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On 19 May 2017, Harness Racing Victoria Stewards commenced an investigation, which resulted in a stable inspection being conducted in the presence of licensed trainer Mr Andrew Jordan and owner Ms Gaita Pullicino at the relevant stable address.    During the stable inspection, despite being directed by Stewards to do so, Ms Pullicino failed to produce an item, which had been located by Stewards whilst conducting an inventory of equine medications stored in a shipping container located at the aforementioned property. Following this, Ms Pullicino then failed to comply with a clear direction provided by Stewards for her to remain on the property to enable Stewards to conduct further enquiries, rather she elected to be deliberately obstructive to the Stewards in the course of their duties, by concealing the aforementioned 'item' from Stewards and immediately vacating the property. During the stable inspection a number of interviews were conducted with both Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan regarding, amongst other matters, the treatment regime of horses part owned and trained by Mr Jordan and also owned by Ms Pullicino. In considering the evidence provided by Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan during such interviews, the Stewards have serious concerns in relation to the compliance of both Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan with the Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR), particularly regarding the husbandry practices currently being undertaken. HRV Stewards have given consideration to the serious nature of the investigation and the evidence obtained during the stable inspection on 19 May 2017 and in accordance with AHRR 15(1) (aa) and (k) have determined to bar from racing, all horses owned by Mr Jordan and Ms Pullicino being trained from the relevant stable address until such time as urine and / or blood samples obtained from such horses are free of prohibited substances. On 22 May 2017, HRV Stewards re-attended the relevant stable address where Ms Pullicino and Mr Jordan were informed of the decision of the HRV Stewards to invoke AHRR 15(1) (aa) and (k). HRV Stewards conducted further interviews with Mr Jordan and Ms Pullicino and samples from all relevant horses were obtained for further analysis. At the completion of this process, HRV Stewards will then consider the entirety of the evidence obtained during this investigation, including the relevant conduct of both Mr Jordan and Ms Pullicino.   Harness Racing Victoria

Several of the races run at Warragul on Monday could lay claim to being the most exciting harness racing contest of the afternoon. Capacity fields in most races, and even contests produced strong racing all day. Local start Professor Tom's six in a row winning streak came to an end in the fourth race, courtesy of a brilliant front-running drive by Zac Phillips with Franco Jameson. Well rated in the lead, Franco Jameson kept on fighting, and defeated his four rivals in track record time, slicing just over half a second off the time standard previously shared by Grins Rendition and Ymbro Toto. Franco Jameson had been unlucky in strong recent races, and has now collected nine wins from just 26 starts for trainer Adam Kelly. A capacity field of twelve contested the Trotters' Handicap, and not one runner galloped for the entire 2210 metre distance. Uetliberg, from a back mark of 40 metres behind, produced a strong finish to defeat local Innocent Fling right on the line, with Ghent placing third in a race where only two metres separated the first six horses. Pearcedale's Simone Walker collected a popular training double, with Redand Blue Fella and Little Bit Sassy both successful. Redand Blue Fella is raced on lease from the Kucks family by Andrew Walker, while Little Bit Sassy is owned by a large group of Cranbourne based harness fans. Two heats of the annual Ken Miller Memorial Pace saw runners competing for a place in the rich Final at Warragul on June 5. Young trainer Charlene Gusman produced All My Savings to win the first heat, courtesy of a well judged drive by Lisa Miles. All My Savings now has two wins on the board from 25 starts. Diamond Jasper also won her second race in winning the other heat, for trainer Paul Grech and driver Nathan Jack. Mario Azzopardi and Charlie Borg combined with Irish Player, which gained a start after scratchings, to win race two, while short priced favourite Beau Reve won her second race in as many Warragul meetings for trainer Jayne Davies and driver Greg Sugars in race seven. Kyle Galley

Promising youngster Vouvray Beach is likely to embark on another interstate harness racing campaign. Following her triumph in last night’s Sweepstakes Final in Hobart, trainer Rod Ashwood revealed plans of heading across Bass Strait with the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere. Vouvray Beach made the trip to Victoria for last month’s Australian Pacing Gold series, when an eye-catching fourth in her heat. This time around the two-year-old may tackle the Australasian Breeders’ Crown. “We’d had a lot of problems with her before we went to Melbourne for the APG heats, but she’d gotten passed those before we left,” Ashwood said. “Although she’d missed some work because of it, she did well in her heat. “After that I decided it was best to give her a freshen up for the Sweepstake and it all worked out well.” With Ricky Duggan holding the reins, Vouvray Beach led throughout the Final to score from Ideal Bliss and Class Tells in 1:59.1 over a mile. The fact Vouvray Beach is racing, let alone winning features, is a stroke of luck according to Ashwood. “The same night after she won at Launceston on March 26 she went through the fences at home,” Ashwood said. “We don’t know what happened, she just went mad! “She hurt herself, but thankfully it wasn’t anything serious. “I will give her a few weeks to a month off now, then look at the Breeders’ Crown heat. “Whatever she does this season is a bonus really, as she is a big filly which is still growing into herself. She will be a very nice filly this time next year.” by APG Media

Bidding is now open on APG's Solid Earth harness racing Dispersal Sale which is being conducted online via APG's Online Auction System. The sale feature 40 of Kevin & Kay Seymour's outstanding mares, and will run through until 5pm this Sunday. Bidders can register online via a two part process, as follows: Step 1 Register as a user on APG's Online Auction System by clicking here.  This will provide you with a User ID and Password which will remain with you for life. Step 2 Log in with your User ID and Password, and then click on the "Register To Bid" link at the top of the screen to request permission to bid at the Solid Earth Dispersal Sale.  This is where you will be asked to request a credit limit and select a payment method and provide some basic information to allow APG to process your credit application. How The Auction Works The auction works similar to a typical eBay style auction, with a few minor variations.  Some key features are as follows: All lots in the auction have reserve prices.  Whilst you will not be able to see the reserves, the system will clearly show you whether or not the reserve has been met, via a line of text that will be displayed underneath the current leading bid.   All lots are subject to GST, which will be added onto the final bid price.  For example, if you bid $10,000 for a horse and are the successful bidder, your final charge for the horse will be $11,000 ($10,000 + GST).   The system allows you to enter a maximum bid amount, and then automatically works on your behalf to try to purchase the horse for you at the minimum possible price. For example, if the current bid price is $5,000 but you are prepared to go to $20,000 for the horse, then you can submit a bid of $20,000, but the system will initially only bid $5,500 on your behalf (as that is the minimum bid required to make you the leading bidder). If, later in the auction, someone else logs in and lodges a maximum bid of say $9,000, the system will immediately bid $9,500 on your behalf, so that you maintain your status as the leading bidder. The system will continue to bid on your behalf (in response to other people lodging bids) right up to your maximum limit of $20,000.   If a bid is received in the final 5 minutes of the auction, the auction (for that particular lot) will remain open for a further period of 5 minutes to give the other bidder an opportunity to respond.  This process will continue until there are no further bids over a 5 minute period. To view the catalogue, register and commence bidding, please click here, or for further information, please contact APG on (03) 5275 1999. by APG Media

Classy pacer Mr Mojito is a definite Harness Jewels runner. The four-year-old returned from a lengthy spell at his first run for new trainer-driver Kerryn Manning when third in the Group 2 4&5YO Championship at Melton last night (Saturday). Owner Merv Butterworth was delighted with the run. "I'm thrilled times three," he said. "It was his run in a long time and to push through at the start when they were really burning and still fight it right out at the finish was terrific. "It was such a solidly run race and, even though he got the inside run, his lack of racing was always going to be the issue. "He hit the front a fair way out and just kept digging in. We were delighted." Butterworth said it was an ideal lead-up to a Jewels raid. "He'll come on a lot for the run and the trip across will tighten him up, too," he said. Mr Mojito boards a plane to Auckland on Thursday, will stable briefly at Tony Herlihy's then fly down to Christchurch to stable back his old "home" the Allstars' barn to prepare for the Jewels. Butterworth knows the enormity of the challenge. "We wouldn't be going if we didn't think he was a winning chance," he said. "Heavens Rock is the one to beat. He's a tremendous talent, but he's still got his quirks and has to do it all right on the day." Mr Mojito is a $4.50 third favourite on the Aussie TAB behind Heavens Rock $1.60 and Our Waikiki Beach $3.50. Butterworth is also looking forward to the 3YO Ruby where his young trotter President Roydon is $7.50 equal second favourite behind Enghein. "His run was terrific last Friday and it's given us hope we can cause the upset at the Jewels," he said   Adam Hamilton

Tim Butt has his sights set on Australia's best pacers with My Field Marshall. Butt arrived in Sydney a few weeks back with those ambitious plans, but had to rethink after My Field Marshall's Newcastle Mile flop. But the five-year-old made a lie of that run when he stormed home to beat a hot field in the Group 2 4&5YO Championship at Melton last night (Saturday). "Newcastle left me wondering," Butt said. "He ran such a top race behind Lennytheshark in the Bulli Cup in that quick time and I thought he'd be even better at Newcastle. "As it turns out, I think he didn't back-up after the big run in fast time behind Lenny. "I nearly scratched him from the Bulli Cup because he'd had a virus back home and I wasn't totally happy with him on the day of the Bulli Cup. I ended-up running him and he ran a huge race. "I was so confident going to Newcastle after that because I thought he'd improve again. "Looking back, the big Bulli Cup run when he wasn't quite right must have flattened him." Butt said all the signs were great again heading to the Melton feature, but he wanted to see a big showing. He got that and more. In a frantically run 2240m race where the pace never slackened after a blazing lead time, My Field Marshall sat backed and then sustained a long, strong finishing burst around the field to win impressively. "Ants (driver Anthony Butt) told me we'd need the pace on all the way to get into the back and thankfully we got that," Tim Butt said. "Still he had to go super to win. He really just outstayed them in the end." My Field Marshall beat a super brave NSW raider Mattgregor by 1.9m with Harness Jewels-bound Mr Mojito in third spot in a very slick 1min54.9sec mile rate for 2240m. Mattgregor's run to do so much work at the front of the field, look beaten rounding the last bend, but lift again late was simply amazing. My Field Marshall now returns Sydney for a clash with Lennytheshark in the Golden Mile at Menangle in June 10. The comes the Group 1 Len Smith Mile also at Menangle on June 25.  "If he goes well in both of those we will head up to the big Queensland winter races with him as well," Butt said. Adam Hamilton

A filly purchased for less than $1000 at a Shepparton harness racing dispersal sale has netted 25-year-old Armstrong trainer Leroy O’Brien his biggest thrill in the trots. Imprincessgemma (Village Jolt-Melody Stride) didn’t even fetch four figures at the Shepparton sale, O’Brien explaining he paid “$900 plus GST” for the filly. Tonight she won the $50,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic 2YO Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park Melton, netting O’Brien and his mum, co-owner Sharryn, $25,000. “This was really special,” O’Brien said. “This one we owned ourselves, this was only her second lifetime win. She is really special to us. She’s named after my niece by my Mum. She really is one of our favourites.” Driven by Kerryn Manning tonight, Imprincessgemma took the lead early off Hakuna and once in front never looked like losing. She paced a 1:54.8 mile rate, her last half-mile split up in 28.8 and 28.4secs. “She carried herself well (at the sale),” O’Brien said when asked what had caught his eye at Shepparton. “Melody Stride was from the Stride family and Village Jolt was a fairly new sire when we purchased her. She was just very cheap and I thought she was definitely worth a go. “Me and my dad (Danny) actually went up there to buy a trotting mare in foal, but it went a little bit too dear. I had an eye for her (Imprincessgemma), so I had to ring mum to transfer some money so I could buy her. I had no money but I liked the horse.” O’Brien is positive he wants to make a full-time go of the trots. “I really do. I’m a plumber by trade, but I’ve done my time with the business and put that aside to have a real good go with the horses. There’s nothing better than waking up and working with them. I love them to bits. I really want to make it in the future and have a real good crack at it while I can. And I’ll give it 110 per cent, that’s for sure.” O’Brien also adds that the trots operation is very much a family project. “My mum gets up at daylight and gets out there with her nighty on, she loves it. It’s a massive team effort. Dad does a great job too and my girlfriend Kristy helps out along the lines too. I’ve got massive support from my family.” Manning was full of merit for O’Brien post-race. “She’s a lovely horse to drive and Leroy does a great job with his horses. He knows them very well and he’s got a good head on his shoulders,” she said. O’Brien returned the praise. “I put Kerryn on tonight because I wanted to put the best on to give her every chance. And you can’t beat Kerryn Manning.” Meanwhile, in the Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic trotting finals Wobelee (Down Under Muscles-Tupenny Bit) and Viksun (Fling It-Summerline) won the male and female divisions respectively. Wobelee is trained by Alison Alford and was driven by husband Chris, whose fans tonight donned #Puppet6000 t-shirts to celebrate Alford’s recent 6000th winner in the gig. “I’m very proud of this little fella,” Alford said. “He’s normally really well-mannered but he went for a little bit of a canter in the score-up, which scared me, but once he found the front he was going to be hard to beat.” Wobelee rated 2:00.8 to score by 6.5m over Whizzbang Dan, with Chissy in third. Viksun won the fillies’ final in 2:01.2 for trainer Billy Muscat and driver Michael Muscat. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

The Orange Agent capped an extraordinary three weeks of harness racing with a dominant win in the Benstud Queen Of The Pacific completing her clean sweep of the Mares Triple Crown. In Chris Alford’s hands the five-year-old American Ideal mare was again in a class of her own, sweeping to the front early in the $100,000 feature and being unchallenged amid a class group of challengers. “She’s just a perfect racehorse,” Alford said of The Orange Agent, who is trained by New Zealand’s Brian Hughes. “Great to drive, just does everything that you ask.” In fact, she was in such a class of her own Alford said the $1.04 favourite almost drifted off in the night’s feature. “She was just jogging around the home turn tonight,” he said. “She just sort of switched off a little bit when she got away, but once she found the front she was going to be very hard to beat. “If she had something to run with her tonight she would have won as easy as she did last week, but she just got a little lost in front. She’s beaten Grand Circuit horses before and wouldn’t disgrace herself in the really good races.” The victory came on the back of success in the Alabar sponsored Group 3 titles Make Mine Cullen and Angelique Club Cup, a succession of three victories in three weeks that ranged from 1720m through to tonight’s 2760m staying test. Not for the first time it was the New Zealand visitors who departed with a big chunk of the change from tonight’s racing, with My Field Marshall winning a survival of the fittest in the $75,000 4YO and 5YO Championship. The Tim Butt trained five-year-old is facing a crucial campaign according to driver Anthony Butt and tonight’s bold showing, when he come with a well-timed burst to mow down a tiring field, was encouraging reaffirmation of the Art Major entire’s elite talent. “Tim’s hoping he’s going to turn into a Grand Circuit horse,” Anthony Butt said. “This is perhaps going to be the make or break for him, he’s had some health issues over the past. He’s got the ability, it’s just getting his health right and Tim’s done a great job so far of doing that.” Tonight’s Group 2 was a certainly a fitness test, with the interchanging frontrunners running a record 41.7-second lead time. While Dont Hold Back, Egodan, Spare Me Days and Mattgregor all contributed to that early pace, Butt was happy to wait at the tail of the field. “Tonight they set it up for him and he was good enough to capitalise,” Butt said. “It was working out really good. I thought there were plenty of horses in no man’s land, I thought there was going to be a bit of speed with no real dominant horse in the race.” My Field Marshall hooked on to the back of Burnaholeinmypocket in the final lap, advancing steadily while Kerryn Manning placed Mr Mojito brilliantly to pinch a break on the field. At 200m to go some 20m separated My Field Marshall from a tiring Mr Mojito and by 100m that margin had halved, with the Kiwi clipping brave Mattgregor and third-placed Mr Mojito in the dying stages to take the honours. “He’s just a lovely horse, he can do anything. He can lead, he’s very adaptable, he can sit in the field, he’s a high speed horse.” And more wins are likely to come. “Tim just took him along quietly this year. He’s doing all his races now at a tough level, he has to race against the best and you don’t always win,” Butt said. “He’ll have a wee campaign over here and he should be a nice horse in the spring again. I think they are going to move on to the Len Smith Mile, it’s just a matter of how they get there. I think they are going to stay down here for a race in between. While he keeps going like that he will stay on.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

What was once one of Marburg's brightest harness racing flames has been extinguished. Trevor Perrin succumbed to the combined effect of a number of ailments including heart disease at the Nowlanville care facility last Monday afternoon. Trevor was only in his mid sixties but had battled illness and failing sight for over two decades. Along with wife Anne, the "big fella'' had been an active and successful harness trainer from the late 70's at Ipswich. In the period covered by computer records (1982/83 to 2000/01), he had presented 949 starters, which provided 54 winners, 58 seconds and 71 thirds, banking a total of $99,654. His best season was 1985/86 with 17 wins, 10 seconds and seven thirds for earnings of $21,555. The stable's top performer at this time was Super Rooster, a multiple winner, which retired with earnings of $48,000. With failing health and job requirements limiting his outdoor activities, Trevor turned his full attention to raising sponsorship funds for the Marburg Pacing Association, while working as advertising manager for National Trotguide and Harness Racing Weekly. His gift of persuasive argument combined with bulldog tenacity saw him achieve great results in both positions. While he was a successful hobby trainer, few people realised that he had been a top athlete in his youth. He played rugby league for Booval Swifts, Norths Devils in Brisbane and had a brief stint in the southern big time with Manly Warringah in Sydney. However, Trevor missed Rosewood too much and returned home where he played some cricket and won a state championship, sprinting on the grass at Lang Park. Trevor Perrin, a deserving Life Member of the MPA, is gone. I doubt we shall see his like again. He had special qualities, which not everybody possesses. Like the man who could sell ice to Eskimos, TP could sell the harness dream to anyone who would stand still long enough. He will be sorely missed. Trevor's funeral is at 10.30am on Tuesday at the Uniting Church, Rosewood. Vital issues TWO interesting issues affecting the harness code at present were anointed by the process of appearing in last Sunday's Courier Mail. Firstly, Peter Cameron's column Traps, quoted a senior Racing Queensland official as saying that harness racing was a "poor cousin'' of the other codes, "which keeps shooting itself in the foot"! It was further said that harness turnover "was barely 10% of the tri-code total". These comments were not well received at the top end of the harness participant tree. But, in the real world, if the same people who took umbrage at these aspersions are the same people who are equally upset at RQ's plan to cease racing at Albion Park (second issue) and develop a residential and commercial complex on the resulting vacant site, it is time that those people commenced to "think outside the square". There are very well founded and historically proven arguments for the retention of Albion Park based on the geographical inability of Globe Derby, Melton and Menangle to draw viable crowds. One would think that the policy put forward by a handful of influential people in the year 2000, and I quote from a well attended industry meeting held at Albion Park, "We must create an elite industry, by creating conditions where we can have elite trainers, elite drivers, and horses which can be promoted as superstars. We must attract wealthy owners", might have been a "goer". At the time, there were considerably more trainers, drivers and horses, but no trainers here were winning in excess of a million dollars for their owners year and year out. However, there were a reasonable number of trainers and drivers earning a good living. It would be fair to say, that after a 17 year trial, the "elitist" policy has failed to deliver. If we abandon that policy tomorrow, and re-introduce a simple racing format that the average recreational punter can understand and use with satisfaction and pleasure, it will be a long road back. If we don't abandon it, there will be no road back. Next week, some frightening figures. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Quinella 1-4: Simply Gorgeous (M. Neilson) and ChattanoogaChooChoo (A. Sanderson). R2: E/w 3: Diesel Shannon (L. Weidemann). R3: E/w 1: Countdown (N. Dawson). R4: Box trifecta 1-5-8: The Space Invader (N. McMullen)-Pub Blitz (M. Elkins)-Lancelot Bromac. R5: Box trifecta 5-8-10: Fire One (G. Dixon)-Fire An Ice-The Charging Moa (S. Graham). R6: box trifecta 2-4-8: Major Kiwi (B. Graham)- Rubys Bad Boy (N. McMullen)- Flaming Hero (N. Dawson). R7: Quinella 3-5: Only The Brave and Im The Smoocha (G. Dixon). R8: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Constantly Sideways (D. McMullen)-Lenny The Legend (N. Dawson)-Shakas Magic (S. Graham). R9: Box trifecta 2-4-8: Avonnova (S. Graham)-Ideal Scott (A. Sanderson)- Destreos (K. Dawson). R10: Quinella 3-10: Wishitwasheaven (S.Graham) and Remember Ruby (G. Dixon). Honour board The training section of the leader board featured a triple dead heat between Greg Elkins, Chantal Turpin and Ron Sallis with two winners apiece. Adam Sanderson took charge of the driving division with five wins. Nathan Dawson and Lachie Manzelmann were not far away on three each. The most pleasing effort has to be Justin Elkins with a double at Albion Park last Tuesday. Albion Park, May 12: Three Of The Best (Adam Sander- son for Shannon Price); Exceptional Mach (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Alta Surreal (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Kash (Pete McMullen for Mick Butler); Nolonga Your Choice (Anthony Gorman for Rachel Scott); Our Leonardo (Kelli Dawson for Ray Law). Albion Park, May 13: Phantom Rockstar (Gary Whitaker for Kevin Joiner); Bettor Promise (Adam Sanderson for Shannon Price); Statement Please (Adam Sanderson for Shannon Price). Albion Park, May 14: Queens Accent (Justin Elkins for Greg Elkins); Out Of Art (Justin Elkins for Kenny Rattray); Black Belt (Lachie Manzelmann for Ron Sallis). Albion Park, May 16: Statement Please (Adam Sanderson for Shannon Price). Redcliffe, May 17: Long Road To Fame (Adam Sanderson); Comigal (Lachie Manzelmann for Brett Cargill); Tarin Kowt (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Official Reign (Lachie Manzelmann for Chantal Turpin); Sammari (Nathan Dawson for Kylie Rasmussen). Redcliffe, May 18: Inciter (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Lucky Lefty (Narissa McMullen for Christina Monte); Heavens Hint (Nathan Dawson for Stewie Dickson); Hot Rod Heaven (Dan Russell for Tayla Gillespie); Rockstar Rikki (Nathan Dawson for Aileen Smith); Call Me Yours (Steven Doherty for Tess Neaves). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

The Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board yesterday heard a matter in regards to charges issued by HRV Stewards under Australian Harness Racing Rules (AHRR) 193 (1), 192 (1) and 194 against licensed driver Mr Michael Honson.  These charges related to a stable inspection conducted by Stewards in Mildura on 4 August, 2016 where Mr Honson was present with licensed trainer Mr Matt Schembri. During the stable inspection Stewards spoke to Mr Honson and observed two horses tied to a vehicle within a close proximity of a horse float. These horses were identified as “King of Dreams” and “Bronze Destiny” who were engaged that evening to compete at the Mildura Harness Racing meeting. Stewards inspected the horse float and shed where they located equipment and ingredients that could be used to stomach tube a horse. When interviewed Mr Honson admitted to owning and being in possession of the equipment. Mr Honson pleaded guilty yesterday to all charges before submissions by legal counsel engaged on behalf of HRV Stewards and Mr Honson were heard. The HRV RAD Board considered Mr Honsons’ guilty plea and co-operation with Stewards throughout the investigation, his good offence history and his personal and financial situation and general and specific deterrence. The HRV RAD Board imposed the following penalty: AHRR 193 (1) -         Fined $3500.00 AHRR 192 (1) -         Fined $500.00 AHRR 194      -         Fined $500.00           The charges against licensed trainer Mr Schembri for AHRR 193 (1), 192 (1) and 194 were withdrawn yesterday by Stewards before the HRV RAD Board.  VIC - RAD Board Hearing – Michael Honson 

Two prominent trainer-drivers have been handed lengthy disqualifications by stewards over their involvement in a fracas at the annual harness racing awards dinner in Hobart 18 months ago. Brighton-based Nathan Ford was disqualified for a total of four years on four separate charges, including conduct prejudicial to harness racing, failing to attend an inquiry and giving false evidence. Ford is already serving a disqualification for an unrelated offence that doesn’t expire until November 2019. With the new penalty added to that ban, he is now out until November 2023. Grant Hodges, a premiership-winning trainer when based at Bridport but now living in Victoria, was disqualified for three years – two years for assault and one year for failing to attend an inquiry. He is out until May 2020. Stewards also warned off Tyler Ford, an unlicensed person, for three years for assault, prejudicial conduct and failing to attend an inquiry. Beauty Point trainer-driver Rohan Hillier and his brother Troy were found to have played lesser roles in the altercation but were each fined $1000 for prejudicial conduct. All penalties are subject to possible appeals. Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Examiner  

Racing Queensland (RQ) and tenants of Albion Park Raceway are in a Mexican standoff over grandiose plans for the historic harness racing course. Last weekend RQ revealed an extravagant proposal to finance construction of new tracks for the harness and greyhound codes in growth corridors to the south and west of the city through the sale of Albion Park. The Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club is happy with the RQ proposal, with the club’s chief executive Luke Gatehouse confirming the club would move “with a moment’s notice” if a new, metropolitan standard course comprising two tracks, one of which would be a straight, was constructed. “We’ve wanted our own stand-alone complex for a long time,” Mr Gatehouse said. Albion Park Harness Racing Club chairman David Fowler insists Albion Park was harness racing’s best advocate. He said he was “most reluctant” to leave the track which has been a spiritual home for harness racing since the late 1960s. “There can be no denying turnover is the lifeblood of the racing industries and the bedrock for this is metropolitan racing,” Mr Fowler said. “Albion Park has undeniable brand awareness whether it’s for harness racing or the greyhounds. “This complex hosts seven meetings a week and is the busiest of any metropolitan course in the country. “What RQ does about new tracks is out of our hands. But we need new facilities at Albion Park and that will boost this industry, because we are doing it tough and our customers have endured substandard facilities for far too long.” The Brisbane City Council has previously declared its wish that Albion Park, valued at up to $100 million, be retained for sport and recreation purposes. That was despite numerous rumours it would be developed for residential and retail use. By Alan Welburn, Quest Newspapers Reprinted with permission of Quest Newspapers  

Westbury harness racing trainer Leigh Dornauf could not have asked for a better Tasmanian debut from recent stable addition Levi Jimmy. The former NSW three-year-old was an impressive all-the-way winner at Mowbray on Friday night, scoring by 34 metres and rating 2:00.5. He ran his last half in a smart 57.4 seconds. Dornauf bought the gelding off the Internet for $10,000. “I watched his races and his form was good,” the trainer said. “His previous trainer had entered him for the Western Derby at Dubbo where he was due to race against horses that had won $100,000. “I thought that was a good sign – it showed she had a fair opinion of him. “She agreed to scratch him after I bought him. “I thought getting him down here as a 3CO horse there would be wins in him.” Levi Jimmy’s win completed an early double for driver Gareth Rattray who also scored on $21 outsider Martys For Real for leading trainer Ben Yole. Yole’s second winner of the night, Modern Chic, was more popular with punters, backed into $2.70 favourite. Riverside trainer Chester Bullock continued his good recent form when Cardinal Spec led all the way to provide favourite-backers with another winner. Greg Mansfield Reprinted with permission of The Examiner  

The harness racing season is over for Opononis Bliss. A debut winner at Albion Park in 1:57.9 on April 4 has since undergone an operation owing to sequestrum. The Mr Feelgood – Opononi Sunset filly has battled soundness issues ever since but a series of x-rays recently has revealed the problem rests in the near side front leg. Sequestrum is a piece of dead bone tissue formed within a diseased or injured bone, typically in chronic osteomyelitis. Prepared by leading trainer Chantal Turpin, the filly was being readied for the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad Fillies Final at Albion Park on July 15. But now the filly will be recuperating following surgery this week. “She came through the race in good style and we just backed off but we noticed she was a little ginger when we brought her back in, it didn’t improve and we had her checked over at the Queensland University at Gatton and this is the end result which is disappointing.” Turpin said. The operation has been hailed a success but connections will give her plenty of recovery time meaning she won’t race again this term. The two-year-old fillies division boasts strong depth with the likes of Fame Assured, Aqua Miss, Ark Teamo, Red Charmer, Well Disguised, Datsgood and the Sydney trained Arts Treasure all displaying strong ability. Meanwhile, stable star Mattgregor is ready for his challenge this weekend when he tackles the Gr.2 $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship this Saturday night at TABCORP Park, Melton. The Rob Roy Mattgregor gelding was beaten but far from disgraced last Sunday at Albion Park when finishing second behind in-form mare Summertime Lizzie in a time of 1:51.9. Mattgregor sat without cover. “He’s come through the race really well and he’s trained at a good level this week so he’s ready to go, he’s booked to fly south on Thursday night,” Turpin said. “We know he’s good enough and he’s got a handy draw so hopefully he won’t be too far from the action, we’re looking at coming home via Sydney with a possible race or two at Menangle before the winter carnival.” Mattgregor will start from gate four in the 2240m feature event and Pete McMullen will take the drive. Chris Barsby

Blythewood harness racing trainer Michael Brennan's team has been in good form of late and Naughty Maravu has a second to none chance of keeping the ball rolling for the stable in tonight’s Larkhill Vets Conditioned Handicap SS Pace (2503m) at Gloucester Park. The six-year-old bay Badlands Hanover gelding put the writing on the wall at his last start when he sat parked outside of leader and eventual winner Franco Rayner in a 1730m sprint at headquarters last week. The last 800m was carved out in 56.4 and Naughty Maravu never gave up the chase, finishing a brave 3.9m second behind Franco Rayner. It was a gutsy effort and full of merit and Naughty Maravu's previous runs have all been against top-class horses. Prior to his second, he raced against horses of the calibre of Ohoka Punter, Heez On Fire, Galactic Star and Shandale. Tonight’s race is a drop in class for Naughty Maravu and Brennan has him poised to score his first win in this campaign. He loves the stands with his 22 starts from the tapes producing six wins and ten placings. Punters should disregard the fact that Naughty Maravu hasn't saluted since October last year. Brennan tipped the horse out of work after he finished fifth in the Tabtouch Australasian Young Drivers Championship at GP in early December. Naughty Maravu had a long campaign since May, 2016 and was ready for a break but the horse should be cherry ripe after five runs back from a spell. It's hard to imagine any of Naughty Maravu's 11 rivals being able to sit outside of a horse of Franco Rayner's ability and still be there when the whips are cracking in the home straight. Driver Shannon Suvaljko is good at getting them away from the strands and if Naughty Maravu can step on terms with them from his 10m handicap then he appeals as the horse to beat. Winning chances should also be given to reliable beginner Importer Exporter, who seems to be working back into form, has the services of champion reinsman Chris Lewis and steps from the front, the consistent stand performer Assassinator off 10m from the stables of leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, and backmarker Waltzing With Cullen, a seasoned standing-start specialist who is alone on the 20m mark and is returning from a spell. Wayne Currall Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 19 May 2017 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 19 May 2017

Not sure if the Charles family named their pacer after Belarusian boxer Sergei Rabchenko, but Rabchenko appears to have more than a fighting chance in tonight’s harness racing Milne Feeds MS Pace (2130m) at Gloucester Park. The four-year-old gelding was once known as purely a leader. That's to say that once he found the front he was always tough to roll but a breakout performance at headquarters last month quashed any doubts that there was more to this horse than many people first thought. In that race, he sat in the breeze outside of Hot Fraternity, with odds-on favourite El Hombre parked off the speed directly behind the leader. When Hayden Charles, the son of trainer Kevin, asked Rabchenko for the supreme effort the son of Art Major dug deep to outstay both Hot Fraternity and El Hombre. It was a tough win - the last 800m was covered in a tidy 57.1 - and one that made many pundits sit up and take notice of his ability. Rabchenko is drawn awkwardly on the inside of the second row tonight and will follow out the Aldo Cortopassi-trained and reined To Infinitynbeyond. The last time To Infinitynbeyond drew an inside barrier at GP he speared straight to the front and ran them along to record a strong victory over the 2536m journey. To Infinitynbeyond is drawn to lead from the pole, which means Rabchenko should get an ideal passage all the way. He only needs to get some racing room over the final 400m to prove very dangerous. Rabchenko's last run when he finished fifth only 6.4m behind Franco Rayner over the sprint trip of 1730m was a "get on me next start" effort. The horse tramped three deep when the winner carved out his last 800m in a slick 56.4. To finish so close to the flying Franco Rayner after doing all that work puts Rabchenko in a very strong position for tonight’s assignment. He's each-way all day in a race with many winning chances. Wayne Currall Fields for Gloucester Park, Friday 19 May 2017 Form guide for Gloucester Park, Friday 19 May 2017

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