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Harness racing 'Hall of Fame' trainer Gary Hall Snr reports that West Australia’s best pacer Chicago Bull is spot on for a tilt at the $300,000 Retravision Fremantle Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night and he has hopes of winning the big race for a record eighth time. Chicago Bull has drawn somewhat awkwardly at barrier four on the front line and Hall said that his son, Gary Hall Jnr, planned to drive the diminutive five-year-old aggressively “Going forward, that’s the plan,” Hall Snr said. “Well, that’s what Junior is saying. So, Chicago Bull will go forward and if Bettors Fire (barrier one) doesn’t hand up, we will keep the breeze and keep Lazarus three wide when he comes. “Everyone has got Lazarus past the post and If we just let him go to the breeze, the race will develop into a walk with a sprint home and Chicago Bull can’t win then. We can’t make it easy for Lazarus. My owners don’t want to make it easy for him. I think Chicago Bull can win, but he will need a lot of luck. “I would have liked Chicago Bull to have drawn where he could lead and I reckon that leading, he would go close. He is a better horse now than when he won the Fremantle Cup last year. He’s stronger.” Chicago Bull, who finished a splendid second to Lazarus in the Inter Dominion championship final five Fridays ago, maintained his excellent form when he ran home strongly from sixth at the bell to finish a half-length second to Bettors Fire in the 1730m Village Kid Sprint last Friday week. The powerful Hall stable will also be represented in Friday night’s Cup by eight-year-olds Ohoka Punter and My Hard Copy, who will start from barriers six and seven, respectively. Stuart McDonald will handle Ohoka Punter and Clint Hall will be in the sulky behind dual WA Pacing Cup winner My Hard Copy, who started from barrier nine when he finished strongly to be second to Beaudiene Boaz in the 2016 Fremantle Cup. “My Hard Copy is absolutely flying and is working as good as Chicago Bull,” said Hall Snr “From barrier six he will go back at the start. Don’t forget that he has won two WA Pacing Cups from barrier nine. ”Barrier seven won’t help Ohoka Punter. However, he’s going all right, even though he might be a bit past it.” Clint Hall said that My Hard Copy would need plenty of speed in the race to be a realistic chance. “If things get silly, he could certainly knock them out, late,” he said. “I’m pretty excited about his prospects. “He led and won first-up, beating Bettors Fire and A Piccadilly Princess and then at his next start he was unlucky when he finished right on the back of them in the Village Kid Sprint when he didn’t get clear and still had something to offer.” Clint Hall has yet to win a Fremantle Cup, a race that has been won eight times by his younger brother Gary. Gary Hall Snr has won the Cup seven times with The Falcon Strike (2002 and 2004), Im Themightyquinn (2010-11-12), Beaudiene Boaz (2016) and Chicago Bull (2017). For good measure, Hall has also trained the second placegetter in the Fremantle Cup on eight occasions with Tricky Bey (1993), Our London Pride (2001), De Galdearno (2006), Kotare Flame (2007), Alzona (2010), Im Themightyquinn (2013), Northview Punter (2015) and My Hard Copy (2016). He has also trained three third placegetters Fac Et Spiro (2008), Dartmoor (2010) and Im Themightyquinn (2009). Ken Casellas

It is scary to think this is just the tip of the iceberg. The All Stars’ barn unleashes stars at two key Aussie meetings this weekend, but there are lost more to come over the next couple of months. Newly-crowned Perth Inter Dominion champ Lazarus headlines Aussie racing this weekend when he starts from gate five in the Group 1 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. He’s a $1.30 favourite on the Aussie TAB even though he has fast beginners Bettors Fire (gate one), Vultan Tin (three) and Chicago Bull (four) drawn inside him. Lazarus won’t lead unless either a Bettors Fire and/or Chicago Bull elects to surrender the front to him. Just for good measure, Lazarus’s exciting young stablemate, Ultimate Machete, is the $7 second favourite in the Fremantle Cup from gate two. Natalie Rasmussen will take the drive on Ultimate Machete before heading back to Sydney where she has key stable drives on Our Bare Knuckle and Partyon at Menangle on Saturday night. Our Bare Knuckle has gate four, but now moves into the three alley with emergency Lisa Lincoln already scratched from the $30,600 Group 3 Raith Memorial (1609m). It’s a fascinating race with so many different and strong formlines. The biggest name is last season’s glamour juvenile filly My Sweetchillyphilly, who is first-up since an aborted Breeders Crown campaign and drawn deep-ish in gate seven. Tim Butt’s Lady Chatto also resumes in the race from gate 10, while Jimmy Rattray’s Queensland Group 1 winner Arts Treasure has gate six and in-form Victorian raider Macey Jayde has the outside (gate 11). The Allstars’ classy mare Partyon slips back down in class big time to a metro maiden race (race two) under the NSW handicapping system. She’s better than her rivals, but will need to be from the outside draw (gate 11). The other must-watch Menangle race is the free-for-all (race five) where reigning Hunter Cup champ Bling It On steps outs again from the outside draw (gate 11). Adam Hamilton

Harness racing driver Kyle Harper can see a few scenarios which will land him his first Fremantle Pacing Cup with 9yo speedster Bettors Fire.

Queensland racing has been given a boost with the announcement of new prizemoney levels. Off the back of the Labor Government’s pledge to fund country racing in the state, backdated to the start of this financial year, Racing Queensland is in a position to make changes to the existing prizemoney schedule. Prize money for metropolitan races in Queensland will rise by $10,000 to $70,000 in most Saturday-class races under a new scheme announced by the state government. It is part of a $12 million a year injection of prize money across the three codes with thoroughbred racing to get $8.6 million, greyhounds $3 million and harness racing $400,000. The prize money upgrades, which will start on February 1, mean seven races currently worth $60,000 at Saturday metropolitan meetings will be worth $70,000. There will be two $40,000 restricted class races on each day. Racing Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said the additional prize money was a massive win for Queensland racing industry participants across all three codes. “Racing Queensland’s extended prize money package is exactly what the racing industry has been crying out for,” Hinchcliffe said. “It means an extra $12 million will be pumped directly into the industry each year across the thoroughbred, greyhound and harness racing codes.” Provincial races at the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Ipswich would also receive increases. “Regional provincial clubs will have standard stakes boosted by $2,000 per race and northern feature carnivals will be increased by a total of $527,000 to be spread across carnivals from Rockhampton to Cairns,” Hinchcliffe said. “Overall the additional money represents a 16.6 per cent increase to metropolitan premier stake races while regional TAB races will see a 16 to 20 per cent increase from their current stakes.” Nathan Exelby Reprinted with permission of The Courier Mail  

Avenel pacer Im The Boss has provided harness racing Swedish reinswoman Kima Frenning with her biggest win in Australia by taking Sunday’s Group 3 $30,000 Jim Phillips Memorial Cobram Pacing Cup. Just when the favourite Major Secret was being hailed the winner halfway down the straight, the David Aiken trained Im The Boss rallied to snatch victory by a head in the last couple of strides in a thrilling climax to the 2678m marathon. Hickstead filled the minor placing while another of the local hopes, the Steve O’Donoghue trained and Bec Bartley driven mare Shakahari ran an honest race to finish fourth. The win was a bonus because the Harnes Racing Victoria vet was still tossing up half an hour before the first race as to whether he would cancel the meeting because of the 40°C-plus weather. But he didn’t and the rest was history for the Avenel-based trainer and driver. The first four placegetters raced on the pegs throughout the trip with only the leader and runner-up changing positions at the finishing line. Second favourite Milly Perez put some life into the race when she moved to the death seat mid-race but she was gone with 400m to run and finished second last. Driver of Major Secret, Mark Pitt, put the handle bars down at the start from outside the second row to take up the front running and leave punters, who had supported the Emma Stewart trained Art Major seven-year-old into a $1.90 favourite, on good terms with themselves before Im The Boss spoilt the party at the death knock. Frenning, who has been driving regularly with consistent success since March last year, was confident Im The Boss could run down Major Secret even though he had opened up what seemed a winning break around the home turn. ‘‘He never stops trying and he is a very tough horse,” Frenning said, describing the win as her biggest since arriving here and ‘‘up there’’ with her most memorable moments in the sulky. Im The Boss deserved his win, breaking a run of four consecutive seconds in the process to have his biggest payday, collecting $17000 for connections with the 15th win of his 73-start career. Frenning has driven Im The Boss in 12 of its past 13 starts since David Aiken took over the training of the six-year-old Art Major gelding and has now won four races on the pacer. But a Shepparton Cup appearance this Saturday night is not on his agenda because he has gone to the water walker for a week to freshen before plans for his next assignment are made. ‘‘As soon as the race started we lobbed in a good place just behind the leaders and throughout the race I thought he felt really good,’’ Frenning said. ‘‘As we came off the bend and into the straight I was sure we had the favourite covered but they weren’t going to give up,’’ she said. ‘‘But we got our head in front with about 50m to go and my horse wasn’t going to stop. ‘‘He is a super consistent horse and he has been a big part of my good season and I have also been given a lot of good horses to work with, giving me plenty of opportunity and I am really grateful for that.’’ Last season, which finished at the end of August, she had 12 winners. So far this season she already has 15. Reprinted with permission of The Telegraph  

With the current form Laura Crossland is in, she is almost guaranteed a winner at Shepparton’s Gold Cup night on Saturday. The Kialla horsewoman is in career best form as a harness racing trainer and driver. Having the season of a lifetime, she is ranked one of the top 10 trainers in the state. Crossland grew her standing at the Leeton Cup meeting to start the year where she was involved in three victories. The dedicated horsewoman trained and drove Scotty Titian to first place in the cup, reined Lets Katchmeifucan to victory in the Lady Drivers Invitation for trainer David Eurell and brought up her trifecta when her partner David Moran drove Lochinvar Hugo, a horse she trains, to victory on the card. Crossland is amazed that she is regarded as being one of the best trainers in the state, but said everything was going right for her. ‘‘It’s been awesome actually, I couldn’t have imagined it to go this good so early on,’’ she said. ‘‘We’ve always been consistent, but it’s like this season we can do no wrong. ‘‘It’s a bit surreal, it’s hard to imagine all the blood, sweat and tears over the years have all paid off.’’ Crossland and Moran have shown what can be achieved from a small stable. The duo looks after 14 horses, less than half the size of most of the major stables. But Crossland said that those challenges just made the success even more enjoyable. ‘‘With a big stable they’ve got a lot of support behind them, if a horse wins enough races and they’re not winning any more they can get rid of it and the owner will buy new ones, but we’ve sort of got to keep going,’’ she said. ‘‘With us we get a lot of rejects that we’ve got to run around and that’s more satisfying.’’ Having spent a lot of time focusing on training, Crossland thrives when she moves into the driver’s seat. ‘‘I’ve always driven, but I used to take a back seat to David and then Linton Power from out Tally way (contacted me) and I started driving his and I love driving the trotters, so I drive all the trotters here,’’ she said. As Crossland first found an interest in harness racing because of her parents, it looks like a third generation is about to emerge. Her eldest son Cody is learning the trade at Avenel under master trainer David Aitken. ‘‘Aitks is fantastic with him, you couldn’t get a better person, he comes back and tells us what to do,’’ Crossland said. Twins Ella and Lane also spend their school holidays running around the Crossland-Moran racing stables. But the family’s attention this week will be on a host of runners. Moran will again be behind Lochinvar Hugo in race nine at Shepparton, while Crossland herself drives Starlight Storm and Mangochililime. By Lauren Bordin Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News  

The harness racing industry was saddened to hear of the passing of renowned strapper Julian 'Shamo' Attard. Julian passed away last Sunday after battling cancer for serval months, aged 69. He trained and drove his own horses but in the later years of his life, Julian assisted the Fitzpatrick stable in Cawdor as a strapper. "He worked with us for 10 to 15 years," Gavin Fitzpatrick said. "He was great friends with Jeffrey Usher, who owns Sally Fletcher, and he just started coming over and helping out one day. "He worked at the Ingham's factory for many years and loved it there but he loved his horses too. "He drove winners at Harold Park back in the day and did train and drive his own horses." The last winner Julian trained and drove was Bashful Dancer at Gosford on March 26, 1984. A kinder man was hard to find on any racetrack according to Harness Racing New South Wales chief executive John Dumesny. "Julian never had an unkind word to say about anyone or anything in the industry he just loved," Dumesny said. "This can be measured by the fact he respected everyone and everyone that knew Julian respected him. "His welcoming face will be sorely missed at racetracks across the state. "On behalf of the industry, I offer the deepest condolences to his family and friends." A funeral for Julian will be held on Monday January 15 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Leppington, in the North Chapel at 10am. The Board and Management of HRNSW extends their deepest sympathies to Julian's family and many friends. AMANDA RANDO

The management team at Mitavite have been impressed with the concept and commitment of SA Botra, Harness Racing South Australia and in setting up what many people believe to be Australia’s greatest value race series, The Allwood. The sale which will take place at the Magic Millions Sales Complex, Morphettville, SA on Sunday, 11 February 2018 has the potential to massively change Harness Racing as we know it in this country. It’s astonishing to think, that just 74 yearlings will have the opportunity to race for $120,000 in prizemoney when they are 2YO’S plus a 3YO series that will be very exciting and will have a high level of prizemoney that many local and interstate owners will have the opportunity to benefit from. Let’s not forget the State of Origin 3YO series, which has race stakes north of $70,000 for just the 16 fillies that walk into the ring in SA on 11 February 2018  plus the additional 18 fillies from the Shepparton Harness Racing Club (SHRC). This very prestigious event that’s jointly hosted by the SHRC and HRSA will have two $10,000 heats, one to be hosted at Shepparton and the other in South Australia. They intend to grow this partnership with SHRC and who knows just how big this race series can get. When we contacted a Mitavite representative today, they said: “With all the excitement and positive incentives the Allwood Stud SA Yearling Sale is bringing to the table for owners all over Australia, we just had to get on board”. The representative went on to say, “ We also wanted to bring something very significant for the breeders who work so hard for years producing these elite yearlings. So the best presented Colt and Filly in the sale will be each awarded a $500 Mitavite voucher for the breeder/consignor”. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this very progressive and great supporter of Harness Racing please see below. Since Mitavite’s inception in 1987, our principle driver has been to provide premium equine nutrition for horses in all disciplines and activities. Although Mitavite feeds are the predominant choice of Australian trainers in both harness and thoroughbred racing and we take great pride in the success of trainers such as Chris Waller, Peter Moody and Robert Heathcote and our elite equestrians, it is in the area of aged horse nutrition that we get the most satisfaction and reward. Over 15 years ago we introduced the then revolutionary feed to the Australian market – Gumnuts. Gumnuts is a fully steam extruded premium feed containing high levels of highly digestible, horse perfect protein and energy, coupled with vitamins, minerals and the pro-biotic Protexin. Over the years we have received a staggering number of letters, emails and phone calls from owners of much loved oldies who have directly credited Gumnuts with extending or improving the quality of their horses’ lives. For us, this is the ultimate reward and a source of immense satisfaction for our nutritionists and sales team alike. Although there are now many imitators in this segment of the market Gumnuts still sets the standard and remains the market leader in this category. The horse feed market is very competitive with many brands competing for market share. We are often asked to explain how Mitavite feeds are different from our competitors. Of course there are many nutritional and manufacturing differences that make Mitavite feeds unique, however probably where the difference is most apparent and noticeable to a horse owner is in the formulation of our amino acid (protein) profiles and the effect that this has on a horses BMI, growth, performance and recovery after strenuous exercise. By increasing carbohydrates in the diet it is easy to add fat cover and indeed many rations do this well. What is more difficult is to formulate a ration to optimise the development and replenishment of all body tissues, including lean muscle and sound bone. The success of our feeds can be seen equally in youngstock, race horses, sport and leisure horses and, of course, our older equine friends. The 2018 Allwood Stud Farm Yearling Sale catalogue is now available. View it here or contact Harness Racing SA on (08) 82852899 or via email for a copy to be posted to you. Don't miss the 2018 Allwood Stud Farm Yearling Sale being held on Sunday 11 February, Magic Millions Complex, Morphettville SA. Gary Crocker, Chairman, Allwood Stud Farm 2018 SA Yearling Sale Committee

Harness racing fans have watched megastar mare Winx in awe and longed for a pin-up horse of their own. Now they have one with Lazarus, who is rapidly becoming the Winx of harness racing. The crowds he drew and atmosphere he stirred during his winning Perth Inter Dominion raid late last year were fantastic. Trained in New Zealand by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Lazarus stayed in WA after his Inter Dominion romp and now has Gloucester Park’s two biggest races firmly in his sights … then it’s over to Melbourne and Sydney. Next up is Friday night’s $350,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup where Lazarus has gate five and has opened a commanding $1.30 TAB fixed odds favourite. Just to underline the Purdon/Rasmussen dominance, they also trained Lazarus’ main danger and the TAB second elect, Ultimate Machete (gate two). Lazarus might not boast a Winx-like winning streak, but his record is similarly impressive with 41 starts netting 34 wins, seven placing and his earnings have rocketed past $3.3 million. Visiting North American driving stars Marcus Miller and James McDonald heaped praise on Lazarus as they watched his Inter Dominion win trackside at Gloucester Park. They were adamant he was as good as any pacer in the world right now. After the Fremantle Cup comes the $400,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup where Lazarus will again dominant betting at Gloucester Park on January 19. “Then he’s off to Melbourne for the Hunter Cup (February 3) and then Sydney for a lead-up race and the Miracle Mile,” Purdon said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to train some amazing horses over the years, but Lazarus is the best of the lot. I’ve said for a year or so. He’s that bit special. Trainer-driver Mark Purdon says Lazarus is still getting better. “The way he won the (Inter Dominion) final and then beat them so easily when he resumed and needed the run at Gloucester Park last week was pretty amazing. “He seems to still be getting better.”   Although Lazarus is obviously the stable flagship, Purdon and Rasmussen have arguably the strongest stable the sport has seen in this part of the world. As well as Lazarus, they also have stars like Ultimate Machete, Vincent, Heaven Rocks and Titan Banner being set for races like the Hunter Cup, Chariots Of Fire and Miracle Mile over the next two months. If they continue in current form, Purdon and Rasmussen could have four or five of the eight runners in the $750,000 Miracle Mile on February 24. Reprinted with permission of News Corp Australia Network

RWWA Stewards have been advised by the ChemCentre in Perth, that cobalt at a concentration in excess of 100 micrograms per litre, being the threshold prescribed in the Harness Rules of Racing, has been detected in a urine sample taken from EXTRADITE NZ at Northam on 25 November 2017 after it had completed and won in Race 5. This finding has been verified by the Racing Analytical Services Laboratory (RASL) in Victoria. Accordingly the Stewards will inquire into these reports on a date to be fixed which the Trainer of EXTRADITE NZ, Mr. Kim Prentice has been requested to attend. Acting under the provisions of Harness Rule of Racing 183(d) Stewards have directed that Mr Prentice’s licence to train be suspended forthwith pending the outcome of the Stewards inquiry to the extent that he is not permitted to nominate or present any horses to race. Mr Prentice licence to drive remains and he is permitted to drive on the condition that he does not undertake any activities associated solely with the training of any horses that are nominated or presented to race.  The trainers of any horses he is driving or handling must be present and directly supervising the horse at all times. RWWA - Stewards Inquiry - Mr Kim Prentice Denis Borovica – General Manager Racing Integrity Ph: 9445 5427

Harness racing teenage horseman Lachie Manzelmann is heading interstate. The 18-year-old Queenslander has taken up the opportunity to join the leading Sydney stables of Shane and Lauren Tritton at Menangle. Manzelmann, the son of leading thoroughbred trainer John who is based in central Queensland, has enjoyed stints with leading stables of Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen while more recently working under the eye of Darrel Graham. The talented reinsman will join his new team later this month. “I just thought it was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and see things from a different perspective, I’m really looking forward to it because I know I will grow in areas as a trainer and a driver.” Manzelmann said. The mini-trotting graduate landed 23 winners last season while he has 16 winners to date for the current term. He returns to race driving tomorrow (Tuesday) after serving a recent four week suspension. Two weeks ago, Manzelmann prepared his maiden metropolitan winner when Sicilian Slumber proved too good for his rivals. Amy Rees took the winning drive. “That was a great feeling but I’m thinking a winner at Menangle will be even better, I’m looking forward to driving on the big track. “Shane and Lauren have a number of quality performers in their care and I’ll be happy with any opportunities that come my way while the driving colony is high quality and there’s a lot to learn. “Queensland will always be home but this opportunity came at the right time, I’m keen to learn as much as possible.” Shane and Lauren Tritton are currently 5th in the New South Wales premiership with 33 winners to date. Chris Barsby

John Caldow was at his top-class best at Tabcorp Park Melton last night, the champion reinsman guiding four winners home on the 11-race harness racing card. The Melton reinsman has driven over 100 winners in a season on 20 occasions and has 3616 victories on the books all up. Last night he drove a winning double for Junortoun horseman Bruce Morgan (Believe In Forever in the Allied Express 3YO Pace and Silent Growl in the Cogs Pace 2nd Heat). Caldow and Morgan are a proven winning combination. LISTEN TO JOHN CALDOW ON THE TROT LINE “It was great to get a double for Bruce. We’ve been together for a lot of years now. Probably 20-odd years … and he’s had a few health issues last year and it’s really good for him to bounce back and get a couple of winners,” Caldow today told the Trot Line. Also among Caldow’s winners last night was Anton Golino-trained Fiery Mountain Girl, too strong for Jay Pe De in the Aldebaran Park Trot, and Maree Caldow-trained Madeeba in the HRTC Bendigo Pace. The Caldows raced Madeeba’s mother, Mesmerizing, who won 19 races and $180,000 in stakemoney on the track and has produced four winners as a broodmare thus far, including champion Messini (whose Bendigo Cup win at the weekend took his stake earnings to over $656,000). Caldow said he had a two-year-old full-brother to Messini (by Art Major) at home who was showing plenty of promise. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Cobram Harness Racing Club’s cup meeting on Sunday nearly never went ahead. The meeting was in doubt until 30 minutes before the first race when the Harness Racing Victoria vet, who was tossing up due to the industry’s heat policy, finally gave the green light for it to proceed. ‘‘It was really touch and go,’’ club secretary Bob Watson said. ‘‘Most of the crowd was there by then and I was wondering just how we were going to tell everyone it had been called off.’’ Watson said the temperature, which nudged into the 40s, had an impact on crowd numbers, but conceded the weather was something the club could not control. ‘‘From what we were expecting, the crowd was disappointing really,’’ he said. Watson said being so hot on the Saturday had also impacted on crowd numbers. ‘‘We had umbrella packages, which had been purchased mainly by older people who cancelled because of the heat,’’ he said. But Watson said all things considered, the meeting was still voted a success, particularly the racing side of it. ‘‘There was some really keen racing,’’ he said. Watson said the club’s decision to break from recent tradition and stage its cup meeting in January in preference to a date between Boxing Day and New Year would still apply next year. The club decided on the change of date after Watson had surveyed local motels, hotels and park owners, who indicated busier times for their businesses were in January after the Christmas-New Year break. ‘‘We are certainly looking to give it another try next year and see what happens. Hopefully the weather will be more suitable,’’ he said. One glitch encountered during the meeting was the failure of on-course broadcaster Dan Mielicki’s call of the cup for Sky Channel. The Sky Channel vehicle at the meeting encountered technical problems just before the cup was run and the host at the Sky Channel studios had to take up the call and did an admirable job in trying circumstances. But Mielicki’s on-course call was not affected. Reprinted with permission of The Shepparton News

The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission has ordered the retrospective reinstatement of sacked harness racing chief steward David Farquharson. In a 28-page judgment handed down in Brisbane on Monday, the QIRC's President Adrian Bloomfield ordered Farquharson be reinstated as of his sacking date of February 24, 2017. It was further ordered that Farquharson be paid any money lost through the sacking and that his contract of employment be deemed to be continuous. Farquharson was sacked by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission's commissioner Ross Barnett after originally being stood down from his post in December 2016. The QIRC hearing was told the dismissal followed allegations made about Farquharson's behaviour in the third day of stewards inquiry in July 2016. Those allegations were the basis of a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing which referred the matter back to Barnett. After two show cause notices were issued to Farquharson by Barnett he was dismissed. Farquaharson denied any dishonesty and wrong doing and took his case to the QIRC. In his judgment Bloomfield said there was a precedent case which showed some employment could withstand friction and doubts and that trust and confidence were concepts of degree. "While Mr Barnett asserts that he no longer has trust and confidence in Mr Farquharson that is because he believed the latter was guilty of misconduct by being deliberately untruthful," President Bloomfield said. "In coming to that conclusion, however, he closed his mind to any other possible reason for Mr Farquharson's behaviour. "Now that his decision has been reviewed and overturned by a Tribunal, I am confident that Mr Barnett will step back and accept that he might have made a mistake and perhaps he should have given Mr Farquharson the benefit of the doubt." President Bloomfield said Farquharson had made it plain that he wished to return to his former position. "While my decision might be inconvenient and disappointing to Mr Barnett, I consider he is capable of re-establishing an appropriate and professional working relationship with Mr Farquharson," he said. "In any event, this is not a case where Mr Farquharson actually engaged in misconduct, He simply made a mistake and then failed to correct it. It was not serious misconduct and it was not a dismissible offence." Farquharson's lawyer, Matt Tutt, said his client obviously welcomed the decision and was keen to return to work. "The decision is not only a win for Mr Farquharson personally but the industry as a whole to have Mr Farquharson reinstated as Chief Steward," Tutt said. "Mr Farquharson is committed to, and has at all times, maintained a high standard of professionalism and integrity within the Industry for over 30 years." Barnett was unavailable for comment but a spokesman said he was aware of the decision and might comment at a later time. Mark Oberhardt Reprinted with permission of

New South Wales' top ranked pacer Tiger Tara is nearing a racetrack return but harness racing trainer Kevin Pizzuto is still unsure where he will start his quality pacer next. The options are to stay local or head directly interstate for feature races in Victoria. "I'm still undecided where I will start him first between Menangle or there is a $100,000 race in Victoria (Ballarat Cup)," said Pizzuto. The main aim for Tiger Tara south of the border is the $500,000 A.G. Hunter Cup at Melton on February 3. However, the ultimate goal Pizzuto has his in mind for his stallion is back on his home turf, the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle on February 24. Tiger Tara has not raced since finishing third-placed to Lazarus in the Inter Dominion Final at Gloucester Park on December 8, 2017. "I gave him three weeks off and he's been back in work for a few weeks now," said Pizzuto. "He's as good as gold." It was a well-deserved break as prior to heading to Western Australia, Tiger Tara campaigned in New Zealand. Within the last month of his latest preparation, Tiger Tara also won a heat of the Inter Dominion and finished second-placed in another two, he also finished third to Lazarus in the NZ Cup and second to Ultimate Machete in the NZ Free-For-All. "Out of that whole trip he didn't finish worse than third, he did a massive job," said Pizzuto. "I couldn't have been happier in the horse. "He raced Lazarus, who is the best horse anyone has ever seen, and Tiger Tara beat him fair and square in a heat of the Inter Dominion. "Tiger's run in the NZ Cup where he finished third to Lazarus was huge also." Tiger Tara now has earnings of $1,246,931 as a result of 25 wins 18 seconds and 12 thirds from the 79 starts lifetime. Prior to Tiger Tara's overseas and interstate campaign, the son of Bettor's Delight was also tried as a stallion. "I put four of my mares in foal to him," claimed Pizzuto. "I stood him too late in the season and I just wanted to trial him to make sure his semen was good . . . my four mares went into foal straight away which was a good sign. "There was a lot of interest for him when I was over in NZ so I think he will be in demand over there next season." Pizzuto has not raced any of his team since December 8 and will have his first starters of the year at Menangle on Tuesday. This includes new stable acquisition, Group 2 winner Dashofluck. AMANDA RANDO

It was a humble six-race affair at Bathurst last Wednesday but the presence of Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman Rod Smith, fellow Board member Peter Nugent and NSW Minister for Racing Paul Toole had everyone wondering if they were caught up in a Groundhog Day re-run of the Carnival of Cups meeting held on Boxing Day. No such worries. All was soon explained, when they participated in the race presentations and celebratory photographs for the first two races, not as invited guests but as winning owners. Rod Smith has named many of his horses after family, with the familiar “Kriden” prefix deriving from daughters Kirsty and Denae and, more recently, there have been lots of “Sams” and “Zaras” in recognition of his grand-children. Grand Zara (Amy Rees for John O’Shea) was one of three such Zaras in the 3CO opening race, and she came with a strong sprint to account for Doctor Somes, with Zaras Dance grabbing the minor end of the prizemoney. It was the first run in seven months for the well-bred youngster, whose dam is an Art Major half-sister to millionaire Caribbean Blaster. That long break helped account for her generous starting price of $16.90, in a market dominated by Scarlet Babe, which was put out of play after a scrimmage in the early stages of the race. There were two happy sets of grandparents following this race. The enjoyment trackside at Bathurst was shared at suburban Cawdor, near Menangle, by (co-owner) Lynn and Paul Fitzpatrick, with their son Blake’s daughter Zara one of the two grand-kids making up the name of the winner. A grand result all round, wouldn’t you say? Carla's Angel (Gemma/ Mat Rue) scored a similar win in the C0 second, coming from the running line to edge out Panther Star and Star Play, and the Rock N Roll Heaven daughter was first-up in almost nine months. Mat Rue went into some detail to explain that the mare has been quite difficult to train, and get back to the races, and for that reason he was particularly grateful to her new owners, who had bought in on his recommendation when she came on the market. Asked whether they were first-time owners, he replied that just one of them was, and then couldn’t keep his straight face any longer as the group of them, who had quietly made their way down to the presentation area and been listening closely, indicated their presence by coming forward for a photo. Board member Peter Nugent was accompanied by the Racing Minister (and local Member) Paul Toole and by club life-member John Brien, who’s raced many good winners over a lifetime in the sport. Also part of the ownership group but absent this time was Shane Gilchrist, the local Toyota dealer. They were naturally in very good spirits as they joked their way off the track, Paul Toole agreeing with the suggestion that the night was shaping up as Board Members Night at the Paceway, and that being appointed as a Board member was a sure-fire way to own a winner! There would undoubtedly have been lots of sledging at the winning owners during the course of the night, but there were plenty of congratulations too, and more than a few comments about the reassurance and “good look” of the industry’s decision-makers being involved at the grass-roots level. Other winners at the meeting: Poppy Cee (Wendy/Emma Turnbull) which used the sprint lane to good effect in an M1-backed fast class sprint, a particularly sentimental win for Parkes owner Geoff Cole, whose mum Dot was laid to rest just after Christmas after a long illness. The Browning Blue Chip gelding, named for his late father Russell, continued the grandparent theme of the opening The two divisions of the C2-backed sprint, giving Steve Turnbull a training double, were taken out  by El Gran Señor NZ , with Mitch Turnbull working to the lead at the bell and holding on strongly in a 57.3 final half, and by Destiny Warrior (Amanda) , which controlled the race from the start, despite pulling pretty hard throughout. Both started as short-priced favourites. Shannonstheman (Mackayler Barnes for Peter Bullock)  in the 2260 metres maiden closing race, working to the lead and roaring away over the closing stages for the night’s easiest win, suggesting that the Rocknroll Hanover/Artsplace son might finally be learning his craft and living up to his breeding. Bathurst HRC will race again on Friday week, January 19, when the annual Oberon Night, featuring the $13,000 Oberon Cup and lots of charity fundraising, will take centre stage. Terry Neil

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