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RWWA Stewards have today concluded an inquiry into an allegation that prior to Race 3 at Gloucester Park on 24 January 2020, Trainer/Driver Mr Clinton Hall made an improper statement/s to Trainer/Driver Mr C. Saligari, who had a runner engaged in the race, with regard to the tactics and handling of that runner. As a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, the inquiry was conducted via teleconference. At a hearing conducted on 21 April 2020, Mr C. Hall had pleaded guilty to the following two charges under Harness racing Rule 238 and 187 (2), which state; 238. Failure to comply with orders A person shall not fail to comply with any order, direction or requirement of the Controlling Body or the stewards relating to harness racing or to the harness racing industry. The particulars of the charge being that on 31 January 2020, Mr Clinton Hall, being a registered person with RWWA, failed to comply with the direction of Steward, Mr Borovica, the RWWA General Manager of Racing Integrity, by not surrendering his mobile telephone, as directed in writing in a letter from Mr Borovica dated 28 January 2020. And; 187.2 Offences – inquiries A person shall not refuse to answer questions or to produce a horse, document, substance or piece of equipment, or give false or misleading evidence or information at an inquiry or investigation. The particulars of the charge being that during the course of an inquiry conducted on 4 March 2020, Mr Clinton Hall, being a registered person with RWWA, refused to answer questions in relation to the subject matter of the inquiry. At the same hearing, Mr C. Hall had pleaded not guilty to a charge under harness Racing Rule 227; 227. Offering money or other inducements A person shall not give or offer any money or other inducement improperly to anyone employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry. The particulars of the charge being that on 23 January 2020, Mr Clinton Hall, being a registered person with RWWA, during a telephone call, did improperly offer licensed trainer Mr Craig Saligari $2000.00 as an inducement to hand up the lead on CROCODILE KID engaged in Race 3 at Gloucester Park on 24 January 2020. After hearing submissions in respect to a defence to the above charge from Mr C. Hall, Stewards adjourned and after deliberation concluded that he had breached Rule 227. The inquiry resumed on 12 May 2020 in order to hear submissions on the question of penalty to all three charges where further evidence was advanced by Mr C. Hall. RWWA Stewards have now completed their deliberations and the following penalties have been imposed: Charge 1 – Harness racing Rule 238 – Failure to comply – penalty – 2 years disqualification. Charge 2 – Harness racing Rule 187 (2) – Failing to answer questions – penalty – 1 year disqualification. Charge 3 – Harness racing Rule 224 – Inducement – penalty – 5 years disqualification. Having regard to the principle of totality and whether or not the periods of disqualification imposed should be partially or wholly concurrent in accordance with Rule 257, Stewards determined that all 3 penalties of disqualification, in the circumstances, should be served cumulatively. In addition, Stewards have also directed that the total disqualification of 8 years will be backdated to when Mr C. Hall was first stood down on 31 January 2020. Therefore the total of 8 years disqualification will expire at midnight on 30 January 2028. In considering penalty, Stewards were mindful of the following: The seriousness of each individual offence. The circumstances surrounding the commission of all offences. Mr Hall’s guilty pleas to two charges. The strong need for both specific and general deterrence to deter similar conduct. The potential damage to the Harness Industry of WA due to Mr Hall’s deliberate actions. Mr Hall’s personal circumstances at the time. Previous similar penalties issued Australia wide. In relation to the same inquiry and as previously advised that once Mr C. Hall’s inquiry was concluded, Trainer/Driver Mr C. Saligari would be required to appear before the Stewards in order to continue with his involvement. A notice in connection with this matter will be issued in the near future.   RWWA

Teenage Junee harness racing driver Miranda McLaughlin is making every post a winner before next weekend, when she will navigate a new path with the Royal Australian Navy. McLaughlin, 19, who says she has always wanted to do a gap year in the armed forces, will be away for at least 12 months. "I just made up my mind that if I don't do it now, I probably won't ever get around to it," she said. "It was a hard decision because I love the horses-but I get to travel around Australia while I'm looking at all the Naval bases. It's one good way to see the country." McLaughlin was seen at her best at the Wagga Cup meeting on Sunday with a winning double-the third time she's achieved the feat. "They are trained by my boss Trevor White and they looked well placed. We gave both of them good chances," she said. Three-year-old gelding Western Style (Western Terror-Takemybreathaway (Life Sign) scored in the opening event, the Maiden Pace. To watch the video replay of this race click here. Two races later, the White/McLaughlin combination struck with the veteran Norms Courage (Courage Under Fire-Rosie Rose (Peace Of Art) in the ITP Pace. To watch the video replay of this race click here. McLaughlin will be keen for further success when she drives at her final two meetings before taking on a new career. "I've got a book of five drives at Wagga on Tuesday and then I'll be back in action again on Friday. Then that's it for at least 12 months," she said. "I'm pretty sure I'll eventually be coming back home to the horses, but I suppose there's a chance I could thoroughly enjoy life in the Navy. I'll be keeping an eye on all the trots results that's for certain." McLaughlin completed her schooling and graduated Year 12, before taking up a full-time job at the stables of astute horseman Trevor White. "I got to know Trevor when we moved into the same street as him. I had a riding horse and used to go in the barrel races at gymkhanas," she said. "I was probably about 14 or 15 and went up to Trevor's place to see if I could get a part-time job. He put me on, and I mainly used to clean out stables and stuff like that. "Then one day he asked me had I ever thought about driving? So, with his encouragement I took it on and have now been driving for two years. He has been such an outstanding mentor and is definitely a person I look up too. "He's already told me there will be a job waiting if I want to come back." White has been a huge influence on many youngsters, who after their early days working with him, have gone on to bigger things. Talented Sydney brother and sister drivers- Cameron and Ashley Hart were taught the ropes by White, while others include Chris Judd and David White, the latter being based in New Zealand. And the latest addition to the stable is youngster Grace Fahy, who is the new inductee to the role of stablehand. Meanwhile McLaughlin is hoping that 3yo Western Style can make it back to back wins at Wagga tonight. "He's the first pacer that I've raced. I own a share in him, and it would be great if we could get the money again," she said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The Victorian Harness Racing Club (VHRC) are very excited to announce in partnership with Australian Pacing Gold (APG) and Australian Premier Trotting Sale (APTS) a new race series commencing September 2020. This race series will offer up to $900,000 in financial benefits and will be shared between owners and trainers that are members of the VHRC for 2020/21 racing season. This new initiative to be promoted as the ‘VHRC–APG–APTS Super Bonus race series’ will consist of 26 dedicated race meetings with the majority being held across regional Victoria.  Every race on the program will provide bonuses above the advertised prizemoney consisting of $1500 cash payments and $1000 APG-APTS Sales Vouchers to the owners of the winning paid up horse and $500 to the winning trainer provided they are members of the VHRC.  A further added incentive for the winning owners that purchase a yearling at the APG-APTS sales will be that they receive a $500 discount on sustaining payments made in full on the day.  VHRC President Emmy Mazzetti said: “The VHRC has emerged itself not only here in Victoria but throughout Australia as the largest membership organisation representing owners in the harness racing industry. We have been working very closely with HRV CEO Dayle Brown and his executive team in developing a strategic plan to assist owners and participants with their future investments into this wonderful industry."  VHRC General Manager Rob Auber said: “The VHRC are committed to supporting HRV and the Victorian Government in stimulating the Victorian harness racing economy. This joint partnership is to provide confidence and support to our industry participants to continue investing into this great sport. We are very grateful to APG-APTS for supporting this initiative to grow our industry and I’m sure these additional bonuses will be welcomed by all owners and trainers.  "We wish to thank the regional clubs that are supporting this race series and we encourage all trainers and owners to support each club with their horse nominations and attendance at each of these race meetings once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.   "We make a passionate plea to anyone that loves harness racing to become a member of the VHRC ‘The Heart of Harness Racing' for the 2020/21 racing season. The strength of our future success is dependent on your membership support.” APG–APTS Deputy Chairman Peter Watkinson said: “The VHRC has some exciting plans that will make it an irresistible proposition for owners to join. The APG-APTS partnership with the VHRC is a perfect fit, and I’m confident that the partnership will help to continue the strong growth of the VHRC’s membership base, whilst providing APG-APTS with outstanding brand exposure and marketing opportunities." APG -APTS David Boydell General Manager said: “This ground-breaking partnership will provide a strong link between APG-APTS and VHRC’s rapidly expanding membership base. In particular, the 260 vouchers that APG-APTS will offer to the eligible winners of the ‘bonus races’ in 2020/21. This will create an army of potential buyers - each winner with $1000 vouchers and a $500 discount benefit that are exclusively redeemable at the 2021 APG and APTS Yearling Sales.” Further details regarding the VHRC-APG-APTS Super Bonus Series will be outlined in coming months. For any initial enquires please contact the VHRC Membership Manager Kelly Ternouth on 0408 570 197 or email vhrsc@vhrsc.com.au   VHRC/APG

The partnership of trainer Ray Williams and driver Aldo Cortopassi’s strong month continued at Pinjarra this afternoon, notching up another winner with exciting pacer Magnificent Storm. In conditions that matched his name, Magnificent Storm turned in another dominant display in the Contact @ AllwoodStud.com.au 3YO Pace at the Paceway. Magnificent Storm, who won on Australian debut last Tuesday night at Gloucester Park, showed there was plenty to like long term with a 9.2m win in the gloomy conditions. The American Ideal gelding worked to the front from barrier three and never looked in any danger of being beaten. Magnificent Storm rated 1.59.6 for the mile and ran home in a slick 57.7, given the rain-soaked track. Since the start of the month, Williams and Cortopassi have teamed up for six winners and two placings from 12 starters. They very nearly scored a seventh win for the month in the Allwood Stud – Breeding Your Future Champions Pace (2185m) with Shadow Roll, who went down a neck to Kilowatt Kid in a gripping battle down the home straight. Kilowatt Kid had to sit in the breeze for much of the last mile but was strong enough at the finish to score his third win in four starts in Australia. It was the third leg of a winning treble on the day for Greg and Skye Bond and Ryan Warwick, who also teamed up to score with Parmesan in the Rock N Roll World – Pedigree of the Future Pace (1684m). The Betterthancheddar gelding has now scored eight wins from 12 starts in his short career to date. Rebel With A Grin’s win in the Allwood Stud Stallions Pace (2631m) was the first winner on the day for Warwick and the Bond stable. Chris Voak also enjoyed a winning treble on the day, steering Chumani, Star Of Willoughby and Classic Choice to victory in the first half of the day. Meanwhile, three-time WA Pacing Cup winning driver Clint Hall has been disqualified for eight years after stewards found him guilty on three separate charges. Click here for more details. Tim Walker

The gavelhouse.com weanling sale, featuring 55 weanlings from Alabar NZ, is well underway. The harnes racing sale is generating considerable interest as it builds to its conclusion on Wednesday. The first lot closes at 1pm (NZ time), Wednesday 27 May. A real feature of the Alabar consignment is the number of lots that are Vicbred eligible. The $9.1 million Vicbred series is the jewel in the crown of Victorian racing. Foals bred in New Zealand are Vicbred eligible if they are sired by a Victorian based stallion. This is a huge advantage as they are eligible for both the Vicbred and also the NZ Sires Stakes. The weanlings being sold in the current gavelhouse.com sale can sustain their Vicbred eligibility by payment of NZ$240 by 31 August 2020. The possibility of the pin-hooking of weanlings for resale in Australia as yearlings is a highlight of this year's sale. This has been opened up by the fact that the recently announced Nutrien Australian National Yearling Sale set down for next April will not require Australian brands for yearlings to be eligible for entry in the sale. Vicbred eligibility will be highly desirable for any weanlings being purchased with this aim in mind. Twenty nine of the Alabar consignment are Vicbred eligible: Two by Always B Miki - both quality colts, one from a mare that won eight in NZ and the other from a Christian Cullen grand-daughter of Armalight. Seven by the champion sire, Art Major - these incl a full-brother to Alta Maestro, a half-brother to Gotta Go Ya Hu, a colt from (Famous) Alchemist, a full-sister to Star Galleria and fillies closely related to Chase Auckland and One Dream. Three by Rock N Roll Heaven - incl a half-sister to Classie Brigade and a filly from a daughter of Alta Serena. Nine by exciting new sire Vincent - incl fillies from Alta Serena and Twist N Shout, half-sisters to Eamon Maguire and Dynamite Denn Nee and a filly from a full sister to Monkey King. There are also two by Betterthancheddar, two by Shadow Play and four by Sunshine Beach (incl a half-sister to Alta Orlando). The full consignment is online on gavelhouse.com. For further information contact Cam Bray at NZB Standardbred (cam.bray@nzb.co.nz, 021 737 199) or Graeme Henley at Alabar NZ (graeme@alabar.co.nz, 0274 870 901).

Poster Boy's win to cap Tabcorp Park racing on Saturday night was fitting, with his reinsman Greg Sugars and trainer Emma Stewart combining for the victory and also finishing top of the pops in region-based racing. The curtain last night drew on stage one of region-based racing at Terang's Sunday meeting, with borders opening today as three regions replace the initial six. Sugars amassed 35 wins from 116 starts and Stewart 43 wins from 102 starts since the instalment of region-based racing on April 2, when it was introduced to limit movement and constrict the potential spread of COVID-19. While the Inner West region produced the top two performers, the East (Chris Alford), North-East (Josh Aiken) and Central (Alex Ashwood) also produced drivers in the statewide top five. Additionally, the East produced two of the top five trainers (Brent Lilley and David Miles), while Central's Glenn Douglas (21 wins from 109 starts) was second overall. And the West's Jilliby Sylvester was the first horse to amass four wins under region-based racing, a feat that would ultimately be shared with three others (Gobsmacked, Central; Santa Casa Beach, North East; Bernie Winkle, North West). CLICK HERE FOR THE INTERACTIVE REGION-BASED RACING FINAL RESULTS: Hear are the ladder leaders: Top 5 drivers: Greg Sugars (35 wins from 116 starts) 1st, Chris Alford (30 from 99) 2nd, Kate Gath (25 from 69) 3rd, Josh Aiken (23 from 79), Alex Ashwood (21 from 80) Top 5 trainers: Emma Stewart (43 from 102), Glenn Douglas (21 from 109), Brent Lilley (19 from 94), Andy Gath (19 from 73), David Miles (19 from 57). Region leaders: East: driver - Chris Alford; trainer - Brent Lilley. Inner West: driver - Greg Sugars; trainer - Emma Stewart. North East: driver - Josh Aiken; trainer - David Aiken. Central: driver - Alex Ashwood; trainer - Glenn Douglas. West: driver - Kerryn Manning; trainer - Marg Lee. North West: driver - Dwayne Locke; trainer - Boris Devcic.  Most winning horses: 4 wins - Gobsmacked (Central), Santa Casa Beach (North East), Jilliby Sylvester (West), Bernie Winkle (North West).   Harness Racing Victoria

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will unveil a new-look feature race calendar in early June but today revealed the 2020 Vicbred Super Series will be run in December, culminating in finals night on New Year’s Eve at Tabcorp Park Melton. HRV General Manager Stephen Bell said the Breeders Crown series would go ahead as planned in November before the Summer Vicbred Super Series. “We want to provide as much certainty to our participants as we can, so while we’re yet to finalise dates for the Vicbred Super Series I can confirm it will be held in December with the finals on New Year’s Eve at Melton,” Bell said. “The Breeders Crown will be run in November, and in early June we’ll release a new-look Victorian feature race calendar for when we come out of region-based racing on July 1. “The message to trainers is it’s time to start bringing your metropolitan class horses back into work because we want to hit the ground running in July.” In reaffirming July 1 as the target date for metropolitan and feature racing to return – providing the Government COVID-19 restrictions have not been escalated before that – Bell implored the industry to download the COVIDSafe App. “It’s important for all harness racing people to download that app because if there is an outbreak, we need to be able to trace it,” Bell said. “We all need to play our role and continue to observe the strict safety measures which will remain in place at harness tracks.” Attendance at Victorian tracks will continue to be restricted to only licenced people with a horse engaged at a race meeting, essential racing club and HRV staff, and all attendees must sign a declaration form upon arrival, undergo temperature checks and respect physical distancing at all times. Today HRV begins its three-region racing structure – consisting of East (Bendigo, Shepparton, Cranbourne, Kilmore), West (Stawell, Terang, Ballarat, Melton) and North-West (Mildura) – merging zones from the previous six-region structure put in place in early April. “The six-region model served us well during an uncertain time, allowing us to continue racing and our participants to keep earning income,” Bell said. “We have run significantly more race meetings than previously planned during this past two months and in coming weeks we envisage the horse population will grow as trainers bring back horses for the July resumption of metropolitan racing.” HRV has released programs for June 1-7, with June 8-14 available later this week. Race programs for the remainder of June will be released early next month.   Harness Racing Victoria

Rocky Creed’s victory in the TAB Riverina Championship Final was another all in the family affair replicating the team effort in the Western Region Final. The McPherson family who have wide ranging vocations of logging truck driver, nurse and Bunnings worker combined to cause an upset and deliver a dream come true with Rocky Creed at Wagga on Friday. Rocky Creed even starting in the $100,000 TAB Riverina Regional Final on Friday afternoon was the career highlight for trainer Chris McPherson and his brothers and fellow owners Shane and Scott McPherson. The fact he shocked harness racing punters by winning it is still sinking in for Chris McPherson. “We can’t believe it,” said Albury-based McPherson. “I had never even had a group one starter before let alone a winner. “With us drawing the second line and Whereyabinboppin (the $1.10 favourite) drawing the front we considered we were running for second or third.” But as racing can so often deliver the favourite was caught parked outside the leader and the 1:54.4 mile rate for the 2270m didn’t assist thus leaving it to Rocky Creed to deliver the knockout punch in the hands of driver Thomas Gilligan. Gilligan is also McPherson’s farrier and that connection sums up the Rocky Creed story. “We all chip in to help out here,” said trainer McPherson “I work him a lot of the time but I drive a logging truck for a job so my brother Scott helps out but he also has a full time job as a nurse. “And our nephew James, who works at Bunnings, also pitches in with the eight horses we have here and he usually drives Rocky at the races. “But he wasn’t licenced to drive in a group one race so Tom, our farrier, got the job of driving him.” The Riverina final was the second of the four $100,000 regional finals run across NSW and McPherson was inspired by fellow part-timer Malcolm Hutchings training Terryrama to win the Bathurst final on Wednesday night. “I was reading about Malcolm and their win on Wednesday at Bathurst and I thought, good on them, small time blokes getting a group one. “I even allowed myself to think, jeez, it would be great to be part of something like that. But I didn’t think it would actually happen. Now that it has wow what a feeling.” “So we got home after the races and stayed out at the stables celebrating till 2am, sitting around the fire laughing. I still can’t believe it happened. “But it is great these races were put on in the regions for people like us to at least have a chance and I must thank the TAB and Harness Racing New South Wales for continuing with the Championships.”   Harness Racing New South Wales

The relentless front-running display from Arden Voyager highlighted a stunning Saturday for reinswoman Kate Gath, who snared six winners across the double-header of meetings at Victorian harness racing headquarters. Prepared by Gath's trainer-husband Andy at their Long Forest base, the former New Zealand pacer produced a brilliant all-the-way victory in the TAB Long May We Play Pace (2240m, NR 79-89). He ran quarters of 29, 28.9, 28.1 and 28.8 seconds and recorded a of 1:55:2 mile rate on a wet Tabcorp Park Melton track. It was a breathtaking performance from the four-year-old, who has now won three of his past four starts at the circuit. Gath could hardly believe her horse was able to fight off all challengers after working so hard during the early stages of the race. "I haven't had one pull that hard for a while and I just thought in the run that he is pulling himself into the ground," she told Trots Vision. "I was really concerned, but I didn't know he could do that. "It was a really good field and he just shouldn't have been able to hold on against those sort of horses." Watch the race here. Gath said the stable had really liked the son of Somebeachsomewhere when he was purchased as a three-year-old from overseas, but he had gone "off the boil" for a period of time until recapturing his best over the past couple of months. "Obviously now his last three or four runs he's finally showing us what we knew was always there," she said. Arden Voyager's success was one of four for Gath on the Melton night program and followed a double from the morning meeting. Gath's heroics in the sulky came soon after a four-peat at Ballarat last Tuesday night and included the successful return of Group 1-winning trotter McLovin - who took out the Alderbaran Park Trot (2240m, NR 70-120) - and was another of Andy Gath's four winners for the day. An effortless triumph from Emma Stewart's star pacer Poster Boy was among the highlights on Saturday, as was the big victory by promising Jess Tubbs-trained trotter Overandout. Driver Greg Sugars was almost sent crashing through the outside fence when the four-year-old squargaiter veered abruptly over the concluding stages of the Beraldo Coffee Trot (1720m, 4YO and older) but still managed to prevail by close to 30m. Sugars said he thought the horse had taken exception to something flashing on the semaphore board located on the inside of the track near the winning post. "He is a keen watcher of Trots Vision when he is at home not racing and I think he just wanted to head over to here to where we are now to talk to you Rob," Sugars joked with host Rob Auber during a post-race interview. First-Starter Form Your guide to today’s trots debutants Bendigo tonight Race 1: CPO Cafe Carisbrook 3YO Pace N8 Thump (3YO Village Jolt gelding out of Umi; trainer Paul Watson, driver Jordan Leedham): First foal out of five-time winning It Is I mare. Race 4: Schweppes Trot N5 Flick It (4YO Fling It mare out of Sli Trix, trainer Bill White, driver Ian White) Six-time winning Sundon mare's Great Great Granddam is Maori Miss, a dominant line in Victorian trotting.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

The Little Brown Jug winner Million Dollar Cam, who stands at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga (NSW), recently passed the $33 million mark in progeny earnings. The total includes $4 million in Australia. Million Dollar Cam was represented by three winners during the past week and has left 36 individual winners in Australia this season and more than $500,000 in stakes. Recent winners by Million Dollar Cam have been the Yirribee Stud bred gelding Sword And Shield, a winner at Redcliffe in 1:58.3, Isntthatright (1:57.6, Wagga) and the Bathurst winner The Girls Have It. Companion sire Lombo Pocket Watch also weighed in with two important winners last week. The Black Assassin outfinished his rivals at Menangle in 1:54.1 to record his 21st win, while Time Keepa Lombo captured the Riverina Region Championship Consolation at Wagga. A second Yirribee Stud winner for the week was the three-year-old gelding Immortal Bridge, who notched his first win going 1:57.9 at Wagga.   By Peter Wharton

A bright future is being predicted for the Changeover five-year-old harness racing mare With The Band NZ, whose end to end success at Redcliffe last night (May 24) was her seventh from nine starts on Australian soil. The mare has now won 10 races including eight this season. Watch the race here. Changeover was also represented with two metropolitan winners this week in Controversial NZ, a winner in 1:55.9 at Menangle, and Tiz A Sizzler NZ (1:55.9, Albion Park), who has won five races this season. Changeover, who stands at Burwood Stud in Queensland, has left 91 individual winners in Australia and New Zealand this season and they have amassed $1.55 million in stakemoney.   By Peter Wharton

EMERGING star Wolf Stride continued a fairy tale first season for the Anthony Butt/Emilio Rosati partnership with a sparkling win in last night’s $100,000 Group 1 TAB Metropolitan Region Championship final. It comes after Rosati, Butt and Butt’s finance, Sonya Smith, have already enjoyed phenomenal success in their first season as a team, largely through the likes of superstar three-year-olds Line Up and Elite Stride. But Wolf Stride looks every bit as exciting as that pair. The four-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven has really grown on Butt, who said his opinion of Wolf Stride has “gone to the next level in the past six weeks or so.” Butt declared Wolf Stride a “Grand Circuit horse in the making” headed into last night’s final, which he worked to the front in and never looked troubled. Butt put the foot down with a 27.5sec split from 1200-800m and Wolf Stride still ran his closing splits in 54.9 and 27.9sec to win by nine metres in a slick 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2300m. “He felt fantastic. He’s very exciting. The more we’ve asked of him, especially in the past six weeks or so, the more he’s kept improving,” Butt said. A thrilled Rosati heaped praise on Butt. “He’s been my missing link, he’s a terrific trainer and a champion driver,” he said. “This horse has always had ability, but we’ve been patient and Anthony’s starting to get the best out of him now.” Craig Cross qualified five of the 10 finalists, but had to be content with a brave second from Culture King and third spot with Bettor Robyn. Wolf Stride broke the run of major upsets in the Regional Championship finals after being crunched from $3.50 into $2.60 favourite. Earlier in the night, 18-year-old driver Jack Callaghan and popular Newcastle trainer Clayton Harmey both their first Group 1 when Kayne Crusader led throughout and dug-deep to win the $100,000 Hunter Region final at Newcastle. Kayne Crusader, also a son of Rock N Roll Heaven, was a $17 shot. The first two Regional finals also provided maiden Group 1 wins and wonderful stories. It started with Terryrama for father-and-son Malcolm and Brett Hutchings in the Western final at Bathurst on Wednesday night. Then came trainer Chris McPherson and driver Thomas Gilligan who landed the Riverina final at Wagga prize with Rocky Creed. Those first three results will surely give Harness Racing NSW food for thought about sticking with a regional format, which they were forced to revert to because of COVID-19.   By Adam Hamilton

There was no room for sentiment when driving young gun Jack Callaghan scored his first group one win in the $100,000 TAB Hunter Regional Final in NSW on Saturday night. The 18-year-old showed composure beyond his years after Kanye Crusader broke a hopple soon after the start, an incident which would have proved disastrous. But the four-year-old pacer overcame the setback to give Callaghan the final of the Hunter regional series and in doing so he beat out his father Mark, who drove runner-up Master Catch, by a half neck. “That just made it better,” laughed Jack. Mark, as you might imagine, has been Jack’s greatest supporter since he started race driving 23 months ago and the youngster still works for his father. “He has been a great help but at the top of the straight last night I thought he was going to beat me,” says Jack. “But my horse tries really hard and after the line Dad said to me: ‘well one of us has got it, I think it is you. “So he was stoked for me as well.” Kanye Crusader is trained by Clayton Harmey, who has also been a big supporter of Callaghan but the drive could so easily have gone to fellow young driving star Blake Hughes. Hughes won the qualifying heat on Kayne Crusader but was ineligible for the group one drive as he doesn’t have his A-grade licence yet. “The same thing happened to me last year in a group two at Wagga, I had a horse for the final but couldn’t drive it because I didn’t have my A licence,” said Callaghan. Callaghan and Hughes are two of the exciting young drivers starring in the Hunter region, along with others like Tom Ison, with all having recorded five-win bags at single meetings recently. But last night’s final got almost more exciting than Callaghan could have wished for after Kanye Crusader’s early mishap which left one of his front hopples flapping around his leg, not only useless but potentially dangerous. “When it broke I just closed my eyes and hoped he wouldn’t fall,” says Callaghan. “But after that it didn’t seem to bother him which is pretty incredible.” Callaghan is hoping to bring his skills to Menangle more often once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and that will mean teaming up with Dad rather than beating him. “Dad has some Menangle type horses and I want to drive there as often as I can when I get the chance.”   Michael Guerin

WHEN you think feature Queensland races, you think Grant Dixon. So it’s no surprise Dixon three of the six Qbred Triad final winners at Albion Park last night. The splurge started in the 4YO Mares’ final where Dixon had seven runners and trained the first six home, headed by winner Eternal Promise with Adam Sanderson aboard. Dixon then landed the quinella in the 3YO Fillies’ final when he drove Fond Memories to beat True Stepper, driven by his wife, Trista. The class runner of the night was Victoria Derby runner-up Governor Jujon, who strolled home in the 3YO colts and geldings final. Chantal Turpin had a night to remember when she snared the quinella in the 2YO colts and geldings final. She drove Big Wheels to win with Pete McMullen aboard runner-up Justa Little Bit. ________________________________________________________________________________________ EMOTIONS ran high Friday night when Arts Dash won at Kilmore Friday night. Arts Dash was owned by Graeme Lang, who passed away last Monday, and scored an impressive win for Lang’s son, Chris, with Chris Alford aboard. The Lang legacy also lived on at Shepparton on the same night when emerging pacer Sirletic, formerly by the late Gavin Lang and part-owned by his wife, Meagan, won easily. Sirletic, who is continuing to race in Gavin Lang’s colours, made it two-from-two in the comeback trail and 12 wins from just 19 starts overall. _________________________________________________________________________________________ CHICAGO Bull found a way at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The comeback star lifted off a hard run and when seemingly in trouble to snatch a half-head win in the free-for-all at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It was a big win after driver Chris Voak rated Vultan Tin superbly in front and Chicago Bull had to run a 55.7sec last half outside the leader to win. Chicago Bull’s had six runs on the comeback trail for three wins, two seconds and a third. Maybe being Chicago Bull’s trackwork partner has helped young former Kiwi mare Balcatherine take the next step, The four-year-old daughter of American Ideal led throughout and toyed with her rivals in the Pure Steel at Gloucester Park last Friday. It was her second win on end and her sixth from just 12 starts. “She’s actually been Chicago Bull’s sparring partner at home because we haven’t had the open-class horses we’ve had in recent years,” driver Gary Hall Jr said. “She’s come back really well and did that easily.” Another eye-catching winner on the night was Greg and Skye Bond’s The Bird Dance, who galloped at the start and added to his 20m backmark, but circled the field to win in stunning style. The former Kiwi has won 11 of his 15 runs since joining Team Bond. ______________________________________________________________________________________ STILL in WA and emerging filly Blockjorg caused a massive a huge upset winning her heat of the 3YO Diamond Classic, but proved it was no fluke by repeating the dose in the $50,000 final last Friday. Most were stunned when Blockjorg came off the back of WA’s best filly Double Expresso and beat her in a heat. Jocelyn Young snared the same run in the final, but this time trailing hot favourite Alta Louisa with Double Expresso sitting parked. Double Expresso powered past Alta Louisa, but Young peeled to the and Colin Reeves-trained Blockjorg unleashed to win by 1.5m in a brisk 1min56.5sec mile rate for 2130m. _________________________________________________________________________________________ IT was a very long, but fruitful day for Kate Gath at Melton yesterday (Saturday). Gath won six of the 13 races run across the morning and night meetings. She started with two of the six winners at the morning meeting, then won four of the seven at night. No doubt the highlight was the winning return of star trotter McLovin, who did all the work, but won strongly in a 1min58.9sec mile rate for 2240m. It was his first run since the Great Southern Star at Melton back on February 1. Gath also confirmed Tornado Valley was just resuming work after a spell. _________________________________________________________________________________________ CASH N Flow continued his recent dominance of the Menangle free-for-alls with a fifth successive win last night. The former All Stars’ pacer loves the mile racing and won as he liked in a 1min50sec flat mile. He’s remarkably consistent with the five wins all coming in times between 1min49.6sec and 1min50.1sec.   by Adam Hamilton

The regional city of Albury in the NSW Riverina region will become party central after two significant harness racing victories within three days. "There's no doubt going to be a fair bit of celebrating going on this week, that's for sure," happy-go-lucky reinsman Thomas Gilligan said. "It's just been a purple patch to remember forever-we all do it on a hobby basis and to have success like this is just so rewarding. It's just unreal," he said. Gilligan of Table Top, an outer suburb of Albury, landed the biggest win of his career when successful on 40/1 shot Rocky Creed (Pet Rock-Miss Toolern Vale (Bettors Delight) in the TAB Riverina Region G1 $100,000 Championship Final at Wagga on Friday. To watch the video replay click on this link And just two days later at the same track, his fiancée Brooke McPherson was the winning owner/trainer of Rusty Crackers (Dawn Ofa New Day-Dilingers Comment (D M Dilinger) in the $9690 Iron Jack Wagga Pacers Cup. To watch the video replay click on this link Gilligan said the victories were real family affairs with Brooke's uncle Chris being the trainer of Rocky Creed, while her brother James was the winning driver of Rusty Crackers. "It was probably a once in a lifetime thing for me. I was just so fortunate to pick up the drive because James wasn't eligible to compete in a Group One-but it all worked out well because he snagged the Wagga Cup!" Gilligan said. An elated Thomas Gilligan after scoring his first Group One success and biggest win on Rocky Creed  (Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser Photo) "It was my first-ever Group one success and yeah I've heard that I'm now known as Group One Gilligan," he said. "I had a nice run and when I hit the front, I was just going for home. The second horse went well too - it kept kicking and was hanging in there. "And Rusty Crackers has been great this season. We've won 12 races with him since he joined our stable, including the Temora and Christmas Cups and runner-up in the Griffith Cup." Brooke said the "musical chairs" on driving engagements was an odd turn of events. "James was replaced by Thomas in the Group One, but then James came out and won the Wagga Cup for us. It probably shows it's a good thing to have more than one driver in the family!" Gilligan is a third-generation horseman in the sport, following in the footsteps of his father Shane, and his late grandfather Ron. "I got my licence when I was 17 and after about 14 drives, I had a break. I went off playing football and doing some other sports," he said. "I came back and decided over the last nine years to have a real go at it. As well as helping out Brooke, I'm also a farrier by trade now. We all train out of a nice complex where we lease the front stables and paddocks and use the 700m jog track. We do our fastwork in at Albury." Gilligan said all the McPhersons combined training and racing the horses with full-time employment including nursing, retail, logging and a car rental business. "Chris has seven in work, while Brooke is doing three or four at the moment. Nearly all of them do shift work, but the horses always get done properly," he said. "I must be honest and say I'm sort of glad I didn't have a drive at the Wagga Cup meeting because my Group One celebrations started the previous night and we did give it a bit of a nudge, but it was fantastic night. "We all enjoy doing it and family wins like these are great, but on the back of each other they're pretty special- both horses went super. They've done a top job with them." Hoofnote: The running of the recent three TAB regional championship finals proved to be a graveyard for punters. The Western Region final at Bathurst on Wednesday saw Terryrama win at 81/1. Three nights later Newcastle hosted the Hunter Region final with 17/1 chance Kanye Crusader land first prize. Then it was Rocky Creeds turn to shine at Wagga at 40/1. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E hello@newsalertpr.com.au   W www.newsalertpr.com.au      

When the three-year-old filly Blockjorg divebombed her rivals in the Group 2 harness racing $50,000 Diamond Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night (May 22) she credited her sire He’s Watching with his first Group winner from his first crop, now just three-year-olds, in Australia.  Blockjorg, who finished an unlucky second in the Diamond Classic as a two-year-old, has shown up as a very smart filly winning the fastest heat 10 days earlier, and it was a strong field she beat at Gloucester Park. She has now won five races with eight placings from 24 starts for $78,621 in stakes. To watch the video replay click on this link Blockjorg, who was bred and is raced by the Clarina Racing Syndicate, is the third foal of Toobee Three, a lightly raced daughter of the No Nukes sire Legacy Of Power. He’s Watching 1:46.8 ($1.1 million), a world champion two-year-old and Meadowlands Pace winner, has left 13 individual three-year-old winners from his first crop this season. Besides Blockjorg, he is also the sire of the George Croxford Tribute winner Private Eye (1:54.6), the Melton winner Born To Be Watched (1:54.6), Raksjameson NZ, who is unbeaten in WA, and the Menangle winner Experia (1:54.4). From his second Australian crop He’s Watching is the sire of the brilliant youngster Watchmedazzle, who has won twice at Shepparton, as well as several metropolitan placegetters. In North America, He’s Watching was one of the leading two-year-old sires in last year’s rich Ontario Sires Stake program, siring the quinella pair Tattoo Artist and Examiner Hanover in the $225,000 OSS Super Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park. This was also the first and oldest crop by He's Watching in Canada. He’s Watching is now standing at the Tipperary Equine stud, Young, of one of NSW’s leading studmasters Luke Primmer. Now is your chance to buy a He's Watching weanling at the NZB Standardbred All Age Sale currently running and ending in three days at the gavelhouse.com  Auction. There are eight weanlings for sale and here they are; Lot 15 - He's Watching / Millview Sarah Lot 41 - He's Watching / Samantha Chloe Lot 55 - He's Watching / Tempest Bromac Lot 76 - He's Watching / Alta Michaela Lot 92 - He's Watching / Chevelle Star Lot 100 - He's Watching / Darkofthemoon Lot 116 - He's Watching / Georgia's Belle Lot 120 - He's Watching / Hip Pocket Peter Wharton  

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