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The big news this week for New Zealand and Australian harness racing fans is that Dexter Dunn is on fire as a driver in North America. Ths week he ventured to Woodbine Mohawk Raceway in Canada for the Ontario Sire Stakes Super Finals worth $225,000 each. Dexter Dunn started in seven of the eight $225,000 Super Finals winning three of them and placing a third and a fourth also.. He also started in the Preferred but was unplaced in that race. New Zealand born now American based trainer Nifty Norman and Dexter Dunn were successful with Haveoneforme in the first of the $225,000 Super Finals. The 3yo trotting daughter of Kadabra gapped rivals to win in a time of 1:55.4. Haveoneforme and Dexter Dunn In the two-year-old trotting fillies Super Final Dexter Dunn drove She Rocks Kemp a daughter of Kadabra to a fast finishing third from post 10. Then it was onto the two-year-old pacing colts when Dexter Dunn drove the smart He's Watching colt Tattoo Artist to an easy victory in 1:52. Tattoo Artist and Dexter Dunn Dexter Dunn's third winner in the Super Finals was perhaps his most impressive drive. He drove the Ake Svanstedt trained two-year-old E L Titan colt Moon Bridge parked out from the half to pass the leader by a head in a sterling finish. Moon Bridge and Dexter Dunn These wins take Dunns 2019 total to 324 victories with over $9.1 million in Stake Earnings. Trainer Nifty Norman has won 99 races so far in 2019 and earned over $3 million in prize money. Down Under mare Shecandance N impressive in North American career so far. Shecandance won her third North American race on Monday at Yonkers Raceway. She paced the winning mile in a time of 1:55.1 around the half mile track for trainer Jose Godinez and driver Jason Bartlett. Her impressive North American form line sits at three wins and three seconds for six starts. While starting her racing career in New Zealand the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance placed on ten occasions winning two of them. Saying Grace N scores back to back victory’s in sizzling times. Down Under bred and formerly raced gelding Saying Grace wins at Harrahs Hoosier Park for trainer Jeff Cullipher and driver Sam Widger in the $20,000 Open Pace in a time of 1:49.2. It was back to back victory’s for the son of American Ideal who won the week prior in an impressive mile time of 1:48.4. Scoring back to back sub 1:50 mile rates, a great effort from the 6yo. While racing in New Zealand and Australia, Saying Grace was the winner of 13 races and just short of $160,000 in prize money. New Zealand’s fastest ever miler still on winning ways in North America. Former Down Under pacer Border Control wins at Pocono on Sunday. The 10yo gelding was sul in a time of 1:52.3 for trainer and driver Tom Jackson. The son of Bettors Delight still holds New Zealand's record for the fastest ever mile paced. The record mile of 1:50.6 was paced in the 3yo Colts and Geldings Harness Jewels Emerald at Ashburton Raceway in 2013. Border Control was the winner of 18 races and earned over $550,000 in prize money while racing Down Under. Some of his biggest wins including the New Zealand Derby and the Harness Jewels. His North American record is 103 strats for 15 wins, 16 seconds and 16 thirds for $247,237 to date. Monday 7th October   Harrington Raceway DE Sporty Spook A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $8,500 Gotta Minute N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $11,000 Tuapeka Trick N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $12,500   Monticello Raceway NY Ginger Spice N – Time: 1:58.0, Stake: $3,300   Northfield Park OH He Can Fly N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $10,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Shecandance N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $16,000 Pacing Major N – Time: 2:01.2, (1 1/16 Miles)  Stake: $20,000 What’s In The Sky A – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $16,000   Tuesday 8tt October   Harrington Raceway DE Sprinter N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $6,000   Monticello Raceway NY Feel The Need A – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $6,300   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono PA The Charging Moa N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $11,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Americanbootscoota A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $13,500 Soho Leviathan A – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $12,500 Solid Asa Rock A – Time: 2:02.1 (1 1/16 Miles) , Stake: $14,500   Wednesday 9th October   Batavia Downs NY Media Queen N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $11,000   Rosecroft Raceway MD Jive Dancing A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $8,000   Thursday 10th October   Monticello Raceway NY Mercurio N – Time: 2:00.0, Stake: $2,500   Plainridge Park MA Massive Attack A – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $4,500   Saratoga Harness NY Coveredndiamonds N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $6,000 Mccovey Cove N – Time: 1:56.4, Stake: $4,500 Sea Change N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $6,400   Yonkers Raceway NY Northern Assassin A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $12,500   Friday 11th October   Batavia Downs NY Our Els Dream N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $3,300   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Gold Orchid N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $14,500   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Threeofthebest A – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $10,000 Shards Halo N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $16,000   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Better Be Donna N – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $22,000   Saturday 12th October   Batavia Downs NY Mr Euroman N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $12,500   Freehold Raceway NJ Sir Ritchie N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $5,000 Bobjacks Angle A – Time: 1:58.1, Stake: $4,200   Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Eliza Dushku N – Time: 1:52:0, Stake: $10,000 Saying Grace N – Time: 1:49:2, Stake: $20,000   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Return To Sender N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $6,500   Saratoga Harness NY Lord Willoughby A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $18,000   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Texas Terror N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $11,000 Motown N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $12,500 Louis Alberto N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $17,500 Somewhereinbrooklyn N – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $14,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Runrunjimmydunn N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $22,000 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Christen Me N, 3rd Black Chevron N Glenferrie Blade A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $27,000     Sunday 13th October Harrah’s Philadelphia PA American Boy N – Time: 1:50.2, Stake: $18,000 Wick N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $8,500 Myidealson N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $7,000   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Border Control A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $8,500   Carter Dalgety

HIGHLY respected Melbourne breeder-owner Dr Martin Hartnett could be excused for having a big smile after the latest Bendigo harness racing meeting. Apart from his young team of Greg Sugars and Jess Tubbs providing him with a winning double, the “Doc” also landed a special race trifecta during the night. The winner and both placegetters in the $7000 Race Services Pace were all bred by Hartnett – Illawong Class (Modern Art-Classy Shiela); Daddywho (Illawong Precocity-Kaysu); and Poppys Princess (Elsu-Illawong Shirley). While Illawong Class (a half-brother to the brilliant Barimah) is raced by Hartnett and his wife Kay, Daddywho is now owned by Greg and Steve Leight, J Mitchell and E Scobie while Poppys Princess is in the ownership of Wayne, B.W and A.D Gretgrix. The other Hartnett winner at Bendigo was Illawong Mustang (Mach Three-Light In Every Day). The gelding is showing he is a more than handy three year old and his win brought up a training treble for Tubbs (she also won with the Domenic Martello-owned I Choose (Bacardi Lindy-Joyces Choice). Sugars also chipped in on a good night’s work, with three wins in the sulky. The Larajay Farms couple have started the new season in fine form.  Tubbs has “all guns ablazin’” and a neat strike rate, with 16 wins and 12 placings from just 38 starts. The ever-reliable Sugars is again in fine touch with 29 wins and 46 placings, putting him just off the pace from, needless-to-say, the marvel Chris Alford (33wins and 48 placings). _______________________________________________________________________________________________ IT didn’t take long for Anthony Butt and his partner Sonya Smith to hit the scoreboard in Sydney after taking up a new role. The couple are now private trainers at Menangle for the powerful Emilio and Mary Rosati stable, who operate under the ownership of E & M Stride. Four-year-old gelding Always A Stride (Art Major-Labretta Falcon (Falcon Seelster) scored a nice win recently at his home track at 10/1. Reined by Anthony, the duo took out the $9000 Woodstock Bourbon Pace In 1.55. Butt bobbed up at Melton on Saturday night with former USA mare Lily Stride (Muscle Hill-Sterling Volvo) in the Group One $50,000 Bill Collins Trotters Sprint. The pacer, sent out a 12/1 chance, worked home strongly over the concluding stages to grab third spot, only metres from the winner McLovin. Meanwhile, the champion trainer Noel Daley (who relinquished the number one post with the Rosati couple two weeks ago to return to the States) has made his presence known at the Lexington Selected Yearling sales in Kentucky. He was the successful bidder on a number of well-bred youngsters. Anthony Butt ‚Äč_______________________________________________________________________________________________ WHILE he was described as being “like one of the family” by connections, the loss of potential star stallion Hurrikane KingCole is sure to leave a gaping hole in the breeding industry as well. His first season at stud in Australia produced winners such as Youaremy Sunshine, Frost En Ice, Sugar Cane, and the list goes on. In the breeding barn before he left the United States, the Son of Cams Card Shark sired impressive talent in the form of Hurrikane Express (1.52 $219,902) and Hurrikane Emperor (1.49-3 $369,476). Hurrikane KingCole, who was standing at Queensland’s Egmont Park Stud, the farm of Kevin and Kay Seymour, was found dead in his paddock recently. He had been well patronized in Australia with breeding buffs having very high expectations for his progeny. Kevin Seymour described it as one of the most disappointing losses in 50 years of breeding in harness racing. The late Hurrikane KingCole (Courtesy Egmont Park) Seymour had envisaged the horse as a great replacement for the ill-fated Fake Left and would be amongst the top leading sires in our country. Hurrikane KingCole was owned by a syndicate in America, who are understandably shattered by the news.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Racing will resume at Redcliffe Paceway on Wednesday following the completion of a $300,000 track upgrade. Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and Attorney-General and Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath inspected the venue after stewards approved the return to racing. Mr Hinchliffe said it was terrific news for the region, as it was the most significant Racing Queensland investment in the venue this decade. “Add to that the fact that new economic data has revealed that harness racing is responsible for generating $21.7 million to the Moreton Bay economy each year,” he said. “More than 18,000 people come to harness racing meetings here, and there are more than 600 participants, including 65 trainers. “Most significantly, however, is that it provides more than 180 full-time jobs right here in Moreton Bay, which is why the Palaszczuk Government supports racing in the Sunshine State.” Mrs D’Ath said that the paceway played an important role across the region and the State. “There’s no doubting that it’s a significant contributor to the Queensland harness racing industry,” Mrs D’Ath. “With more than 100 race meetings each year, it will provide participants with a new and improved racing surface and upgraded training facilities. “I’m really looking forward to seeing it back in action next week.” Redcliffe Harness Racing Club president Bernie Ring said the unique 800-metre track was expected to be better than new when it reopens next week. “This is the first time the track has been resurfaced in 10 years,” Mr Ring said. “I’ve been down to look at it a couple of time and it looks great. “In time I think we will see faster and perhaps some records broken once the track has settled in.”   Racing Queensland

TAKE a look at San Carlo’s mighty Victoria Cup run if you’re pondering a punt on the New Zealand Cup. The results shows he ran fourth, but it was the run of the race and showed the late-maturing veteran was in career-best form headed towards the NZ Cup and Auckland Inter Dominion. San Carlo, just second-up from a spell, sat parked, poured the pressure on leader Cash N Flow in record-smashing times and still fought-on for fourth – just 8.3m from winner Bling It On. He was the ONLY horse to finish in the top seven, who raced away from the marker pegs. And that’s after doing more work than anything else in a 1min51.5sec mile rate for 2240m, which took a full second of Lazarus’ record in the 2017 Victoria Cup. Watch the video click here! “It was always going to be hard from the draw and it turned out how we pretty much expected, but he ran so well. He did us proud,” co-trainer Steve O’Donoghue said. “We think he’s better than ever and his two runs this time in point to that as well. “He sort of surprised us doing all that work and still digging in to win first-up in the Kilmore Cup, then he was so brave the other night. The shorter 2240m and drawing wide was always going to be a really big ask.” San Carlo might be a nine-year-old, but he was such a slow-maturer he didn’t have his first start until a late four-year-old. O’Donoghue now firmly has his sights set on the second Tuesday in November at Addington, then heading on to Auckland. “The Inter Dominion was always a target, but when he came back so well, and he stepped away well at home when we tried him from stand-starts, we decided to give the NZ Cup a go as well,” O’Donoghue said. “By the time we decided, the noms had closed, but we were happy to pay a late fee to be part of it. “If he steps well the 3200m will really suit him as will the big track.” San Carlo is booked to fly across November 5. “He’ll then head to Auckland when all the horses go up from Christchurch after Cup Week,” O’Donoghue said. “Being part of one Inter Dominion is amazing, but to take this horse to three consecutive Inter Dominions is special. And we think this is the best we’ve had him.” The buzz goes to another level for O’Donoghue to share the experience close friend and training partner Bec Bartley. “This horse has helped make Bec and they get along so well. He’s given her some great opportunities and she’s made the most of them,” he said.   Adam Hamilton

The new look Horse and Jockey Inn has finally started to take shape with opening day just a few months away. Club Menangle has spear-headed a $10 million project to completely transform the once popular Macarthur watering hole. The club's chief executive Bruce Christison said the iconic Menangle Park pub was still pretty much the same. "The layout has stayed the same and we've tried to keep the things that people loved about the inn, like outdoor dining," he said. "The beer garden and bistro area will be all-weather rooms so they can be used seven days a week, 365 days a year." The makeover is stage one of the club's ambitious plan to build a large entertainment precinct from the Inn all the way back to Tabcorp Park. Eventually, the precinct will contain a second club, hotel, movie theatre, bowling alleys and an indoor sporting complex. The pub has not traded since 2015 when NSW Harness Racing bought the site. The revamped venue would cater for functions of more than 200 people, feature a bistro and restaurant, along with a children's play room and a sports bar. "The sports bar will have 23 TVs," Mr Christison said. "The restaurant and bistro will feature upmarket pub fare with dishes ranging from $15 to $45 to cater for all budgets and make sure we don't price anybody out. "We've kept the fireplace which was always popular with locals - and the old shed on the property will probably become a woodfired pizza place as an added dining option." Mr Christison said the club had placed emphasis on landscaping and gardening. "We want it to be really green and fit in with the surrounding area," he said. "We've spent $3.25 million on landscaping alone." Mr Christison said the historic Menangle House, located at the front of the site, had remained untouched during the renovation work. "At this stage nothing will be happening inside the house," he said. "We are meeting with a heritage consultant about the heritage barn beside the house. We are thinking about turning it into a whiskey or gin bar - that won't be ready for opening day but we hope to start the process for that soon." The pub is expected to be complete in late December with a grand opening to be held on January 23, weather permitting.   Kayla Osborne Reprinted with permission of Camden-Narellan Advertiser

Jason Lee isn’t afraid to take a glance at the stars with in-form square-gaiter Jilliby Babavska following his third successive triumph on Saturday night. Lee was at the controls as the son of Sundon burst through along the sprint lane to take out the Pryde’s Easi Lyte Trot at Tabcorp Park Melton, putting a third picket on the fence. Trained by his brother Paddy, Lee said the big races across the summer carnival were on the agenda for the six-year-old. “I would love to have him win a Group 1 race - that would be awesome if he could do that,” Lee said. “There’s probably no real standouts in the trotters at the moment, apart from maybe Tornado Valley when he is up and going, and probably six or seven other really nice ones. “Obviously McLovin went super Saturday night, but I reckon in the big race (Alderbaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint) with the right run, (Jilliby Babavska) could have won the race.” A leg injury that required a pin to be inserted into a back fetlock saw Jilliby Babavska sidelined throughout 2018. He eventually returned to the races in May this year and has strung together eight wins since. Lee didn’t take much prodding to label Jilliby Babavska one of the quickest trotters he’d driven. “I reckon he is one of, if not the, quickest trotter I’ve sat behind for sheer speed,” Lee said. “He is definitely a difficult horse to drive, but in terms of speed I haven’t driven a lot of trotters that can reel off 27 quarters like he was able to do there a couple of weeks ago at Melton. “When you hit the button, it’s just like driving a fast pacer. He has just got that sheer speed. He has definitely got the attributes to turn into a Group 1 winning trotter." Lee said it’s likely Jilliby Babavska would be nominated for the Group 3 Maryborough Trotters Cup on Sunday.   Tim O'Connor HRV Trots Media

Tom Downey is a country boy at heart, but he's loving the harness racing life in the glitzy harborside city of Sydney. Downey works for astute Menangle Park horseman Rickie Alchin and he's on top of the world after landing his first ever winner as a driver, at a recent Eugowra meeting. The former panelbeater from West Wyalong, in the NSW Central West, last year jumped at the opportunity for a change in direction and couldn't be happier with how things are working out. "I was down visiting Rickie's brother Jarrod and I got talking to Rickie and he told me he could have a job available if I wanted it," Downey said. "I jumped at the offer and shifted down. It's been one of the best things I could have done because I'm just loving it." While Downey spent six years in the panel beating trade at home, horses were never far away. "Local trainer Michael Souden does a good job and he used to let me help him out," he said. "I actually did all my required trial drives to get my driver's licence when I was living in West Wyalong, but then never went on with it. "I'm not sure if I lost a bit of confidence or what it was. Anyway, I never had any race drives and didn't really worry about it." But that's all in the past, with the enthusiastic young junior chalking up a career highlight with the 11-year-old gelding Art I Special (Artsplace US-Vicario NZ (Sokys Atom USA), owned in partnership with his father, Mark. Art I Special was a narrow winner in the Canowindra Produce Pace at Eugowra at odds of 30/1 recently. "That was his ninth start for us after we decided to purchase him. My dad was there for the win, along with my mum Lisa and brother Caleb," he said. "It was very special that they were all there to watch, particularly because it was my first winner. I had one celebration beer with dad and then we had to get on the road for the five-hour trip back to Menangle." Downey got the lead early with Art I Special before deciding to ease for a trail. They got out at the top of the home straight to score by a head over the Chris Frisby-trained Arcachen. The win took the racing career of Art I Special to 13 wins and 38 placings from 156 starts for over $100,000. "I was training a two-year-old beforehand. He was one of the last ones owned by my grandfather Max Palmer who trained at Cootamundra. When he wasn't shaping up, we decided on Art I Special," Downey said. "He actually won first-up for us at Bankstown, but I didn't drive him because I'd gone back home for a week. Rickie got the win and that was sort of bitter-sweet, but at least now I've got a win on him as well." After making the move to Menangle, Downey had to do another six trial drives before being licenced. "I've probably now driven in about 15 or 16 races and before the win I'd finished third on two occasions on Art I Special early on." Alchin is formerly from Temora, just half an hour south of West Wyalong, and has more than 30 horses in work. He is full of praise for Downey, and apart from saying "he has the biggest smile in the sport", added that he was polite and willing to learn. "I like the way Tom drives and he will develop into a fine reinsman. I'm happy that he came on board with us, that's for sure," Alchin said. "It felt a little funny when I won on his horse. It was great but I felt a bit sad for him missing the drive." In the meantime, Downey, who turns 25 next month, is enjoying the change he's made with the move east to "try something different". "While I do miss West Wyalong, I made the right decision and I just love what I'm doing - and that's even with those early 5.30am starts!"   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

NEW Zealanders will get to see Australia’s new buzz trotter McLovin, but just not for as long as first expected. Trainer Andy Gath confirmed an NZ raid was on the cards after McLovin returned from a spell and overcame a torrid run to win the $50,000 Group 1 Bill Collins Trotters’ Mile at Melton last night (Saturday). But, the change is the decision not to stay there for the Auckland Inter Dominion. “No, he’ll come back home after Addington,” Gath said. “We’ve decided not to go on to Auckland because when we worked him the reverse way to prepare for the Rowe Cup earlier this year, he didn’t enjoy it.” McLovin showed huge potential in his first Aussie campaign for Gath, but it’s clear he’s come back a better horse. “He’s come up really well. We thought it was a big ask from the wide draw over the sprint trip tonight, but he’s been so well it didn’t totally surprise us,” driver Kate Gath said. “He’s so versatile. He’s won a good sprint race for us before even though we think he might be an even better stayer.” McLovin drifted back from a wide draw, but Kate Gath launched a three-wide run from the 1100m. “They went so slowly early, I just had to get into the race,” she said. “He was so strong, he just kept coming and coming.” McLovin hit the front and held-off three-time Group 1 winner Big Jack Hammer, who sprint-laned, to win by a head in a 1min56.5sec mile rate for 1720m. Former North American mare Lily Stride, now trained and driven by Anthony Butt, ran on well for third. Hot favourite Tough Monarch sat outside the leader (Red Hot Tooth), but was battling before the final bend and tired for sixth in a run well below his previous two fantastic Melton wins. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ THE Luke McCarthy and Craig Cross Melton splurge spread beyond winning the Victoria Cup. Their Victorian pacer Cruz won the Preux Chevalier free-for-all, which was effectively the Victoria Cup consolation. “He ran a terrific race at Kilmore and we didn’t think he’d have been out of place in the Victoria Cup if he’d got a run,” McCarthy said. “He’s going really well.” Cruz held-off David Aiken’s pair Audi Hare and Shelby Bromac to win. Former Kiwi pacer Sicario was favourite. He led, then took a trail midrace and ran home just fairly for sixth at his first run from a spell. The eye-catching run came from Queensland visitor Tennyson Bromac, who was checked early and stormed home late without seeing much daylight to finish fifth. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ IT’S been a tough few months for top WA trainer Gary Hall Sr. First he had to shelve feature race plans and contemplate retirement with his pint-sized superstar Chicago Bull. Then, despite winning the free-for-all at Gloucester Park with the improving Speed Man last Friday night, Hall Sr delivered some more awful news for the stable. Star four-year-old Major Trojan, one of the most exciting horses in the state, has been sent to the spelling paddock for six months with a “slight bow to a tendon.” So that’s the end of the Golden Nugget and potentially a crack at the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. “It happened (last) Wednesday, he’s gone amiss and is going for a six month spell. He’s being gelded Tuesday and going out. I wouldn’t say it’s serious, but any bowed tendon is a bad thing,” he told RWWA’s Tim Walker. “It’s now up to Eloquent Mach and Wildwest to fly the flag for me in the Nugget.” Hall Sr was pleased Speed Man, himself a former classy young pacer, stepped-up to use gate one, lead throughout and win the free-for-all last Friday. “I thought he’d have the pace to lead and he’s good enough to beat those horses he raced if he leads,” he said. “He’s improving all the time and looks like our best chance for the big races in January.” ___________________________________________________________________________________________ THE talented Joes Star Of Mia enjoyed a few of NSW’s big guns spending the weekend in Melbourne. Steve Turnbull’s gelding worked to the front and clocked slick times winning the 2300m free-for-all in a 1min55sec mile rate, beating the in-form Loorim Creek. It was also great to see the promising and speedy Gods Spirit lead throughout in a 1min52.1sec mile to open the night. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ EMMA Stewart makes no secret of the fact she thinks injury-plagued pacer The Storm Inside is a bit special. And we got a glimpse why when the six-year-old thrashed a handy field at Melton last night. The Storm Inside opened-up to win by 11.5m and posted a scorching 1min54.3sec mile rate for 2240m. There was an early hope he may have made the Victoria Cup field, but now the sights move to races like the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile later in the season. He’s raced just 14 times for 12 wins and two seconds.   Adam Hamilton

Iden Forest has caused many headaches for many people in his 31-start racing career, and last night in Hobart the gelded son of Major In Art showed what he is capable of when he registered his third career victory in the Triple M Hobart Pace, but the win wasn’t all smooth sailing as trainer Chris Howlett reflected after the win “He had a gear failure tonight, the lugging pole got attached to the bit, he locked up on the outside which didn’t give Mathew (Howlett, driver) any control, he is bad enough as it is so we didn’t need that happening,” said Howlett Iden Forest ($7.50) was out of position by approximately half a length when the starter released the field to settle one-out and four-back before working to the spot outside the leader from the 1200-metre mark The gelding was inclined to lay in significantly around the corners but when he balanced up in the home straight he put the field away to score a 5.8-metre victory in a mile rate of 2m 3.1s It was only the second time in 16-starts that Iden Forest has been placed on the Hobart track “He has been frustrating for everybody, not only for me but the trainer’s before,” said the trainer who also acknowledged the work of Paul Williams before Iden Forest arrived in his care Iden Forest has been out of the draw for his past three starts and unfortunately for connections the horse has to be drawn out the back again for a few more starts “He races best when he is up on the speed and tonight he would have been back in the draw if it wasn’t for the gear malfunction early, unfortunately, we will have to put up with being out of the draw for a few more starts,” Howlett said after last night’s win The five-year-old has shown ability in his racing career but if he continues to deliver going forward the trainer has one concern “He just lacks some high speed which may hurt him when he gets up in grade,” the trainer explained The pacer was bred and part-owned by Elliot Booth, who has had interest from interstate to purchase the pacer “There has been some interest for him on the mainland but I will leave that decision in the owner’s hands,” said Howlett Punters were cashed up after the second event on the card when Koolaz Elvis was backed in from $8.00 to start the $3.20 favourite. The gelded son of Courage Under Fire put the writing on the wall at his start prior in Launceston where he settled in the back half of the field and was doing his best work late to finish fourth to Similan Beach in a fast last half. Since that effort, Koolaz Elvis joined the stables of Conor Crook who also took the drive in last night’s event where he was able to settle on the back of the leader, before working into the clear at the top of the home straight to score by a half head Talented four-year-old Cool Water Paddy continued on his winning way when he led all the way to score first-up from a spell in a slick mile of 1m 56.7s Another horse to continue on their winning way was One Yankee Ginga in the trotters event while Ryley Major was too quick late for Call Me Hector in the free-for-all.   Duncan Dornauf

Four-year-old mare Karalta Moondance continued her liking to the Devonport track with an all the way win in the Collins Homes Mobile in Devonport last night. Veteran reinsman John Walters took the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven straight to the lead in the 1930 metre event to record her sixth career victory and her third win on the track. Karalta Moondance ($4.70) was able to hold off a late charge by Paint The Wind by 2.9 metres with The Lemondrop Kid 1.1 metres away third, the mile rate was 2m 3.3s. “John (Walters) was pretty confident he was going to lead, so I was happy to trust his judgement,” said trainer Kent Rattray after the win. It was the first win in almost four months for Karalta Moondance but Rattray has been happy with her recent performances. “She hasn’t been racing bad she has just been striking a few better than her … she seems to be a nice horse to race at Devonport as she can control the speed a bit,” explained Rattray. The mare will now have a week off before returning to the tack. “She will have a week off and bring her back and find a race for her,” said the winning trainer. Karalta Moondance is also standing start qualified which gives Rattray several options over the Christmas – New Year period. “She has had a couple of stands now so we might look at one of the mares standing start races over the summer,” Rattray explained. Karalta Moondance is raced by Kent’s parents Wayne and Gaye with Karalta Moondance pocketing them just under $70,000 in prize-money plus many Tasbred bonuses, Breeders Coupons and Tasbred Owners Breeders Incentive bonus in her 38-start career. The long term target for the mare will be the Group 2 Granny Smith Final in Devonport on 14 June, apart of the $300,000 Tasbred Sires’ Stakes series. Punters got off to a rough start to the meeting when the Gavin Kelly trained and driven pacer Jeans Mattjesty stormed home to score in the Ladbrokes Claimer at odds of $54.70. Shes Gifted ($11.30) raced wide during the final circuit to register her second win since arriving in Tasmania with Paul Ashwood driving the Andrew Thornton prepared runner to a half-head victory. Major Seascape ($5.90) led all the way to win the John McKenna Race Night Vet Pace by a narrow margin. The win of the four-year-old gelding was the first leg of a training double for Ben Yole who prepared Artiflash ($2.30 fav) to score later in the night. Both horses were driven by Yole’s two stable concession drivers with Troy McDonald aboard Major Seascape, while Samantha Gangell partnered Artiflash to his 1.4-metre win. Artiflash will be trying to beat the handicapper when he lines up for the pole draw in Hobart on Sunday night in the second race where once again he looks the one to beat. The Deborah Williams trained Jaccka Len ($3.60) overcome barrier 10 over 1930-metres to score in the last race of the night, courtesy of a confident drive by Hannah Van Dongen over the final lap. Duncan Dornauf

The five-year-old harness racing pacer Gods Spirit NZ is proving a splendid advertisement for the McArdle horse Tintin In America, a grand pacer himself and who now stands at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga. Gods Spirit led throughout in 1:52.1 over the flying mile at Menangle on Saturday night (October 12) with the last two quarters in 26.8 and 27.4. The gelding has won seven of his 16 starts to date and more than $60,000 in stakes. Million Dollar Cam, whose stock are firing on all cylinders, left a winning double at Bathurst with Enk Spot Shannon, who has won three out of six this season, and a 'new' winner in the Yirribee Stud bred and raised Allegretto (1:58.7). Isntthatright, a flour-year-old gelding by Million Dollar Cam, saluted for the fourth time at Wagga on Friday (October 11). Million Dollar Cam has sired 88 winners for progeny earnings of $3.5 million, a creditable average of $26,000 per starter. The brilliantly fast Warrawee Needy has made a flying start with his first crop of two-year-olds in Canada this year. From 55 foals, he has 17 starters and seven winners with four in 1:57 and five in 2:00. Tintin In America, Million Dollar Cam and Warrawee Needy are joined by the incomparable Lazarus, Aussie champions Lennytheshark, Caribbean Blaster and Lombo Pocket Watch and the North America Cup winner Fear The Dragon at Yirribee Pacing Stud in the 2019/20 season.   By Peter Wharton

The “perfect horse” Bling It On put in a clinical, explosive performance to win a record-smashing Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup, capping a stunning comeback story. The 2017 A. G. Hunter Cup winner has barely been seen since that career-best performance owing to a bad fall and subsequent injury, but though fresh off a 10-month "retirement" and only second up he showed he had lost none of his brilliance in rounding up the Group 1 field. “He’s such a special horse,” said reinsman Luke McCarthy. “Everyone knows his story by now and for him to come back second up after having that long off and win a Victoria Cup is just a credit to the horse. “He’s so sound and wants to do it, he’s a beautiful horse, open bridle, no head check, no boots, no tongue tie – he’s just a professional. The trip worked out beautifully tonight and lucky enough he was good enough to finish it off.” The speed map’s proved true as Cash N Flow crossed Colt Thirty One to lead and placed Bling It On three back on the pegs, while San Carlo worked to the breeze ahead of Buster Brady and Tam Major. The brisk 42.7-second lead time preceded little respite through the 29 and 28.5-second first and second quarters, and when Buster Brady faded from the running line mid-race the door opened for Bling It On to explode into contention. Off the 27.6-second third quarter Bling It On ate into the leader’s gap to the final turn, easing three-wide outside San Carlo and by the 100-metre mark he was a length clear and had the race in hand. Colt Thirty One and Cruz Bromac filled out the placings and San Carlo bravely got over Cash N Flow in his final strides to fill out the first four, but it was Bling It On’s title for McCarthy and trainer Craig Cross. A 27.4-second final quarter sealed a 1:51.5 mile rate record, breaking Lennytheshark’s 2018 mark. “He’s just an utter professional, just a brilliant racehorse, we got a beautiful run tonight and it just worked out perfect,” McCarthy said. “It’s hard to explain, he’s just such a perfect horse, he’s that smart. He’s getting collected, serving mares as we speak – he got collected yesterday and then jumped on the float and come down for Vic Cup. “He feels as good as ever. Being an older stallion he should only race into better form through the preparation.” Bling It On will likely carry plenty of favour as he turns his attention to a New Zealand campaign that will likely include the New Zealand Trotting Cup and Inter Dominion to follow. Making the win all the more special, the participating drivers wore helmet covers in tribute to reinsman Gavin Lang, who is battling ill health.   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media

McLovin sent a hearty warning shot across the Tasman with a gritty, brilliant victory in the Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters' Sprint. With most of Australia’s trotting heads of state in the field McLovin sat three-wide for the bulk of the 1720-metre sprint and still proved too good, saluting by a head from Big Jack Hammer. “He’s a great horse, we were debating whether we trial him or race him in this race first up and decided to bring him here,” trainer Andy Gath said. “We were disappointed during the week when we had to scratch a good horse in Tornado Valley, but to have a back-up horse like this perform like that, we are fortunate to have a couple of great trotters in the stable.” While there was some predicted early burn as Big Jack Hammer challenged Red Hot Tooth and Tough Monarch also went forward on their outside, the pace eased when Kima Frenning dropped anchor on Big Jack Hammer to take Red Hot Tooth’s back and Chris Svanosio settled in the breeze. The 7.3-second lead time eased into 30-second and 30.5-second first and second quarters and reinswoman Kate Gath, who had eased back out of the gates on McLovin, had to get on her bike. “The first quarter come up and then the second quarter and I thought I have got to go now, if I don’t go now I’m just not going to get into the race,” she said, having launched three wide down the main straight with more than a lap to go. “I got going when I got going just to get up there and he’s one of those horses who just drops the bit a little bit on the corner but I just knew he would keep coming and he was bloody terrific.” At the turn McLovin still had two lengths to make up on the leader, Red Hot Tooth, while Big Jack Hammer threatened via the sprint lane, but amid a 56.7-second final 800 metres Andy Gath’s former Kiwi had all the answers and nosed clear in the final 50 metres. “He come back this time and felt a million dollars at home, it’s a terrific win and I’m not entirely surprised though,” Kate said. It was an encouraging return fresh off a three-month spell and ahead of an ambitious campaign, with Andy Gath outlining that McLovin would fly to New Zealand November 7, contest a free-for-all on November 12 and then the famed Dominion on November 15. “Hopefully he can do everyone proud,” Andy said. “It’s a great experience, a great day to be there and a great day to be a part of it.”   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media

Astute Victorian horsewoman Susan Hunter is thoroughly enjoying her low-key involvement in harness racing. Hunter, now based at one of Victoria's tourism hot spots in the Murray River township of Echuca, won an impressive 14 Group One races during her hurly-burly days in Sydney and later Melton. But these days, Susan combines working at the renowned Alabar Farms stud and racing a small team. "Echuca is a lovely spot. We've been up here for two years now and absolutely love it," Hunter said. But although she's scaled back, Susan hasn't lost her Midas touch in preparing winners, recently getting the money at her home track with six-year-old gelding Monash (Somebeachsomewhere-Nightn Georgia (Safely Kept). A notable "hot and cold" performer in the past, Monash has now won two races for Hunter and her partner Shane Gloury, who had a long association with HRV, including CEO at TABcorp Park, Melton. "Monash can certainly be a headache and he has a few issues. Before we bought him we'd noticed he could pull - and when he sees the gate, he's off and going," Hunter said. "But in saying that, the horse had also put up some great performances. "I'd been playing about with a five-year-old trotter which I bred myself that hasn't got a lot of ability, and possibly won't ever win a race. I'll keep trying though! But I didn't really have a racehorse at the time and then we heard Monash may be for sale. "I've tried some gear changes and a few other things. The main thing we always concentrate on is to get them happy. I think with Monash we are winning the battle!" Ballarat young gun James Herbertson has established a great relationship with Monash, steering the speedster to both of his two wins for Hunter in sub two-minute mile rates. Monash possibly won't take Hunter to the dizzy heights she experienced with Captain Joy (six Group Ones), his half-brother Lightning Joy, a square gaiter with over $100,000 in stakes, Kept For Pleasure (3 Group Ones and dam of the exciting young sire Vincent), Louvre and Waves of Fire, but she is certainly content doing what she's doing! "Looking back, there isn't a standout, but some of the most rewarding times with horses for me are the ones where you spend a lot of time and hard work behind the scenes getting them to the track or getting them to race right," Hunter said. "They might get beaten and finish second but they're still really satisfying achievements. "If I had to nominate one of my favorite racehorses it would be Captain Joy. I'm still looking after him and he lives a life of luxury in a paddock. He doesn't like being ridden because circle work gets him a bit wound up. "He led out the field in two Hunter Cups, which was fantastic. I also have Lightning Joy as well, who we took to the Boort Show last year and got two seconds. "We will be there again this weekend, but this time with a pony who is a half-brother to former racetrack great of the 1990s, Country Duke. "While our first love is harness racing, we do love the show pony competitions. They're great fun." Susan's work at Alabar involves handling and educating the young horses and she was proud to prepare Alabar yearlings for the APG Melbourne sale earlier this year. "It was the first time I had been involved in yearling preparations, but I thoroughly enjoy working with the youngsters and I ended up doing 16," she said. "I suppose again, it's going through that process of helping them learn and progress and getting the best out of them - that's always the satisfaction of working with horses and I don't think I'll ever lose that."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

FOR the majority of the harness racing industry, it’s the ‘bread and butter’ races that really matter.   So owners and trainers will be thrilled to hear Club Menangle has announced quite substantial increases to those regular races by adding to the levels of metropolitan prizemoney.   The changes, which commence from 1 November 2019, include: • Minimum prizemoney on a metropolitan program rising from $11,000 to $14,000; • Tier-3 prizemoney going up from $16,000 to $18,000; • Tier-2 prizemoney races will increase from $22,000 to $24,000; • The premier club will also introduce a second $20,000 division of the M0 each month.   But wait, there’s more!   There will also be some changes to the “Where Horses Fly” Country Series.   The finals of that popular series will now be run on alternate weeks and an additional race will be added to each of these programs.   This ensures that country participants still get the opportunity to race at Tabcorp Park Menangle while not reducing the racing opportunities for the pool of metropolitan horses.   Through the cooperation of Club Menangle and Harness Racing NSW, these changes will add $750,000 to the metropolitan prizemoney distribution over the course of a full year.   Club Menangle has already worked with HRNSW to increase midweek prizemoney from $7,500 per race to $9,000.   At the other end of the racing scale, the Club has again combined forces with HRNSW to run the Ainsworth Miracle Mile for $1 million.   According to Club Menangle CEO Bruce Christison:   “While it is vital that we offer incentives to race at the elite level, it is just as important that we improve stakes for the horses that are racing week-in and week- out at the metropolitan level.   “The Club continues to work closely with both the participants and HRNSW as evidenced by the agreed need to increase opportunities for mares, which has been facilitated by the recent introduction of additional open-class mares’ racing.   “Whilst it is always a priority to maximise prizemoney, our Club also has a responsibility to its members to ensure that these levels are affordable and sustainable.   “This year we saw prizemoney return to the levels of two years ago and the increases announced today will take prizemoney to record highs.   “Since the sale of Harold Park we have experienced changes in financial markets never seen before, which have resulted in record low interest-rate levels.   “I am pleased to say that decisions made by the board and management over the past two years have seen strong investment performances over that time, despite the challenging environment.”   Christison explained that the Club would continue to monitor the performance of its investment fund.   “With the ongoing pressure on wagering-related revenue the Club will continue to look at ways of diversifying revenue streams with the latest example the introduction of the seven-day a week club, due to open in January,” he said.   “The prizemoney increases announced today, combined with the introduction by HRNSW of the $1m TAB Pace in May next year, reinforces the position of NSW as the premier harness racing state.”   Mandy Madern Social Media & Trot Guide Co Ordinator Club Menangle

Popular Shepparton harness racing trainer-driver Donna Castles got a belated 50th birthday present this week when talented square gaiter Fatouche turned it on with a faultless display. "She is nice mare on her night, especially if she doesn't get a head of steam and start pulling a lot," Castles said. Seven-year-old Fatouche (Yankee Spider USA-Whatu Eat NZ (Frugal Gourmet USA) certainly looked the goods in the Bendigo event on Tuesday night when she cruised to the lead mid-race. "When she settled so well, I decided to put her into the race early and whip around them. I thought on paper she was one of the top chances," Castles said. Based at Ardmona with partner Doc Wilson, Castles rated her charge to perfection with a steady clip (31, 29, 29.9 and 29.4) to score easily in the end from Illawong Sunny and Black Valley. The mile rate for the 2150m trip was a handy 1.59-4. Fatouche showed at Shepparton early last month that another win was just around the corner with a strong third placing after locking wheels. She then pulled hard at that same track 17 days later when a close-up fourth. The mare has now won eight races and amassed 12 placings for over $53,000 for enthusiastic Sydney owner Greg Corbett. "Greg has been a fantastic owner for us for about 14 years. He breeds all of his own horses and at the moment we are training 10 or 11 for him. Greg was a trainer years ago and his dad before that and never misses watching them on sky channel," Castles said. Castles, daughter of legendary Sydney horseman Jim Castles, shifted with Wilson to Victoria in the early 2000s. The pair are training a team of 30 horses and enjoyed a successful 2018-19 season. "The win was a great birthday present - my birthday was actually the day before the trots. I can't believe I am 50 - I'm getting old!" she joked.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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