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GRAND Circuit winner Tiger Tara was crowned New South Wales Horse of the Year at tonight’s Arthur J. Gallagher Harness Racing NSW Awards Night at the Sofitel Sydney. Having received 66 per cent of the votes to be given this honour, Tiger Tara had a stellar 2017/18 season competing in Australasia’s most prestigious races. Harness Racing NSW would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of tonight’s award winners. Listed below are all of tonight’s award winners which were presented in front of a large crowd, hosted by Greg Hayes. HORSE OF THE YEAR AWARDS Arthur J. Gallagher NSW Horse of the Year: Tiger Tara Cockburn & Co NSW Two-Year-Old of the Year: Miss Halfpenny Cockburn & Co NSW Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pacer of the Year: Muscle Factory Cockburn & Co NSW Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year: Miss Halfpenny Stablecraft NSW Two-Year-Old Trotter of the Year: Caligula KS Black & Co NSW Three-Year-Old of the Year: Ignatius KS Black & Co NSW Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding Pacer of the Year: Ignatius KS Black & Co NSW Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year: Art Series IntelliTek NSW 3YO Trotter of the Year: Drop The Hammer Club Menangle NSW Aged Horse of the Year: Tiger Tara  Club Menangle NSW Aged Entire/Gelding Pacer of the Year: Tiger Tara Club Menangle NSW Aged Mare Pacer of the Year: My Rona Gold Bulli HRC NSW Aged Trotter of the Year: War Dan Destroyer Ladex Construction NSW Broodmare of the Year: Miss Brazillian Ladex Construction NSW Sire of the Year: For A Reason PARTICIPANT AWARDS TAB Kevin Newman Award For Driving Excellence: Anthony Winnell Daily Form Service Junior Trainer Encouragement Award: Melanie Elder Lexus of Parramatta Junior Driver Encouragement Award: Madi Young KARI Foundation Indigenous Participant of the Year: Royce Gregory-Jack Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Leading Hobbyist Driver: Anthony Adams Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Leading Hobbyist Trainer: Brett Woodhouse Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Leading Trotting Trainer and Driver: Blake Fitzpatrick Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Champion Junior Driver: Chris Geary Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Champion Driver: Todd McCarthy Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Champion Trainer: KerryAnn Turner Harness Breeders NSW – NSW Breeder of the Year: Colin and Cheryl McDowell Outstanding contribution to the Breeding Industry: Andrew Daniels NSW Owners Association NSW Owner of the Year: Brett Woodhouse, Sally Woodhouse, Shane Felke Lexus of Parramatta Club Menangle First Lady Award: Emma Stewart Lexus of Parramatta Club Menangle Metropolitan Driver: Todd McCarthy Lexus of Parramatta Club Menangle Metropolitan Trainer: Shane and Lauren Tritton DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDS HRNSW Don Clough Award: Ray Mawhood and John Brien HRNSW Industry Contribution Award: Jim Bell HRNSW Club Volunteer Awards: Arthur Yates (Tamworth HRC), Gary Punch (Leeton HRC), Pauline Read (Bankstown HRC), Peter Dennis (Coolamon HRC), Peter Muller (Bathurst HRC), Wendy Dennis (Coolamon HRC). TABCORP CLUB AWARDS Best Community Engagement Club: Broken Hill HRC Best Fraternity Engagement Club: Coolamon HRC Best New Innovation Club (Promotion/Marketing): Tamworth HRC Best Club with a feature race to a maximum of $50,000: Eugowra HRC Best Club with a feature race to a maximum of $25,000: Albury HRC Best Club with a feature to race to a maximum of $14,000: Leeton HRC Best Club with a feature to a maximum of $12,000: Cowra HRC   AMANDA RANDO HRNSW MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Successful in the inaugural Australian Reinswomens’ Championship in Tasmania last November, Dani Hill is aiming to become the undisputed Aussie title holder. Having also captured the 2009 Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship in Queensland, Hill is looking to be the first driver to secure each of the three ‘belts’. “I’m just so thrilled to be a part of the night,” Hill said. “It’s not often you get to compete against and catch up with the various interstate drivers. “A lot of it comes down to luck with the draws, so I’ll just have to wait until next week for when the fields to come out to assess my chances.” Drives: 7,814 Wins: 1,534 Prizemoney won: $4,990,000   HRSA

Chicago Bull has stamped himself as the one to beat for the New Zealand Cup on November 13, following an impressive win in the Garrard's New Zealand Pace (2200m) at Alexandra Park this afternoon. The gelding was competing in his first standing start event and was slow away after the start. The six-year-old was able to slowly work his way back in touch with the rest of the field on the first lap, before making his way to the breeze past the winning post the penultimate time. Reinsman Gary Hall Jnr then poured the pressure on Jack's Legend, who was his nearest rival in the market, before he went on to win by two-and-a-half lengths.   Tim Walker

PREMIER horseman Ryan Hryhorec will be doing his best impression of Frankie Laine at Globe Derby on November 3. One of the leading drivers and trainers at the venue, Hryhorec will don South Australian silks throughout the night as he competes in the Australian Drivers’ Championship. No stranger to the series, Hryhorec finished second behind Wayne Hill in the 2016 edition at Globe Derby. This time around Hryhorec will compete against local heroin Dani Hill and a host of the nation’s premier drivers. “It’s one Hill after another,” Hryhorec said. “Add some of the best drivers we have and I’m facing a mountain this time! “I’m really looking forward to the night as these events are always good for morale, but every driver also takes it pretty seriously when they get out on the track. “Hopefully I will get a few decent drives and draws and be able land a win or two.” Drives: 10,583 Wins: 1853 Prizemoney won: $5,957,000   HRSA

Trainer-reinsman Kristian Hawkins is primed to record a feature race double at Gloucester Park tomorrow night with a strong hand in the Parliamentarians Cup and the Preux Chevalier Final. Hawkins has Danieljohn and The Trilogy engaged in the $30,000 Parliamentarians Cup (2130m) from barriers one and two respectively, with the latter coming off a win at Kelleberrin last Sunday, while Danieljohn was fourth at Pinjarra on Monday. The Trilogy is the shorter price of the pair at $5, while Danieljohn is at $7.50 with TABtouch and Hawkins said he expected bold showing both tomorrow night. “I expect my two will come out alongside each other,” he said. “I don’t want Danieljohn doing too much early. “The ideal scenario would probably see King Of Swing in front, The Trilogy on his back, then Danieljohn behind him.” Hawkins said he hoped The Trilogy would measure up in tomorrow night’s feature, before he looked to aim the six-year-old towards the WA Pacing Cup in the New Year. “He needs to win some races to get there,” he said. “He’s held his own behind Chicago Bull previously. “He’s certainly good enough to be in this race.” Corey Peterson has the ride on Danieljohn, while Hawkins drives The Trilogy. Hawkins holds an even stronger hand in the $30,000 Preux Chevalier Final (2130m), where he has three of the first four in the TABtouch Market. Dontstopbelievin won the Qualifying Heat for the Preux Chevalier on October 12 from barrier four and she is rated a $1.75 chance to win the final. Firstjoy ($9.50) and She Could Be Good ($2.75) finished second and fourth respectively behind their stablemate in the Qualifying Heat. Firstjoy was also a winner at Kelleberrin last Sunday. Dontstopbelievin has barrier five tomorrow night, while She Could Be Good and Firstjoy have barrier two and three respectively. Hawkins said he was having a difficult time trying to work out the tactics for his three runners, particularly those. “I really don’t know what to do with She Could Be Good and Dontstopbelievin so I think I will leave it to the owners,” he said. “I think both of them have the speed to cross the one. “Dontstopbelievin will improve off the two week break. “She had three runs in 12 days leading up to her last run and she was a little bit jaded. “Firstjoy isn’t out of this race either, she does need a soft run though. “She’s probably a chance of taking a sit in the moving line.” Dylan Egerton-Green retains the drive on Dontstopbelievin, while Hawkins teams up with She Could Be Good and Ryan Warwick is engaged to drive Firstjoy. The Gloucester Park meeting gets underway at 5.10pm tomorrow.   Tim Walker

The 2015 Victorian Horse of the Year, Menin Gate, is exactly the kind of horse racing fans warm to; a fierce competitor with a will to win and a tenacity that stables him in the hearts of punters. His trainer and driver, Michael Stanley (of Burrumbeet), describes Menin Gate as "a warrior", and now that he's back, all going well, he promises to be a headline act at this year's Victorian TAB Inter Dominion. Last Friday night's courageous 3SH Swan Hill Cup win saw Menin Gate's customary fight in full view, holding off fitter challengers such as Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup winner Im The Boss and rising metro star Magical Marn to win the second leg of the Victorian Trots Country Cups Championship at his first run back in almost 18 months. "He'd been in work for quite some time," Stanley told RSN's One Out, One Back this morning. Read the full story here   Cody Winnell Trots Media

Most members of the WA Trotting Media Guild have put the budding stars on top in their respective races. Veteran tipster Stuart Lowe and The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft have made Bechers Brook their best bet on the 10-event card. “My best bet is Bechers Brook, who has won four of his last five starts,” Lowe said. “Won easily at his only two starts this season. Looks a class above his rivals here.” And Havercroft was even more enthusiastic about Bechers Brook. “Bechers Brook’s run last week was one of the best produced at Gloucester Park in a long time and he gets into this race very nicely,” Havercroft said. “It’s staggering to think there may yet be improvement in him after only two runs since a spell.” Guild president Wayne Currall believes King Of Swing is poised to bounce back to winning form after his last-start sixth behind Vampiro in the Mount Eden Sprint. “Punters would be wise to put a line through King Of Swing’s last start,” Currall said. “He just never got into the race last week and will be much better suited over the longer journey. He can return to the winners’ list here.” Longshot king Pat Harding, novice racecaller Hayden King, The West Australian’s Ernie Manning and the newest member of the Guild, Tim Walker from RWWA are all keen on Benhope Rulz. Manning summed up the thoughts of his colleagues.  “Benhope Rulz is a talented four-year-old who appears to hold an edge against older pacers on Friday night and he shapes as a genuine prospect for the $200,000 Golden Nugget (2536m) at Gloucester Park in December,” Manning said. “The gelding recently won at four consecutive starts and there was plenty of merit in his last-start fourth from gate eight.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas has earmarked The Buckeye Bullet as his star bet. “The formidable combination of Forrestdale trainers Greg and Skye Bond and reinsman Ryan Warwick has made a flying start to the 2018-19 season and promising three-year-old The Buckeye Bullet has bright prospects of victory on Friday night,” Casellas said. “The New Zealand-bred The Buckeye Bullet is awkwardly drawn out wide at barrier seven in the 2130m event, but he has the ability to overcome this disadvantage and is my best bet on the program. He is capable of making amends for his most unlucky third at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he met with severe interference 750m from home and broke into a fierce gallop.” Last season’s leading tipster Matt Young has made squaregaiter Lightning Calder his best bet. “Lightning Calder is absolutely flying and looks the winner in the last and should be an anchor in all multis with the appointment of the Voak Train,” Young said. VALUE BETS Stuart: My value bet is Soho Wonder, who trailed Jack Mac last week  before being beaten a length and a half. Was placed at two of his previous starts. Looks close to a win. Ryan: Bruce Stanley astutely prepares his team of trotters and I’d expect The Male Model to perform well at his local debut. Brings sound numerical Sydney form and history says he is steady in his gait. Wayne: In a race where there looks like there’ll be lots of pace on with odds-on favourite Eden Franco drawn wide, Forever Remembered can never be underestimated. Pat: Happy to give Arthur Lowe another chance in race three. I think he can win from barrier three. He's been knocking on the door and this could be his night. Hayden: Mister Ardee will get a beautiful run and if the breaks go his way on the turn he can finish hard to win. Ernie: Ideal One has not been placed in four Gloucester Park starts, but he has been impressive in recent wins at Pinjarra. The gelding also ran two seconds there earlier this month and he appears ready for city success. Tim: Hastalavista was terrorised in the lead by Mister Editorial on Tuesday at headquarters. He’s drawn to lead here and could be hard to roll with an easier time in front. Ken: For value, I suggest Pick My Pocket in race six. Pick My Pocket is sure to be improved after her good first-up third behind Dontstopbelievin last Friday week. Matt: Im Full Of Excuses is not the best GP performer, but I’ve liked a few of his runs and think he could be sweeping home strongly at odds here. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting Wayne Currall

Finding a horse with the ability to score five wins on the trot is like finding a needle in a lucerne bale, so it's no surprise it took Russell Maisner four decades and just as many generations of breeding to find one in Abridged.  Maisner, whose first taste of the trots was attending the Showgrounds as a 10-year-old in the 1970s, will be at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night watching the unbeaten four-year-old shoot for win number six in the 1720m Fixwell Smash Repairs Pace.  But the story behind this promising pacer is anything but abridged. It all started in the early 1990s; Maisner was driving in races – his main passion – for about a decade while forging a corporate career to pay the bills. Along came Lady Muck, a Muckalee Strike mare who won six races from 13 starts for Brian Hancock in 1990/91. “(She was) the first horse we bought,” he said. “There were a couple of friends (in on her, but) we dissolved the partnership (and) I kept her.” Maisner bred Laconic, a filly out of star sire What’s Next. He raced her 21 times with wife Karen Dunwoodie for nine wins, including winning the 2001 Australian Pacing Gold three-year-old fillies’ final with good friend Darren Hancock aboard. He said Laconic, who was trained by Peter and Kerryn Manning, was the fastest horse he had owned.  “She just had blinding speed, brilliant gate speed and as long as you didn’t look at her from the knees down she was a beautiful horse,” he said. “She won (the APG final) with bone chips in both her knees, so we never saw the best of her.” Laconic was sent to the breeding barn and it didn’t take long for her to excel. Her first foal, by US sire Panorama, was Abbreviated – the dam of Abridged. He brought good friend, Sydneysider John Chase, on board. “John had been in the thoroughbreds and had a horse with Gai Waterhouse but didn’t really enjoy the experience of a syndicate,” he said. “So we went halves and John put his wife in and I put my wife in (as co-owners) and he has been my partner now for 14 years.” Abbreviated, also trained at Great Western, won eight races – including one with Maisner on board – between 2006 and 2008 until injury issues again took their toll. But Abbreviated would shine as a broodmare, with her first three starters – the last Abridged – all winning at least four races. The fourth, three-year-old Brevity, is also looking promising. The son of late, brilliant Alabar stallion Mach Three, Abridged won those races faster than any horse Maisner had owned or driven. “We know he will get beaten as it gets harder. I don’t know where we will end up, you harbour dreams (of winning top-flight races) deep down in your soul,” he said. “But it is hope and so you just go ‘we will just enjoy the wins as they come’. We saviour every win; we don’t take anything for granted.” Maisner doesn’t take his love for driving for granted either: He has driven in almost 100 races since 1980, winning six of them. He is so passionate about sitting in the sulky he makes almost weekly 300km round trips from his Hawthorn home to Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s Smythes Creek stables for the privilege. He said he loved the professionalism of Stewart, who along with regular driver Chris Alford departed Sunday night’s Gordon Rothacker Medal celebration with a suitcase of trophies.  “The reason why I drive the distances I do to go there is just because I love the way they train, I love their approach to the horses,” he said. The regular trips also give him a chance to see the treasure chest of quality four-year-olds at Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s stables, the likes of Poster Boy, Ride High and Konan to name a few. “I know we think reasonably well of Abridged, but I drive these horses and it is like, ‘err, I don’t know if we want to meet any of these’,” he said. “You look at them, there’s probably about six or seven of them on the list. It is very intimidating.” Regardless of what the future holds, Maisner is always looking forward with hope – and with good reason. Abbreviated is one a handful broodmares booked in to be served with Mach Three’s final reserves of frozen sperm. All going well, a full brother to Abridged is on the way.   Shaun Campbell for Trots Media

Western Australia’s superstar pacer Chicago Bull will break fresh ground when he makes his first appearance in a standing-start event, in a $17,000 stand over 2200m at Auckland’s Alexandra Park on Friday night. The champion six-year-old, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, looks vastly superior to his six rivals and should notch his 40th victory at his 61st start in a race. Chicago Bull will start from the maximum back mark of 20m, with his chief rivals Lets Elope and Jacks Legend the two off the 10m line. Chicago Bull is a well-behaved and laid-back character who has begun smoothly in his only two appearances in standing-start trials and Hall is confident the brilliant gelding will be on his best behaviour behind the barrier strands. This will be a valuable lead-up for Chicago Bull before he contests the $800,000 New Zealand Cup, a stand over 3200m at Addington in Christchurch on Tuesday November 13. Lets Elope and Jacks Legend are also nominated for the big race. One of Chicago Bull’s toughest opponents in the New Zealand Cup will be Tiger Tara, who led all the way and beat Chicago Bull into second place in the 2200m Victoria Cup at Melton two Saturdays ago. Lets Elope is a ten-year-old in the twilight of his career of 158 starts for 25 wins and 45 placings for earnings of $559,129, while five-year-old Jacks Legend has raced 28 times for six wins and 12 placings for stakes of $329,131. Lets Elope and Jacks Legend clashed in a 2700m stand at Alexandra Park on October 12 when Lets Elope, a 16/1 chance off 10m, raced in third place on the pegs for the first lap before dashing to the front and going on to win at a 2.1.6 rate from the fast-finishing Jacks Legend. The final 800m was covered in 55.4sec. and the last 400m in 27.5sec. This ended a losing sequence of 33 fort Lets Elope, whose previous victory was in a $20,000 Free-For-All over 2190m at Mildura on April 8, 2017. Jacks Legend has a losing sequence of ten, with his most recent victory being in a 2700m stand at Alexandra Park in October last year. Two starts before that, Jacks Legend won the Group 1 Emerald for three-year-old colts and geldings, starting at 45/1 and beating hot favourite Ultimate Machete.   Ken Casellas

On the eve of his return to racing in New Zealand Chicago Bull’s managing owner Beth Richardson was last night awarded Life Membership of the WA Trotting Association at the 2018 Annual General Meeting. Chicago Bull is scheduled to start at Auckland’s Alexandra Park tomorrow night on his way to next month’s New Zealand Cup in Christchurch. Chicago Bull’s last start in New Zealand was on 30th May 2015 when he finished seventh in the Group One 2yo Emerald won by Lazarus. Mrs Richardson has raced horses since the mid 1960’s and Beth has now owned or part-owned 971 winners (127 individual horses). To date 702 of those winners have been in Perth at Gloucester Park and Richmond Raceway with 107 individual horses involved and Mrs Richardson owned her first Gloucester Park winner some 54 years ago courtesy of Pukka Sahib. Mrs Richardson has had 30 individual trainers of her 971 winners with Gary Hall training 855 of them. The first winner Hall trained for Mrs Richardson was Wilby Rich at Northam on 23rd May 1987. Wilby Rich was bred by Mrs Richardson in partnership with her husband John. The 855 winners trained by Gary Hall for Beth Richardson includes a remarkable 26 at Group One level,  32 at Group Two level and 19 at Group Three level, The first of those Group One winners was Tealsby Karita which won the WA Pacing Cup on 23rd March 2007 which means the 26 Group One wins have come in just 11 years. The balance of Mrs Richardson’s Group One winners comprises three-time Inter Dominion winner Im Themightyquinn, Chicago Bull, Beaudiene Boaz, Alta Christiano and the 2018 WA Derby winner King Of Swing. An emotional Mrs Richardson, in accepting her Life Member’s badge from Gloucester Park President John Burt, described the great joy her and her husband have got from harness racing and the thrills of racing Im Themightyquinn. Mrs Richardson is just the second woman to be made a Life Member of the WA Trotting Association which was formed in 1910 and currently trades under the name of Gloucester Park Harness Racing.   Alan Parker    

Winona Award – Proudly Sponsored by IRT Pixel Perfect (Art Major USA – Amarillen) has been voted the 2018 Australian Broodmare of the Year. Owned by Robert Watson, Pixel Perfect’s 2018 Broodmare of the Year title follows her mother Amarillen’s win in 2017. The family, originating in Tasmania, also includes Group One winners such as Miss Graceland, Nostra Beach and Villagem, being one of the most prolific pacing families in the Australian Trotting Studbook. It was a remarkable year for Pixel Perfect, leaving three individual Group One winners in Soho Tribeca (WA Pacing Cup), Carlas Pixel (Ladyship Mile) and Soho Nolita (Australian Pacing Gold). Her five winners for the 2017/18 season won a total of 26 races and $1,203,339 in prizemoney. The unraced Pixel Perfect has had five foals of racing age for five winners for total career earnings of over 2 million dollars – an amazing achievement.   2017/2018 Record: 5 winners 26 wins 27 placings $1,203,339 SOHO TRIBECA 19 starts 6 wins 8 placings $670,544 TABTOUCH WA PACING CUP (G1) TABTOUCH INTER DOMINION QUALIFYING HEAT 1 (G2) RETRAVISION INTER DOMINION QUALIFYING HEAT 5 (G2) JET ROOFING KILMORE PACING CUP (G2) CARLAS PIXEL 25 starts 10 wins 10 placings $294,858 MACARTHUR SQUARE LADYSHIP MILE (G1) NEVELE R STUD BREEDERS CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP (G2) CANADIAN CLUB ROBIN DUNDEE STAKES (G3) EGMONT PARK STUD 2018 FLEUR DE LIL LADYSHIP STAKES (LISTED) SOHO NOLITA 7 starts 3 wins 2 placings $169,000 AUSTRALIAN PACING GOLD (2YO FILLIES) FINAL (G1) BIRDY MACH 18 starts 5 wins 2 placings $41,570 PERFECT MACH 16 starts 2 wins 5 placings $27,367   Overall Breeding Record: PIXEL PERFECT  (S7060007)  bm  14.10.06,  by  Art Major USA 1:48.8MS from Amarillen by Fake Left USA 1:51.4MS from Nellirama by Panorama USA 1:53.4MS. Breeder: P F Barker, C G Robins, B M Robins, Tas 25.09.10 bg PERFECT MACH (S3100942) 2, 2:01.7MS; 3, 2:00.1MS; 1:58.5 $131,430 by Mach Three CA, R J Watson, WA 19.10.11 bg BIRDY MACH (S3110182) 2, 1:53.8MS; 3, 1:56.9MS; 1:51.4MS $222,041 by Mach Three CA 01.11.12 bc SOHO TRIBECA (S3120224) 2, 2:00.9MS; 3, 1:53.8MS $1,103,374 by American Ideal USA 15.11.13 bf CARLAS PIXEL (S3130448) 2, 1:55.8MS; 3, 1:55.4MS; 1:49.5MS $412,828 by Courage Under Fire NZ 2014 (Missed) by Somebeachsomewhere USA 04.11.15  bf  SOHO NOLITA  (S3150757)  2,  1:53.0MS $169,000 by Mach Three CA 23.11.16 bc SOHO HAMILTON (S3160458) by American Ideal USA 15.11.17 bf (S3170517X) by Bettors Delight USA   Australian Harness Racing

PASSIONS Delight made a perfect debut for her new connections when she scored a gritty win in her return to Bathurst’s Gold Crown Paceway on Wednesday night. Leading throughout in a C1/C2 sprint, she threw in a 56.4s final half and dug deep to keep Life Lavros NZ a neck astern at the end of a testing home-straight contest. Sams Express rattled home late for a promising third. Trainer and part-owner (with Shane Caffyn) Ben Settree explained the circumstances that led to the Bettors Delight-Passions Promise mare making her way into his stable. “Mat Rue drove her to win the Tiara Gold Consolation here back in March last year, and knows the connections, so when she came on the market at the end of her three-year-old season a few months back, he straightaway let me know. “She’s beautifully bred, and should make a great broodmare when she’s finished racing.” Following those two Bathurst runs last year, she made her way into the APG, Vicbred and Breeders Crown 2YO finals, and then joined Danni Hill’s Adelaide stable for a fine three-year-old campaign that featured wins in the S.A. Oaks and the Port Pirie Derby. Ben Settree and the Moore family have a further reason to see this mare domiciled at their Bathurst breeding establishment : her dam Passions Promise was bred by them, sold for $26,000 at the 2009 Sydney APG Sale, and went on to win $272,345 in an outstanding career highlighted by her success in the Australasian Breeders Crown Final at two. Passions Delight mightn’t attain those lofty heights, but with earnings now approaching $100,000 and boasting her own Group 1, she’s a wonderful acquisition for Brooklyn Lodge. She should feel right at home there. Two Menangle country heats opened the Bathurst proceedings, with wins to $81 longshot Siotada  ( Steve Jones/ Michael Munro) in the C3/C4 grade, and Ominous Warning ( Peter Trevor-Jones/ John O’Shea ) in the C1 class. Both wins were classy, and the mile rate of 1:54.8 for the latter winner was a great testament to the quality of the track, coming after rainstorms had saturated Bathurst all afternoon. The two heats of the HRNSW Rewards Series didn’t produce such slick times, but the winners were quite impressive. Call Me Missy ( Nathan Hurst/ Angela Hedges) came from absolute last at the 400 metres mark to round up her rivals, with her own last half, somewhere south of 56 seconds, suggesting she’ll take some beating in next week’s $10,000 final. Sophie Brown ( Mark Fletcher/ Amanda Turnbull ) ran slightly faster overall time, with more even quarters, in coming from the one-one trail in her victory, and with a win and three places now from just six starts, she appears to be a professional, adaptable  type which can take advantage of the breaks that come her way. Eight different trainers and drivers were successful on the card, quite remarkable for this centre which is home to a number of large and very strong stables which frequently produce multiple winners. Next Wednesday’s meeting features heats of the Bedwells Feed Barn Star-Trek, one of the highlights of the spring racing up at Bathurst, with $10,000 semi-finals on October 31 and the $16,000 final on Friday November 9. Terry Neil

TIGER Tara’s busy build-up to the New Zealand Cup could see him return to Victoria for next Saturday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Cranbourne Cup. It would mean racing for a fourth consecutive weekend, but trainer Kevin Pizzuto isn’t the least bit fussed about that. Pizzuto declared Cranbourne “very likely” after Tiger Tara backed-up just seven days after his sparkling Victoria Cup win to score again in the Group 3 Kevin Newman Cup (2300m) at Menangle last night. Much like the Victoria Cup, driver Toddy McCarthy turned the race into a sprint home once he led, which last night took 300m to do so from the outside draw. Tiger Tara cruised through a 60.9sec middle half then ran back-to-back 26.9sec splits for a 53.8sec last half to beat the emerging Joes Star Of Mia by 2.7m in a a 1min55.4sec mile rate. It showed again how sharp Tiger Tara seems to be this campaign. “I’ve changed his training and you’re seeing the results with his speed now,” Pizzuto said. Tiger Tara is now $4.50 favourite for the Melbourne Inter Dominion on the Aussie TAB, showing the importance of his presence at the NZ Cup. He is $6 equal second favourite with Dream About Me – behind Ultimate Machete at $5 – for the NZ Cup. “I think we’ll go down to Cranbourne next week with him because it seems I can a flight out of Melbourne that’s direct into Christchurch,” Pizzuto said. “If that’s confirmed, then he’ll run at Cranbourne then head to NZ from Melbourne. “I’d much rather go direct to Christchurch than have to fly to Auckland first. “If he runs at Cranbourne, he probably won’t need another run before the (NZ Cup). “I’ll know all my plans for sure in the next couple of days.” Tiger Tara’s stablemate Majordan, who was a luckless seventh in the Victoria Cup, disappointed slightly when he led, took a trail on Tiger Tara and tired late for fifth in last night’s race. But Majordan is a sprinter and the 2300m didn’t really suit him, especially on the quick back-up from last week. Pizzuto still plans to take him to NZ with Tiger Tara to target the NZ FFA.  Adam Hamilton

Jilliby Kung Fu is the 2017-18 Victorian harness horse of the year after the annual honours were bestowed upon the winners at last night’s Gordon Rothacker Medal event at Crown Palladium. Over 450 people attended the industry’s night of nights, which also featured a lengthy list of honours, including legend I.R. Dick Lee receiving the prestigious Gordon Rothacker Medal. In the Horse of the Year awards, Jilliby Kung Fu, trained by Marg Lee, secured top gong for a dual Group 1 winning four-year-old season (wins in the TAB 4YO Bonanza at Melton and the Chariots of Fire at Menangle), plus a runner-up effort beaten a head in the Grand Circuit open-age classic, the Miracle Mile, in 1:46.9. Check out what the award recipients had to say about their equine stars The Victorian Horse of the Year voting panel, comprising 10 judges, voted 4-2-1 for overall Horse of the Year, and Jilliby Kung Fu picked up 20 votes to finish five ahead of Lennytheshark, whose biggest win for the year was the Group 1 Victoria Cup. Lennytheshark, who won the open-aged pacing entires and geldings’ horse of the year gong, also won an Inter Dominion heat and finished second in the Group 1 Ballarat Cup and fourth in the Group 1 Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup. Filly Shez All Rock capped a dazzling three-year-old season by winning Victorian three-year-old filly of the year and was third in the overall Victorian Horse of the Year category with 12 votes. Shez All Rock was judged on her performances when trained in Victoria by Emma Stewart and then Mark Pitt, with her major performances therefore being her Group 1 Alabar Victoria Oaks and New South Wales Oaks successes. Trotter Sparkling Success was fourth overall for Victorian Horse of the Year (11 votes), the John Meade-trained star winning the open-age trotting entires and geldings’ section after winning two Group 1 races for the season – the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star and the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile. Soho Tribeca (six votes) finished in fifth place for the overall Victorian Horse of the Year award. Importantly, judges could only take into account Soho Tribeca’s performances when trained by a Victorian-based trainer. Soho Tribeca won the Group 2 Jet Roofing Kilmore Pacing Cup, and placed in the Group 1 Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup, Group 1 Allied Express Sprint and Group 1 Miracle Mile. Other horses to pick up votes in the overall Victorian Horse of the Year were trotting mare Maori Time (four votes), open-age pacing mare Ameretto and last season’s premier three-year-old male, Poster Boy (one vote each). The judging panel consisted of Rob Auber, Jason Bonnington, Michael Guerin, Adam Hamilton, Michael Howard, Lachlan McIntosh, Dan Mielicki, Craig Rail, Blake Redden and Cody Winnell.   Victorian Horse of the Year 2017-18 results 2YO Pacing Colts and Geldings Centenario: 32 Hurricane Harley: 28 Hardhitter: 8 Lochinvar Art: 2 2YO Pacing Fillies Kualoa: 38 Soho Nolita: 20 Major Kiss: 6 Tangoingwithsierra: 4 Two Times Bettor: 2 3YO Pacing Colts and Geldings Poster Boy: 40 (unanimous) Ride High: 20 Major Times: 4 Konan: 3 Master Moonlite: 2 Duplicated: 1 3YO Pacing Fillies Shez All Rock: 34 Speak No Evil:  26 Soho Burning Love: 10 4YO Pacing Entires and Geldings Jilliby Kung Fu: 40 (unanimous) Wrappers Delight: 20 Motu Meteor: 6 Stars Align: 3 Magical Marn:  1 4YO Pacing Mares Carlas Pixel: 36 Tell Me Tales: 24 Flying Moth: 10 5YO+ Pacing Entires and Geldings Lennytheshark: 34 Soho Tribeca: 23 Shadow Sax: 13 5YO+ Pacing Mares Ameretto: 40 (unanimous) Our Golden Goddess: 19 Berisari: 11 2YO Trotting Colts and Geldings Always Ready: 40 (unanimous) Kyvalley Clichy: 17 Moreton Bay:  13 2YO Trotting Fillies Sleepee: 30 Emerald Stride: 26 Fear The Yankee: 13 Georgias Pride: 1 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings Wobelee: 30 Stress Factor: 29 Anywhere Hugo: 11 3YO Trotting Fillies Moonshine Linda: 40 (unanimous) Pretty Majestic:   20 Moonlite Dream: 10 4YO Trotting Entires and Geldings Kheiron: 40 (unanimous) Deltasun: 20 Claudys Prince: 5 Garshaway: 2 Carnera:  1 Hellbound:  1 Illawong Byron:  1 4YO Trotting Mares Margaret Ruth:  33 Kinvara Sue: 23 Margaret Jean: 9 Myrtle Vale: 3 Andyou: 2 5YO+ Trotting Entires and Geldings Sparkling Success: 38 Tornado Valley: 21 Kyvalley Blur: 11 5YO+ Trotting Mares Maori Time: 32 Red Hot Tooth:  27 Regal Pepperell: 7 Hey Yo:  3 My Tribeca:  1 Overall Victorian Horse of the Year Jilliby Kung Fu: 20 Lennytheshark: 15 Shez All Rock: 12 Sparkling Success: 11 Soho Tribeca: 6 Maori Time: 4 Ameretto: 1 Poster Boy: 1 Cody Winnell Trots Media

For the second consecutive year, pint-sized pacer CHICAGO BULL NZ has taken out the Western Australian Harness Horse of the Year, announced at the 2018 Harness Horse of the Year Awards function held at Optus Stadium on Sunday, 21 October. Trained by Gary Hall Snr, the impressive Bettors Delight USA gelding earned WA harness racing’s top honour after completing the 2017/18 racing season with 15 wins and 7 places from 23 starts and accruing over $660,000 in stakes money. SOHO INTERCEPTOR was awarded 2YO Filly of the Year with Group One wins in the Fillies WestBred Classic and the Fillies Sales Classic Final. Impressive dual Group One wins for FRANCO EDWARD NZ helped him to beat out other contenders to claim honours as the 2YO Colt or Gelding of the Year having won the Golden Slipper and the Pearl Classic Final. OUR MAJOR MAMA NZ was crowned 3YO Filly of the Year after winning the Group One WA Oaks, while KING OF SWING NZ was awarded 3YO Colt or Gelding of the Year after five wins from 10 starts including the Group One SKY Racing WA Derby. Gary Hall Snr was awarded Trainer of the Year (566 races for 153 wins and $2.7m stakes), Shannon Suvaljko took home Driver of the Year (1,249 races for 179 wins and $1.8m in stakes), while Aged Mare of the Year went to IDEAL ALICE NZ and the Trotters Cup winner ITSGETTINGCALDER was crowned Trotter of the Year. Kyle Harper won the Young Achiever of the Year award after recently notching up his 500th win. Kyle has trained and driven three Group One winners, amassing over $5m in stakes on horses he has driven and a further $1.3m on horses he has trained. The RWWA Service to Industry Award was presented to Craig Murphy for his outstanding contribution to the harness racing industry demonstrated by his incredible efforts at the Byford Training Club  as a respected and valued club man, volunteer, Committee member and President.  Media Personality of the Year went to Gareth Hall, a talented sports journalist with some of the nation’s leading media outlets, Gareth has increased the coverage of WA Harness Racing in the media since moving to Perth a few years ago. Scott Hamilton Media won Best Feature Story with ‘Junior Achiever’, an engaging story on the winner of the RWWA Junior Achiever Award for the 2017 season. Scott Hamilton ventured down to the Boyanup stables of Justin Prentice to film this documentary style video. Full list of award winners: • Young Achiever of the Year – Kyle Harper • RWWA Service to Industry Award – Craig Murphy • Trainer of the Year – Gary Hall Snr • Driver of the Year – Shannon Suvaljko • Best Harness Racing Feature Story – Scott Hamilton Media  for ‘Junior Achiever’ • Best Harness Racing Media Personality – Gareth Hall • 2YO Filly of the Year – Soho Interceptor • 2YO Colt or Gelding of the Year – Franco Edward NZ • 3YO Filly of the Year – Our Major Mama NZ • 3YO Colt or Gelding of the Year – King of Swing NZ • Aged Mare of the Year – Ideal Alice NZ • Trotter of the Year – Itsgettingcalder • WA Harness Horse of the Year – Chicago Bull NZ RWWA

THE only thing better than Mick Stanley’s training effort to win the Swan Hill Cup with Menin Gate were the now legendary celebrations by the owners after it. Menin Gate, the dominant three-year-old in Australasia more than three years ago, scored a remarkable first-up win against serious opposition last Friday night. It was the now seven year-old’s first start in 16 months, his first run for trainer-driver Mick Stanley and his first since being diagnosed with a small fracture to his pelvis. Stanley certainly didn’t pick a “soft” option first-up. “He’s back racing earlier than we expected because absolutely everything has gone right,” Stanley said. “Then when he trialled so well at Maryborough last Sunday, I thought we’d give this race a crack.” Over a gruelling 2790m and after being pressured early by a headstrong Gottashopearly, Menin Gate then had to deal with some serious midrace “heat” from favourite and Kilmore Cup winner Im The Boss. Menin Gate looked in strife on the home bend and challenges came from all angles, but he showed all the fighting qualities which made him such a star at three and fended off his rivals to win by a half-head. He broke the track record for good measure with a 1min57.3sec mile rate. “It wasn’t the biggest race we’ve won, but it was a great thrill to be able to get him back to somewhere near his best,” Stanley said. “This is so rewarding. It’s one thing to get a fit and healthy Soho Tribeca, but to bring this guy back from the start of a preparation was so pleasing.” Stanley said he would skip next week’s Cranbourne Cup and give Menin Gate time to recover in the hope his Inter Dominion ranking has improved sharply. Im The Boss lost no admirers with a brave and close second after sitting parked, while Magical Marn made ground from last for third and veteran Flaming Flutter ran an eye-catching fourth at his first run back from a spell. ____________________________________________________________________________________ WITH Chicago Bull out of town, it’s giving WA’s next wave of open-class pacers their chance to shine. And leading the way is Greg and Skye Bond’s Vampiro, who is building nicely towards a Melbourne Inter Dominion raid. The Rocknroll Hanover five-year-old scored arguably his best win yet when he sat parked and snatched a narrow but impressive victory in last Friday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Mount Eden Sprint (1730m) at Gloucester Park. Driver Ryan Warwick was content to let the classy rival Maczaffair dictate terms in front, backing Vampiro’s speed to get him through. And it did with closing splits of 55.6 and 27.5sec. Vampiro won by a head in a 1min55.2sec mile rate from Maczaffair with another exciting talent, Rocknroll Lincoln, in third spot. Buzz four-year-old King Of Swing drew awkwardly in three with speed on his inside, drifted back in the run and didn’t make any impact in those blistering closing splits. He ran sixth. Vampiro, Galactic Star and rejuvenated former star juvenile Mitch Maguire, who also won well at Gloucester Park last Friday, are the Bonds’ Inter Dominion contenders. ____________________________________________________________________________________ TRAINER Mike Reed has a serious Golden Nugget contender in Bechers Brook. Reed’s always had a big opinion of the Somebeachsomewhere four-year-old, who scored a remarkable and barnstorming win in the opening race at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Bechers Brook showed his potential with a close second to King Of Swing in the WA Derby in April and has won both runs back from a spell in terrific style. “He’s tough and he keeps getting better,” Reed said. “He’s come back really well after his break.” ____________________________________________________________________________________ TRAINER David Aiken has been such a huge part of the recent Perth Inter Dominions with Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay. He’s sure to be a big force again in Melbourne this year with Wrappers Delight, Im The Boss and even the emerging Audi Hare. Audi Hare continued his rise through the ranks with a narrow, but well-earned win in the fast-class race at Melton last night. Driver David Moran blasted him to the front from the outside draw (gate seven), steadied through the middle stages, then zipped home in 55.3 and 27.3sec to hold-off the in-form Love Ina Chevy and win by a half-head in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2240m. Love Ina Chevy, Lance Justice’s horse who cheated death for days after a snake bite a few years back, also deserves a spot in the Inter Dominion heats on the strength of his excellent recent form. ____________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER star juvenile Kiwi trotter King Denny won his first race three-and-a-half years with a narrow victory in last Friday night’s Swan Hill Trotters’ Cup. His last win came while still in the All Stars’ barn in the Harness Jewels final at Ashburton on May 30, 2015. Since then he’s been plagued by injuries, changed stables a couple of times and also changed ownership. Now trained and owned by Michael Gadsden, King Denny dug deep as a $28 outsider to win by a neck in a 2min2.8sec mile rate for the 2790m stand. ____________________________________________________________________________________ MOST of Emma Stewart’s glamorous young pacer stars went for spells after the Breeders Crown, but not Demon Delight. That’s because he was a late bloomer and only made his debut two days of the two-year-old season remaining. Demon Delight looked terrific winning that debut run and has since added another couple of wins to be unbeaten in three starts. It’s no secret the stable think he’s got the potential to be right alongside his buzz stablemates Hurricane Harley, Centenario and Hardhitter when it comes Derby time later this season. Demon Delight underlined his potential winning by 16m and pacing a blistering 1min52.8sec mile rate for 1720m at Melton last night. Another “must follow” horse from the Melton meeting is Marg Lee’s lightly-raced four-year-old Jilliby Lorenzo. The son of Roll With Joe ran third to Lumineer in the Australian Gold final at two then had a setback and spent 16 months on the sidelines soon after. He’s returned with three wins from as many starts on the comeback trail and looked good overcoming a torrid run to win at Melton last night. ____________________________________________________________________________________ TROTTER Tough Monarch has plenty of tricks, but loads of ability as well. Trainer-driver Rickie Alchin looks to be gradually winning the battle of turning him into a more reliable racehorse. Tough Monarch had no luck in an unsuitably run race when an eye-catching fifth to Tornado Valley in the Group 1 Bill Collins Sprint at Melton last Saturday week. Alchin took him back home and was rewarded with a tough win after racing deep then sitting parked over 2300m at Menangle last night. It was a big effort in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2300m, which compared well with Tiger Tara’s 1min55.4sec in the 2300m pacing free-for-all. There’s no doubt Tough Monarch can be a serious factor in the upcoming Melbourne Trotters’ Inter Dominion if he keeps doing everything right.   Adam Hamilton

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