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By Jonny Turner    Three Aussie mates are responsible for a popular Australian priest realising a 69 year dream when Triple Eight starts in the Interdominion Pacing Championship final on Saturday. An undeniable passion for harness racing has seen highly popular Roman Catholic minister Brian Glasheen, of Victoria, spend an incredible seven decades following Australasian harness racing’s greatest test of stamina. Sixty nine years after attending his first Interdominion in Melbourne, Glasheen’s loyalty to the sport, his friends and his faith will be rewarded when his first Interdominion runner – Triple Eight - takes to Alexandra Park on Saturday night. Unlike at his first series in 1950, Glasheen will not be torn away from watching the series final. The Melbourne Showgrounds were no place for him back when Captain Sandy won and his father ruled he could not go back to watch the final, after attending each night of heats, for he fear the young Glasheen would be crushed by the masses that flocked to watch race Glasheen getting to see Triple Eight this year was as likely as him some how being on hand to see Captain Sandy’s pacing win 69 years ago until three of his Bacchus Marsh parishioners intervened. Just last winter, Glasheen had no connection to the pacer and had not even heard of him until fellow Victorians Shannon Nixon, Joel Watson and Shane Cook coaxed the octogenarian in to coming out for dinner. There, the trio presented Glasheen with ownership papers for the horse that will see his love of the Interdominions come full circle on Saturday night. The motivation for Nixon, Watson and Cook’s generosity was simple. Nixon said they wanted to do something for the man who had done so much for them. “Father Glasheen has had a big part in all of our lives.” “He has baptised all our nine children between us.” Triple Eight ran third behind the All Stars duo of Cruz Bromac and Thefixer to qualify for Saturday night’s $500,000 feature. It set off joyous scenes across the Tasman as Nixon, Watson and Cook watched on TV. As thrilled as they are to have an Interdominion finalist with their first runner, Nixon said the real joy came from having Father Glasheen on the journey with them. “The biggest source of joy for us is seeing how much it means to Father Glasheen.” “He is absolutely over the moon – he is messaging us five times a day – and he is just having a great time being over in New Zealand watching the horse.” “We are just getting a huge kick out of how much it means to him.” Father Glasheen will be able to walk in to Alexandra Park with relative anonymity compared to tracks in Australia. Glasheen is popular and widely known figure in both harness racing and thoroughbred circles across the Tasman. “Everyone in harness racing in Victoria knows him, he is very widely known in racing circles in Australia,” Nixon said. “He has followed every Interdominion around from the heady days of the sport and the Interdominion is the biggest show in harness racing, so he has met a lot of people.” Nixon secured Watson, Cook and Glasheen shares in Triple Eight after negotiating the purchase of a slice of the horse’s ownership from his North Island owners Stonewall Stud and Scott Plant. Triple Eight’s $101 odds suggest he needs divine intervention to win Saturday night’s race. Though just having a runner is a huge thrill for Glasheen, he admits barrier 8 gives his horse a huge task. “It is fantastic – absolutely special – but the barrier draw is not so special,” he told media at Monday’s barrier draw. What horses drawn in better spots do not have on their side is Father Glasheen’s proven winning touch. Glasheen blessed Northerly, at the request of trainer Fred Kersley, ahead of the horse’s 2001 Australian Cup win and during the galloper’s 13-win streak. The Triple Eight camp will hope Glasheen’s touch will work again when he blesses their horse ahead of the Interdominion Final. The priest did not keep all of his prayers just for his own runner and extended them to rival camps at Monday’s barrier draw. Glasheen blessed the colours to be worn by drivers in both the Interdominon pacing and trotting finals at yesterday’s barrier draw.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    Cam Hart is reveling in the glory of a perfect start to this year’s Hanley Formula Australasian Young Drivers Championship. The New South Wales representative, from Sydney, added to Saturday night’s first heat win at Addington with two more at Sunday’s grass track meeting in Methven. Accordingly, he has more than double the points of his nearest rival, defending champion Sheree Tomlinson. Tomlinson and her three fellow kiwis are in positions two through four on the points ladder, while Hart’s comrades from across the ditch are languishing at the bottom of the table. Hart did have the benefit of a couple of well-fancied drives at Methven, but still had to get the job done in what was his first experience driving on a grass surface. “Having a bit of luck makes a difference and I was lucky enough to draw a couple of nice horses today. “It was a good experience, my first time on the grass. “It was quite a nice track – smoother than I expected.” Refine won from the front in heat 2, but Beau Major had to be the best horse in the race after sitting parked throughout. “He gave me a really good feel. He’s a tough horse with change-up speed. “When I asked him to go, he found the line well. “It was a really impressive win and I think he’ll go on to do a good job.” Being so far in front is a luxurious position for Hart, but not one he is taking for granted. “I won’t think too much in to it. “I just have to go out there with a clear mind and drive the races the way I always would. “They’re all good drivers and with a bit of luck, they could catch me, especially the Kiwis.” The series moves to Manawatu on Tuesday and Thursday now and a glut of nominations will see a bonus race for the series on Tuesday as there were enough to cart three heats rather than the planned two. It also gives his opponents an extra chance to bridge the gap on him. Hart has drawn three horses in Our Wicklow, Brooke’s Image and Scelta Uno that are all capable of finishing in the money so he’s a live chance of holding his lead. “I haven’t had a chance to look at the fields yet, but I plan on doing it tomorrow on the trip up.” Hart works for Shane Sanderson at Menangle so is used to the hustle and bustle of hard mile racing. Longer trips and a more sedate tempo is something uncommon to him. “We have the 2300-metre start at Menangle but it’s mainly mile racing. “You get a bit more of a breather over here, I’ve noticed. “In Aussie, especially in Sydney, if you try and have a quiet quarter in front you’ll get taken on.” Hart is looking forward to the series’ final night, in Auckland on Friday, the night before the Inter Dominion Grand Finals. “It’s been good coming over here and driving on the grass on a big track, and I can’t wait to get up to Alexandra Park and race the ‘other’ way, too.” Points after 3 heats: Cam Hart (NSW) 50; Sheree Tomlinson (Def. Champ) 23; John Morrison (SI) 22; Sarah O’Reilly (NZ Champ) 21; Benjamin Butcher (NI) 18; Matt Elkins (Qld) 18; Corey Peterson (WA) 15; Brodie Webster (SA) 13; Conor Crook (Tas) 7; Zac Phillips (Vic) 6. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Champion pacer Lazarus has already more than 250 confirmed bookings from Australia and New Zealand breeders for his first 'down under' season at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga. The dual NZ harness racing Horse of the Year served 136 mares in his initial season in New Jersey earlier this year. Former Canadian 2YO of the Year Warrawee Needy, whose first Australian crop of two-year-olds have impressed leading trainers, received an unexpected boost from North America recently. Astrmowin, the dam of the smart two-year-old Noch Ten (1:55), is to be sent to Australia next year to be served by Warrawee Needy and the resultant progeny will race in this country. On the subject of North America, the outstanding TINTIN IN AMERICA mare Shartin was ranked No 1 in the Hambletonian Society and Breeders Crown poll for 2019. She earned $982,177 from 15 wins and three seconds in 19 starts. Million Dollar Cam's exciting four-year-old son Hudsen chalked up his third success on end and his fourth from five outings this season when he came from last to win at Bendigo, rating 1:56.4 over 2150 metres. Our Millionaire, another of Million Dollar Cam's four-year-old crop, completed his fourth win on end at the Cranbourne Cup meeting. Hudsen and Our Millionaire were both bred by Yirribee Pacing Stud. Other stud-sired winners for the week were the three-year-old Fornaroli (by Caribbean Blaster) and Olympic Gem (by Million Dollar Cam) who both registered their first victories at Bathurst and Wagga respectively.   By Peter Wharton

New South Welshman Cam Hart extended his lead in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship after a winning double at Mt Harding Racecourse at Methven on Sunday. Following his victory in heat one at Addington on Saturday, victories on Beau Major and Refined continued Hart’s undefeated run in the series. Refine won race four on the program for trainer John McDermott after leading from the bell and proved too good in the run to the finish. Matt Elkins gained valuable points in the series finishing runner up with WA’s Corey Peterson finishing third. Beau Major completed a double for Hart after sitting parked throughout for trainer Grant McStay in what was a strong victory. New Zealander compatriots Sheree Tomlinson and John Morrison filled the placings. “It was a good experience driving on the grass for the first time, I was lucky enough to draw a couple of nice horses and they both raced well and we were able to get the job done” said Hart. Cam Hart now leads the series with 50 points and holds a 27 point lead over defending champion Sheree Tomlinson of New Zealand. Fellow kiwis Sarah O’Reilly, John Morrison and Benjamin Butcher are only a few points behind. The AYDC progresses to Manawatu Raceway in Palmerston North on Tuesday for the next three heats of the championship.   Full points score after three heats as follows: Cam Hart NSW 50 Sheree Tomlinson NZ  23 John Morrison NZ 22 Sarah O’Reilly NZ 21 Benjamin Butcher NZ  18 Matt Elkins QLD 18 Corey Peterson WA 15 Brodie Webster SA 13 Conor Crook TAS 7 Zac Phillips VIC 6     Harness Racing Australia

FRESH from capping a truly remarkable comeback, Jodi Quinlan will happily watch the Auckland Inter Dominion pacing final from the sidelines. Quinlan said her hardest decision was whether to fly from Melbourne to Auckland to watch My Kiwi Mate in the race, not whether to take the reins herself. “There was a bit of talk between Craig (Demmler) and I at times about who’d drive him in the final, but there’s no way I am,” Quinlan laughed. “I might have won about 10 races on him, but he’s Craig’s pet. He can do no wrong in Craig’s eyes, so I’d be on a hiding to nothing.” Quinlan said she’d been overwhelmed by texts, calls and well-wishers after her pick-up drive win aboard Phoenix Prince for trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin in last night’s (Saturday) Group 2 Cranbourne Cup. “I’ve got Craig to thank for that one,” she revealed. “Clayton couldn’t find me and rang Craig asking if I’d drive the horse. Craig accepted the drive for me. “I wasn’t that keen to be honest, just because I’m not really as fit as I’d like. It’s taking a while for my body to come around again after the injuries.” Quinlan was kicked in the side by a horse on Christmas Eve, last year, leaving her with spinal fractures and a lacerated kidney. It’s been a long and still ongoing road to recovery. “It certainly made last night extra special, especially all the people who’ve contacted me since. And the reception I came back to straight after the race was amazing,” she said. Quinlan said she will “probably” head to Auckland to watch the final: “I need to sit down and have a look at what horses we have racing where and if I can make it happen. I should.” Like Quinlan, My Kiwi Mate has overcome extreme adversity to make it back. “He’s broken down twice, the last time he fractured his pastern and got three screws in it,” she said. “With all that in mind, it was a big call for Craig to take him across, but he’s made the final and now drawn well, too. “I hope he can land three pegs. I thought he paced as rough as guts on the second night and was worried about him, but then his run last Friday was about as good as he’s ever gone I reckon.” For Demmler, this will be his fourth drive in an Inter Dominion final. He went mighty close when Breenys Fella stormed home for second to Shakamaker in 2000. His other two drives were eighth on Breenys Fella in Auckland in 1999 and ninth on In Monaco in 2009. Demmler’s champion father, Ted, drove in 12 finals with thirds on pacer Pure Steel (1980) and trotter Highly Likely (1990) being his best results.   Adam Hamilton

THERE were so many layers to the Cranbourne Cup story, but none better than Jodi Quinlan. It’s only a few weeks since Quinlan, a former Miracle Mile-winning driver, returned from horrific injuries sustained when an out of control horse wiped her out. And she teamed with the state’s top trainer, Emma Stewart, and the super-speedy Phoenix Prince to win last night’s $60,000 Group 2 Cranbourne Cup. Stewart had five of the 10 runners and was expected to dominate, but more so with buzz four-year-old Hurricane Harley and the emerging star Tam Major. They had to be content with second (Tam Major) and fourth (Hurricane Harley) while Phoenix Prince stormed home late to snatch victory in a 1min56.5sec mile rate for the testing 2555m trip. Hurricane Harley, took a sit on Tam Major and looked the winner halfway down the straight, but his run was short-lived and Phoenix Prince powered past them all. It was a fitting and magical moment for Quinlan. And Stewart’s dominance was surreal with her runners filling the first five spots across the line. On the same cards, last year’s Inter Dominion champion Tornado Valley was simply too fast and classy for his rivals in the Group 3 Trotters’ Cup. While potential Victoria Derby player and regally-bred Soho Hamilton won the Group 3 Caduceus Club Cup, something his famous brother Soho Tribeca did a few years back. _____________________________________________________________________________________ AS we head towards the Inter Dominion final it’s fitting last year’s pacing final winner Tiger Tara is starting his comeback. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto is thrilled with the superstar veteran, who was struggling for form and missed this year’s series in Auckland. “Everything just went wrong last campaign so we had to turn him out and start again,” he said. “ Ultimately, that really hard run second-up in Brisbane knocked the stuffing out of him and he didn’t recover. “He’s really well now. I’ve got the old horse back and he’ll have a private trial this week.” Pizzuto confirmed plans to raid Perth’s January riches, headed by the Group 1 double of Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. “I’ll have him very fit when he goes to the races. He’ll just have the one lead-up race at Menangle, hopefully over 2300m, then we’ll go to Perth a week or so before the Freo Cup,” he said. Pizzuto also confirmed a change of ownership for one of his brightest stable stars, Commander Kirk, who boasts nine wins from just 14 starts and already a 1min49.7sec mile win at Menangle. Cruz Bromac’s managing-owner, Danny Zavitsanos, now has a half share in Commander Kirk, who was previously raced by high-profile US duo Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks. “He’s a lovely horse with so much speed,” Pizzuto said. “He came a long way quickly last time in work, so we’ve given him a good, long break. I think he’ll make a Miracle Mile horse, but this year might come around a bit too quickly for him. He’s only now about to come back in from the paddock.” _____________________________________________________________________________________ ANOTHER star possibly headed for Perth is 2018 Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal. Tim Butt’s star grabbed the eye in a Menangle trial last week and is set to resume at the same track on December 14. Butt wants to get through the first-up run before deciding whether to tackle Perth or stay in Sydney and build towards another Miracle Mile assault. _____________________________________________________________________________________ STILL in WA and their Carnival continued to hot-up with a hugely popular win by Gotta Go Gabbana in last Friday night’s $125,000 Group 1 Westral Mares’ Classic (2536m). Owner-trainers Annie and Colin Belton wear their passion for the sport loud and strong and were thrilled when Gotta Go Gabbana broke a long run of bad draws to snare the pole. Top freelancer driver Chris Voak did the rest. “When she led easily it was pretty much over,” he said. “She’s a really hard mare to get past and, although the second horse (Our Alfie Romeo) did a good job, my mare won easily.” Gotta Go Gabbana ripped home in 56.1 and 27.5sec to win by 7.2m in a 1min57.3sec mile rate for the long trip. “I’m just thrilled for Colin and Annie. They supported me strongly about 10 years ago when I first started driving and continued even after I’d lost my claim. “And they gave me the drive on this mare when she was three so it’s special to win this big one on so many levels.” Having just his second run back from almost a year out due to a breathing operation, Greg and Skye Bond’s seven-year-old was simply too strong and classy. Emerging star Ideal Liner, also on the comeback trail, led, but Ryan Warwick made a mid-race move to sit parked. “He’s strong and versatile and I wanted to get Ideal Liner out of his comfort zone after he got the lead so easily,” Warwick said Galactic Star crushed Ideal Liner, who tired for fifth, and staved-off late challenges from the classy Vultan Tin and Ana Malak to win in a brisk 1min56.1sec mile rate for the long 2536m trip. Warwick will soon have to decide between Galactic Star or the exciting stablemate Mighty Conqueror to partner in races like the Fremantle and WA Pacing Cups. “Let’s keep ‘em apart for now,” he smiled. _____________________________________________________________________________________ NSW’s devastating bushfires led to a massive number of scratchings from last night’s Menangle meeting, but the star Kiwi still shone brightly. Hail Christian narrowly but impressively posted his second win from as many runs back in NSW in the Group 3 John Binskin free-for all. The Paul Court-trained five year-old blasted off the gate with the other favourite, Alta Orlando, in a blistering 25.5sec opening quarter then sat behind that horse. Another former Kiwi, Letspendanitetogetha, came and sat parked and put paid to the leader, but just couldn’t hold-off Hail Christian in a 26.6sec closing quarter. _____________________________________________________________________________________ QUEENSLAND’S Summer Carnival got serious when the classy Mattgregor won the Group 3 Be Good Johnny Sprint (1660m) at Albion Park last night. Trained by Chantel Turpin and driven by Pete McMullen, Mattgregor took full advantage of the pole draw to lead and just held-off Dream To Share to win by a head in a 1min52.5sec mile rate. Veteran Mach Alert grabbed the eye in third spot. The other feature of the night, the Members’ Cup, was dominated by Grant Dixon, who rushed home from his luckless Inter Dominion campaign with Colt Thirty One. Dixon trained the trifecta and drove the winner, the exciting Governor Jujon, who ran down buzz recent Kiwi import Virgil in closing splits of a 55.5 and 27sec. _____________________________________________________________________________________ THE fantastic story that is Kima Frenning added another chapter last Friday. Frenning’s 250th driving win came aboard Rocknroll Ronnie at Melton, meaning she has out-driven her claim. Sure the claim helped Frenning get loads of early opportunities, but she’s now cemented with some of Victoria’s leading stables and success will continue to flow. It’s remarkable when you consider Frenning came to Australia from Sweden a few years back to work as a stablehand and, hopefully, drive in a few Monte (saddle trot) races. “I don’t know what to say. Of course I could never have imagined this and I have so many people to thank,” Frenning said. Frenning also just missed in the main Melton race of the night, being beaten a half-head aboard Emma Stewart’s Somerocksomeroll behind $31.90 outsider Keayang Ebonyrose in the Melton Mares’ Championship.   Adam Hamilton

Driver Natalie Rasmussen says she can’t see hot favourite Ultimate Sniper getting to his favourite position in Saturday’s $500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final at Alexandra Park. So she will take the next best option: being in front. The four-year-old has been unbeaten in the three rounds of heats and is $1.45 to win the final after drawing barrier five. His draw is made even better by his key rivals, many of them stablemates, drawing worse, with A G’s White Socks at barrier seven and Chase Auckland (9), Cruz Bromac (11) and Thefixer (13) all on the second line. After being trapped three wide in every heat of the series and still being too strong, Ultimate Sniper will be expected to stroll to the front after the early shuffling of positions and win. But Rasmussen, who also co-trains Ultimate Sniper, says he would probably be better sitting parked. “I know that sounds strange but sometimes he doesn’t concentrate quite so well in front,” says Rasmussen. “He is still good there but he really loves staring horse down from parked, as we have seen when he has been wide during this series.”So why not just sit parked with the hot favourite, as crazy as that sounds with Rasmussen and everybody else expecting the lead to be there? “I don’t know any of the other drivers in the front line are going to want him outside them staring them down,” she says matter-of-factly. A reluctant outside leading when they would rather have Ultimate Sniper’s back could mean a slower mid-race tempo which would bring the outsiders into the race and allow the likes of Cruz Bromac and Thefixer to creep closer three wide. So with one stablemate in Ashley Locaz and three outsiders rated $51 or longer drawn inside her, Rasmussen should only have to hold A G’s White Socks to her outside at the start and she probably ends up in front, with On The Cards and My Kiwi Mate the most likely followers. Rasmussen says all five of the All Stars pacing finalists have come through their busy week of heats in great order as well as trotting final favourite Winterfell. “We couldn’t be happier with how they have handled it and if anything they look like the series has brought them on,” she said. “They are likely to have their final fast work on Wednesday.”With Rasmussen on Ultimate Sniper and Mark Purdon sticking with Cruz Bromac, Blair Orange has picked up the drive on Thefixer, Tim Williams stays on Chase Auckland but no driver has been confirmed yet for Ashley Locaz. The stable has two odds-on final favourites with Winterfell $1.90 to win the trotting final after drawing perfectly at barrier two. He looked far more settled and happier winning his heat in national record time on Friday and while he is still not foolproof, Rasmussen says the big trotter has thrilled Purdon with his improvement in this series. It may not be a case of Winterfell simply strolling to the lead and on to the winner’s circle though, with Majestic Man drawn barrier four and with superior gate speed and therefore the likely early leader is driver Brad Williamson desires. But with Paramount King, Tough Monarch, Massive Metro and Marcoola all drawn to settle back the trotting final looks certain to contain plenty of movement. PACING FINAL, $500,000, 2700m mobile 1: My Kiwi Mate 2: Sicario 3: Ashley Locaz 4: On The Cards 5: Ultimate Sniper 6: Mach Shard 7: A G’s White Socks 8: Triple Eight 9: Chase Auckland (2nd line) 10: San Carlo 11: Cruz Bromac 12: Classie Brigade (em) 13: Thefixer   TROTTING FINAL $150,000, 2700m mobile 1: Big Jack Hammer 2: Winterfell 3: Destiny Jones 4: Majestic Man 5: Monty Python (em) 6: Valloria 7: Bonnie Highlander 8: Marcoola 9: Temporale (2nd line) 10: Habibi Inta 11: Tough Monarch 12: Paramount King 13: Massive Metro   Michael Guerin

Today we saw the second and third heats of the 2019 Hanley Formula Australasian Young Drivers Championship which were run at Mt Harding Raceway in Methven. The first heat was won by Cameron Hart who drove Refine to victory for John McDermott. Cameron was also successful in the second heat on the Grant McStay trained Beau Major. “It was a good experience driving on the grass for the first time, I was lucky enough to draw a couple of nice horses and they both raced well and we were able to get the job done” said Hart. Sheree Tomlinson finishes the day in second place after a good placing in the second heat today and John Morrison is currently in third. On Tuesday we head to Manawatu Raceway in Palmerston North for the next three heats of the championship.   Please see below the standings as of today.   Cam Hart NSW 50 Sheree Tomlinson NZ 23 John Morrison NZ 22 Sarah O’Reilly NZ 21 Benjamin Butcher NZ 18 Matt Elkins QLD 18 Corey Peterson WA 15 Brodie Webster SA 13 Conor Crook TAS 7 Zac Phillips VIC 6   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Pacing & Trotting (with confirmed barrier draws) The following lists here shows the confirmed Grand Final fields (including confirmed barrier draws) for both the Pacing & Trotting IRT ID19 Series, to be held at Alexandra Park on Saturday 14th December 2019.   Harness Racing New Zealand

Tonight saw the first heat of the 27th edition of the 2019 Hanley Formula Australasian Young Drivers Championship. Held at Addington Raceway, Cameron Hart was successful in the heat with Sugar Cane trained by Doug McCormick. "It was a big thrill to be at Addington, the mare raced really well and we were lucky enough to have a good trip" said Hart after the race. Tomorrow the championship heads to Mt Harding Raceway for two more heats before heading North to Manawatu. Please see below the standings as of tonight.    Cameron Hart - 17 Sarah O'Reilly - 12 John Morrison - 9 Brodie Webster - 7 Sheree Tomlinson - 6 Benjamin Butcher - 5 Corey Peterson - 4 Zac Phillips -3 Conor Crook - 2 Matt Elkins - 1   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

AS the weather is warming up, so too is master Melbourne reinsman Chris Alford, of Bolinda. Alford landed a "fab four" at Kilmore last Thursday afternoon to rocket into the 80s for the current 2019-20 season. And there were some surprisingly juicy odds on offer, much to the delight of his legion of followers. Alford got the money early on the program with The Sparrow Hawk ($5.70) in the claimer. He then continued on his merry winning way in the next two with Allwoods Sunbeam ($3) and Just Anything ($5.20). He wrapped up the meeting with victory in the final event with Calaquendi ($12.10). Alford on 84 wins, has put a gap between himself and his nearest rivals in the Victorian Drivers Premiership. Greg "candyman" Sugars is again doing all the chasing back on 66. Then follows Kima Frenning 50, James Herbertson 38, Kate Gath 37, Jason Lee 34 and Michael Bellman 25. ______________________________________________________________________________________ VETERAN Sunraysia trainer-driver Fred Posgate was badly smashed up in a spectacular race fall at Mildura 11 days ago but says he can't wait to fully recover and get back at it. Posgate is recuperating at home at Coomealla on the NSW side of the Murray River after suffering a broken left ankle, broken right hand and other injuries when he was thrown from his sulky. "I was in the middle of the sandwich with nowhere to go. After I got tossed out two horses went over the top of me. I remember seeing their legs coming toward me, but that's about all," he said. "I think one of them trod on my hand. I was in hospital for three nights and had two lots of surgery." Posgate said his pacer The Verginian had escaped serious injuries, receiving a few cuts and bruises. "I scratched our other runner Puopolo from the next race. That was disappointing because he'd run second previously and we thought he was a big chance," he said. "I've been pretty lucky over the years because the only other time I've been hurt was at Kadina about 15 or 20 years ago when some horses went over me and smashed my right shoulder. "This time it's taken a bit out of me that's for sure, but I will certainly be back, at least as a trainer." Fred Posgate ______________________________________________________________________________________ ANOTHER of the bright young stars emerging from the strong central Victorian harness racing region of Bendigo, Shannon O'Sullivan, continues to bob up in the winner's circle. O'Sullivan, daughter of Hall of Famer, Jim, has been on fire with eight-year-old gelding Feel The Buzz, prepared by Mario Stella. The pair recently made it two on the trot with a Cranbourne victory late last month, followed by a Kilmore win. O'Sullivan certainly has an outstanding affinity with the horse, having jumped in the seat on five occasions for three wins. Feel The Buzz now has a career record of seven wins and 20 placings from 78 starts. Shannon O'Sullivan ______________________________________________________________________________________ THE cups spotlight moves to Cranbourne and then Gunbower this weekend. A cracker-jack field will line-up tonight in the $60,000 Group Two Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup with leading Victorian stables such as Emma Stewart, Lance Justice and Michael Stanley, while NSW is represented by Sonya Smith. Stewart looks to hold the upper hand with the brilliant Hurricane Harley drawing alley two. The in-form Kima Frenning has been booked for the drive. The Gunbower Family Hotel Pacing Cup, worth $14,500, to be staged tomorrow afternoon, probably has a handful of chances. Last-start winner American Zest looks well placed, while Brackenreid, Franks Very Much, Rupert of Lincoln, Our Jimmie, Hashtag and Kerford Road will all have admirers. Michael Stanley, who goes around with Rackemup Tigerpie in the Cranbourne Cup and American Zest the following day at Gunbower   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

By Garrick Knight    Winterfell earned himself favouritism for next Saturday’s $150,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final with a dominant New Zealand record win on the third and final night of heats at Alexandra Park. In the hands of co-trainer Mark Purdon, the rangy square-gaiter had too much power for a key rivals Majestic Man and Massive Metro after leading over the 2700-metre journey. It’s been a remarkable turnaround in fortunes from the horse that had earned the distrust of punters through the spring. “He’s picked it all up now and we’re starting to work together, which is a big help,” said Purdon post-race. “I said to Nat (Rasmussen) during the week that he’s almost turned the corner. “He enjoyed bowling around in front and felt good. “He likes this way around and has settled down a lot. He seems a really happy horse at the moment.” His Canterbury breeder and owner, Trevor Casey, was on course to celebrate and was at pains to say how it was just a matter of patience. “It’s always a pleasure to win a race, but to win an Inter Dominion heat – two of them – incredible. “He’s only had 23 starts and only really stepped up to open company this year. “They can win at age group level, but they still need the ringcraft to hit the top grade.” That’s something Winterfell clearly didn’t have. “He did get really keen and he used to hit the cart as well. “We’ve got to have a really long cart on him because he’s got such a long stride. “But Mark said Tuesday night was the best he’s ever settled.” Winterfell continues a brilliant production run for his dam, Una Bromac. “It gives me so much satisfaction because is out of a pacing bred mare that trotted called Una Bromac. “She used to whack a knee and nobody wanted her so I bred from her. “The first one she bred, Harley, was 18 hands, but she’s left four open class trotters after that, including Escapee and Needle.” Casey has sold Una Bromac now “because I had that many trotters, was about to breed from Escapee and it was time to move on an older mare.” Massive Metro, who trailed, fought on well enough for second but never looked like threatening the winner down the straight, while Majestic Man ran third after sitting parked. In the night’s earlier heat, Temporale went back-to-back with another front-running win for Tony Herlihy and trainers, Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis. It was arguably the stronger of the two heats, but went over three seconds slower than the other one thanks to no mid-race pressure on Temporale. Paramount King finished on nicely for second in a sprint home, narrowly ahead of the Australian, Tough Monarch, and Marcoola, who rushed home out wide after going rough when wide on the final bend. Inter Dominion Final field: Winterfell ($3), Majestic Man ($3.40), Marcoola ($4.80), Temporale ($7), Massive Metro ($8.50), Paramount King ($11), Habibi Inta ($18), Tough Monarch ($26), Big Jack Hammer ($41), Destiny Jones ($81), Bonnie Highlander ($101), Valloria ($101). The emergency is Monty Python ($151). Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

A huge night for TeamVic with Cruz Bromac, San Carlo, My Kiwi Mate and Sicario all advancing to the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship, the $500,000 Grand Circuit feature at Auckland's Alexander Park on December 14. And to make the celebrations all the greater, Victorian trotter Big Jack Hammer did enough to book himself a berth in the $150,000 final for trainer David Aiken, reinsman Luke McCarthy and owner Dom Martello.  Cruz Bromac - the Victorian part-owned, sometimes trained, Trans-Tasman warrior - was outstanding in holding off All Stars' stablemate Thefixer and looms as the horse most likely to challenge Ultimate Sniper for the coveted crown. Sicario was enormous tonight in running fourth for trainer Brent Lilley and his proud group of owners, while San Carlo again did plenty of work to earn every point for co-trainers Stephen O'Donoghue and Rebecca Bartley, and finally My Kiwi Mate clawed in to the final with a determined final burst for trainer-driver Craig Demmler. Qualification is a huge result for the teams and their connections, who have invested so much to chase success and now they are only one race away, albeit with a mighty throng of Kiwis between them and the crown. HOW ARE YOU DOING IN TROTSTARS? CLICK HERE FOR RESULTS IRT Inter Dominion Pacing Championship heat five Ultimate Sniper put an exclamation mark on the Inter Dominion pacing heats with a third, stirring three-wide salute that leaves no doubt who will start favourite for the final regardless of draw. All Stars co-trainers Natalie Rasmussen and Mark Purdon produced another one-two, with Ultimate Sniper again outpointing Chase Auckland, but it was the former who shone out and reinforced his standing in his reinswoman's eyes. "(Chase Auckland) had a great trip. He probably should have beaten me (and Ultimate Sniper)," Rasmussen said. "He's had good runs in every heat and he's run second, second, second - he probably should have won one. This guy's been three wide every trip, this is the better horse." Victory came in a fairly torrid affair as the Australian raiders declared they'd not go quietly into the night, with San Carlo and Colt Thirty One advancing in the early stages to lead the peg line and Our Uncle Sam and Conviction the running line. Ultimate Sniper emerged three-wide with a lap to go and Rasmussen had plans to advance to the breeze but it wasn't to be. "Probably just didn't pan out the way I thought, I thought Our Uncle Sam would hand up, especially to this horse, but that's racing," Rasmussen said, with Ultimate Sniper instead holding the three-wide line midfield until nearing the final bend for a last burst. "I just think they were going too hard for me down the back, I wasn't getting involved in that. He can just sit out there, and then when I asked him in the straight he really (went). "He's such a good horse. People don't realise how quick he is as well. He's tough and he's quick." And Rasmussen expects him to take no harm from the run for the December 14 final. "I just felt a bit sorry for him tonight doing all that work, but I just know how well he is." Colt Thirty One ran on well to finish third but that won't be enough to revive his Inter Dominion campaign, with connections instead likely to pursue a consolation final win. San Carlo is expected to wave the TeamVic and Australian flags though on the $500,000 Grand Circuit stage, with the mid-race placing likely to be enough to see him advance. Image Interiors Inter Dominion Trotting Championship fifth heat Temporale looks well and truly back to being a Grand Circuit contender after controlling tonight's fifth Inter Dominion trotting heat and then holding all challenges at bay for a second successive victory. While Paramount King's fantastic campaign continued as he ran second, Tough Monarch's third will see the New South Wales raider advance to a final and Marcoola's fast-finishing fourth will have him a tight price for the big one Saturday week, the credit sits comfortably on the shoulders of Temporale, his reinsman Tony Herlihy and training pair Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett. "We all know how good he can be when his right. Bern and Michelle have done a great job with him at the beach," Herlihy said. "He's in the zone, I know they were getting a bit close to him at the end, but he's done it nice." Outstanding in front, Temporale cruised to the lead and knocked off comfortable quarters before getting home in 27.9 when the chasing trio made their play, but Herlihy said a front row finals draw wouldn't be neccesary for his charger to be in the finish in the $150,000 final. "As we know he's a great follower of speed too if he draws awkward, he's pretty adaptable." Matamata Vet Services Inter Dominion Pacing Championship sixth heat Cruz Bromac led, controlled a steady pace, held at bay Thefixer's final charge and reaffirmed this is anything but a one-horse series. Having switched from trainer Dean Braun, to Kevin Pizzuto, to All Stars Racing, to Amanda Grieve and back to the All Stars amid several years of elite racing, Cruz Bromac's New Zealand Trotting Cup success and now ID19 front running is being shared far and wide, most of all by Geelong co-owners Danny and Jo Zavitsanos. They would have been beaming again tonight after Mark Purdon took control of the race, handing the lead to Thefixer before a retake to keep the pressure where he wanted it. "(Natalie Rasmussen and Thefixer) worked to get past me, but then we backed off the speed quite a bit," Purdon said. "I really wanted to keep the pace on with this guy." There was little pressure from the running line until Bling It On's three-wide surge to the breeze from the back of the field, which would seem to take a heavy toll on the New South Wales pacer who would fade out of contention in the final straight. Conversely, Cruz Bromac only grew stronger, getting home in a 26.7-second final quarter to salute. "He's got better with each round of heats as far as handling the track and tonight he was just superb," Purdon said. "He's going to go second or third favourite in the final." A wall of runners battled for third and all-important championship points, with Triple Eight getting to the line first ahead of fourth-placed Sicario, A Gs White Socks, Another Masterpiece and My Kiwi Mate, whose seventh placing claimed enough points to qualify. Alabar Majestic Son Inter Dominion Trotting Championship sixth heat Winterfell delivered a grand message that the All Stars' trotter's ready to peak with a commanding victory in the night's final heat, which had co-trainer and driver Mark Purdon optimistic the challenging but talented Majestic Son five-year-old had turned a corner. "He likes this way around, but he's settled down a lot too - he seems a real happy horse at the moment," Purdon told Sky Racing post-race. TeamVic's Big Jack Hammer initially led then handed to Massive Metro who ceded to Winterfell and nothing but a second heat victory to the latter looked on the cards from that point forward. Majestic Man man put some pace into the race from the breeze, but Winterfell was cruising and won comfortably from Massive Metro. "He enjoyed rolling around in front," Purdon said. "He had a little pressure from Majestic Man but he felt good. "He's almost turned the corner. It's as if he's picked it all up and starting to work together, which is a big help." Big Jack Hammer boxed on to sixth, which was enough to extend his campaign into the final.   HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

The IRT Inter Dominion final points are available here   Harness Racing New Zealand

The best indication of how remarkable Ultimate Sniper has been in this Inter Dominion pacing series is his own stablemate Cruz Bromac. Because after three wonderful runs in the series Cruz Bromac would make a compelling Inter Dominion Final favourite yet Ultimate Sniper is actually odds-on to win the title and nearly $3 tighter than Cruz Bromac in the pre-draw market. The All Stars pair wrapped the final round of the series at Alexandra Park last night by winning their heats, securing the top two spots on the points table and at the head of the market. After two huge but luckless runs on the first two nights Cruz Bromac was dominant last night, re-taking the lead from Thefixer and never looking in danger of defeat. Considering he won the New Zealand Cup less than a month ago you can make a strong case he can win the $500,000 final next Saturday. But while he has been good, very good and excellent in his three heats, Ultimate Sniper has been unbelievable, unbelievable and okay, we are starting to get used to this, but unbelievable again in this three heats.  After two monster wins in his first two heats Ultimate Sniper was expected to loop the field, sit parked and win the first heat last night. It didn’t pan out that way and he was stuck three wide for the last lap and looked to be labouring at the 600m mark, $1.40 punters thinking the bubble may be about to burst. But driver Natalie Rasmussen was foxing, conserving energy and when she asked the four-year-old to get busy in the home straight he was equal measures brave and brutal. He is in that zone some horses find themselves in during an Inter Dominion and is $1.90 to win the final before tomorrow’s barrier draw while Cruz Bromac is $4.80. Champion trainer Mark Purdon drove Cruz Bromac last night and beaming at how the athletic pacer has bounced through the series but is adamant Ultimate Sniper is their best chance in the final. “Cruz is going great but what Snipe has been doing in the heats makes him our best chance, he has been enormous.”If Ultimate Sniper draws well tomorrow and looks any chance to wresting the lead in the final he could get as short as $1.50. But if he draws the second line and Cruz Bromac, who has good gate speed, draws to lead the market gap will close. Australia has ended up with three in the final as has Barry Purdon, whose training performance to get A G’s White Socks, On The Card and Mach Shard into the great race a stunning effort considering where they sat two weeks ago. Barry also has Marcoola through to the $150,000 trotting final where Mark could potentially have he favourite in Winterfell. The latter was outstanding trotting a national record for 2700m winning the later trotting heat last night and looks a happy horse, hitting the ground more squarely and racing more generously last night. The other trotting heat was won in professional style by Temporale, who used his gate speed to lead and control. The trotting final looks more open than the pacers, with up to seven winning chances and two Australians in the mix. The pre-barrier draw field for the $500,000 Inter Dominion pacing final on Saturday is.—- Ultimate Sniper, Cruz Bromac, A G’s White Socks, Chase Auckland, Thefixer, Mach Shard, Ashley Locaz, Sicario, San Carlo, Triple Eight, On The Cards, My Kiwi Mate. Em: Classie Brigade.   Michael Guerin

By Garrick Knight    While their fellow countrymen and women are on the big stage at Alexandra Park for the Inter Dominions, half-a-dozen lesser known Australian drivers have made their way across the ditch for some trans-tasman competition as well. They’re here for the Australasian Young Drivers Championship, which kicks off at Addington tonight before moving to Methven on Sunday, Palmerston North Tuesday and Thursday, then Auckland on Friday. Travelling the furthest for the series is West Australia’s Corey Peterson who, at 19, is the youngest of the 12 drivers in the series. When told of his selection recently, he didn’t quite believe it. “My old boss, Kristian Hawkins loves playing jokes on me. “He was always ringing me pretending to be someone else so when I got the call, I thought it was him at first. “I hung up thinking it was a joke, but then the email arrived the next day and knew it was actually real.” It’s his first trip to New Zealand and he can’t wait to get amongst it. “Really, really excited to go away and represent my state. “The New Zealand style of racing is all new to me. I’ve heard some of the drivers talking about it but I don’t know a lot. “So, I actually spoke to Gary Hall Jnr about it and he went through a few of the different rules to do with pushing out and pushing down, just the basics.” He’s especially looking forward to driving on the grass at Methven on Sunday, which will be another first. “That’s going to be an experience and a half. I’ve heard it’s quite bumpy.” Peterson spent some time working for Hall Jnr and his father, Hall Snr, before joining Hawkins. “The best horse I’ve driven would be Ideal Liner of theirs. “I worked there for about 10 months. I just started off doing yards and that kind of thing, then started jogging them and them a full tie job opportunity came up. “At the time you don’t think you’re learning much from guys like that, but when you leave the place, you realise how much you actually did.“ A typical week for Peterson consists of “12 or 13 drives” at all tracks state-wide. “I’m at Northam at the moment and I drove two winners at Pinjarra last night which was a surprise, because it’s a track where I never have any luck.” “From my house it’s roughly an hour-and-a-half each way to all the tracks. I’m smack bang in the middle.” Peterson has drawn the Kevin Townley-trained mare, Chasing Great in tonight’s first heat, rated a $15-shot by bookies, At Methven on Sunday he has live chance Beau Major while he’s drawn Amaro, Jessie Kelly and Rake in typically even fields at Manawatu on Tuesday. The field: Sheree Tomlinson (defending champion), Sarah O’Reilly (NZ champion), Benjamin Butcher (North Island), John Morrison (South Island), Cameron Hart (New South Wales), Conor Crook (Tasmania), Brodie Webster (South Australia), Corey Peterson (Western Australia), Matthew Elkins (Queensland), Zac Phillips (Victoria). Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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