan made his move out three-wide on the well-supported Albayzin at the bell and Ford was quick to latch onto the three-wide train, three back. With the leading division caving in at the 400-metre pole Mary Jill ($18.00) ran to third before storming to the lead in the home stretch, proving too strong for Albazin and Bigsie Neptune. Taylor employed vastly different tactics on the Ben Rossendell-trained eight-year-old Macardle-Lady Lisa gelding Warrior Mac driving through from inside the second row to trail the leader and race favourite El Jays Monza ($2.25) into the first corner. Warrior Mac ($4.80) sat quietly behind the leader until turning for home where Taylor made her move along the Roberts Sprint Lane, claiming victory by three metres in a mile-rate of 2:03.7. The Evicus and Dandy Patch Preludes went the way expected with both favourites Spoilt Sport and Resurgent Storm saluting. Trainer-driver Rodney Ashwood fired Spoilt Sport to the early lead, the Sportswriter-Tara Lassie filly ran them ragged scoring by seven metres, recording a mile-rate 1:59.6. Spoilt Sport($2.50) has now won both the Prelude of the Elderslie Horse Care and Spelling Sweepstakes and Tasracing Evicus and will be looking to go one better than its second to Enterprising Milly in the Sweepstakes Final. Roger Whitmore’s Resurgent Storm ($1.20) kept its unbeaten record intact cruising to its third straight victory in the Tasracing Dandy Patch Prelude. The Ricky Duggan driven Betterthancheddar-Resurgent Star two-year-old bay colt was forced to come from last, running to the front turning for home to record a 3.3-metre win in a mile rate of 2:04.3. Watch Taylor Ford bring Mary Jill from last in the opening race of the Tasmanian Pacing Club meeting in Hobart on Friday night. Shane Yates

Bletchley Park has rounded out his preparations for next week's Group 1 Pearl Classic in style, with a comprehensive win in the Quayside Transport Two-Year-Old Pace (1730m) at Gloucester Park last night. The full brother to star pacer Bling It On, Bletchley Park showed his toughness and durability last night, backing up off just three days after his win in the heats of the Pearl Classic. Shannon Suvaljko, who missed the drive on Bletchley Park on Tuesday, set a solid tempo in front on the colt from barrier one, and was too quick for his rivals, coming away to win by 12m. Trainer Mike Reed said he wasn't concerned about Bletchley Park having two runs in the space of four days prior to next week's Group 1. "I think he went super," he said. "I don't think he could have done any more, Shannon never pulled the plugs. "Next week is the Grand Final, so all things going well, they will know he is there." Former east coast pacer Soho Thunderstruck was having his first start in Perth, and produced an encouraging performance in third place behind Bletchley Park. Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper said he was pleased with how Soho Thunderstruck performed on his Perth debut. "I haven't done a lot with him," he said. "He trialled on Sunday, and trialled very well. "He was probably going to be underdone, but with the time they ran, I'm very impressed." Harper tasted success in the feature event of the night, the RSM Australia Rotary Club Fremantle Pace (2536m), another Listed win for nine-year-old. Maczaffair and Our Jimmy Johnstone set a slick speed in front, which set it up for the in form Bettors Fire to storm over the top late and win by a metre over Tommy Be Good. The Bucket List ran on well to finish third, as Maczaffair and Our Jimmy Johnstone finished towards the rear of the field. Bettors Fire's owner Frank Ranaldi said the gelding would likely be targeted at some of the feature races during the summer period. Suvaljko bought up the second leg of a winning double when he guided the Matthew Scott-trained Neighlor to victory in the Karri Forest Motel Pace (2130m). Meanwhile, the Michael Brennan-trained Miss Sangrial has recorded her first win on the east coast, taking out a 1740m event at Bankstown. Brennan said the filly would press on to the New South Wales Breeders Challenge Semi-Finals and Finals over the next fortnight. Tim Walker

DESTREOS NZ INQUIRY –07 JUNE 2018 – KEN RATTRAY On Thursday 7 June 2018 stewards inquired into the results of analysis of samples taken from DESTREOS NZ prior to its competing in Race 3 at the Carrick Park Pacing Club on 31st December 2017. Evidence was heard from representatives of Racing Analytical Services Limited and the Racing Science Centre. Evidence was tendered by Mr Rattray in relation to his feeding regime and husbandry practices. Mr Rattray was issued with a charge in writing on 27th March 2018 pursuant to AHRR 190(1),(2) and (4) for failing to present DESTREOS NZ free of the prohibited substance Cobalt. Mr Rattray reserved his plea to the charge and after giving due consideration to the evidence tendered throughout the Inquiry Stewards sustained the charge. In determining penalty Stewards took into consideration Mr Rattrays reserved plea, his licence history, including that he had five prior disqualifications for prohibited substance matters, his personal subjective circumstances and the need that any penalty reflect the serious nature of prohibited substance offences and provide both a specific and general deterrent. Mr Rattray was disqualified for five years, commencing immediately and expiring at midnight on 6 June 2023. Acting under the provisions of AHRR 195 Stewards ordered that DESTREOS NZ be disqualified from the subject race and the placings will be amended accordingly. Mr Rattray has appealed against the conviction and penalty. Adrian Crowther CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS – Harness (03) 6777 1900   Harnesslink Media

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