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GUELPH, ON --, horse racing's fastest-growing fractional ownership stable, is heading Down Under for a two-week speaking tour. is an award-winning fractional racehorse ownership business based in Guelph, ON operated by Anthony and Amy MacDonald. The couple participated in a similar tour hosted by Harness Racing New Zealand in September 2018. There are currently 135 Standardbred horses (including 70 two-year-olds) in owned by more than 600 people from 11 countries worldwide. The Australian tour begins February 20 in Melbourne and concludes March 3 in Sydney and is hosted by Australian Pacing Gold (APG), Club Menangle and the NSW Standardbred Owners Association. "The growth of The Stable has been achieved by promoting the experience and enjoyment of being an owner," said Bruce Christison, Chief Executive of Club Menangle. "NSW and Victoria are the two strongest harness racing states in Australia and we have Anthony booked to speak in five major cities across these two states. "This is a great opportunity for the horsemen in Australia to listen to one of their own explaining how we can work together to grow our great sport," said Christison. "During their time in Sydney, our guests will also get to witness the Miracle Mile, Australia's richest and fastest harness race." The tour itinerary includes: February 25 - Presentation at 7:00 p.m. at Club Menangle February 26 - Presentation at 7:00 p.m. at Bathurst HRC February 28 - Presentation at 7:00 p.m. at Newcastle HRC MacDonald will also be attending several events, including: March 1 - Harness Breeders NSW/HRNSW/APG Yearling Parade at Inglis Riverside Stables Complex, Warwick Farm March 2 - Inspecting APG Yearlings at Inglis Riverside Stables and attending the Miracle Mile at Club Menangle March 3 - APG Yearling Sale at Inglis Riverside Stables The innovative and engaging model of invites people to own a little and love it a lot. Clients can purchase as little as one percent of a horse, making the thrill of harness racing and racehorse ownership easy, accessible and affordable. The MacDonalds built this fractional ownership stable as a bridge -- a way to welcome newcomers to racehorse ownership with a very modest investment (as low as $80), low-risk, and completely accessible and transparent operations. The ownership experience with includes: bi-weekly professionally produced broadcasts of the horses in training, delivered via livestream; weekly commentary videos about all horses; weekly email communications; special events, including Open Houses; and the open invitation to visit the horses at base at Tomiko Training Centre in Puslinch, ON. From

Catalogues for the Redcliffe Yearling Sale are now available with 76 yearlings listed to be sold at the Redcliffe Paceway on Sunday, March 31 at 12 noon.   A strong selection of stallions are represented in the catalogue such as Bettor’s Delight, Somebeachsomewhere, Rock N Roll Heaven, Sportswriter, Roll With Joe, Well Said, Mr Feelgood, Grinfromeartoear, Changeover and Cammibest and the emerging sires Sweet Lou, Hurrikane Kingcole, Heston Blue Chip, Pet Rock, A Rocknroll Dance, Warrawee Needy, Sunshine Beach, He’s Watching and Follow The Stars.   The sale features half-brothers or half-sisters to a host of classic winners including Pub Blitz, Cha Ching Chaching, Smart As Camm Be, Bonnie Jujon, Wicked Style, Jack Malone, Celtic Cruza and Mathilda Diventa and progeny of the top racemares Too Smart For You, Catwalk Beauty, Cullen’s Jewel, Montana Tess, Bangkok Dancer and Riverboat Royce.   Yearlings are eligible for the Garrard’s Redcliffe Yearling Sale Series with a minimum $100,000 prizemoney for two-year-olds in 2020 and the 3YO Sale Classic in 2021.   They are also eligible for QBred, Vicbred, Breeders Crown, Bathurst Gold Crown and NSW Breeders Challenge.   Catalogues are available from the auctioneer Darren Ebert on phone 0410 688 176 or email, Garrard’s Horse &; Hound stores in every State and the Redcliffe and Albion Park tracks.     Peter Wharton  

CHRISTIANO Rose has sent out the first signs to Gold Crown candidates with a brave win in the Harness Racing NSW Pace at the Gold Crown Paceway at Bathurst on Wednesday. Bouncing off the arm over 1730m for the two-year-olds, Christiano Rose on the back of strong trials surged to the early lead challenged by Crunch Time and the pair made the running at a solid tempo. Trainer-driver Rickie Alchin soon had his talented Crunch Time pushing quickly to the lead with Chrisitiano Rose in hot pursuit. The sprint to the finish was enough for Christiano Rose to bravely get the lead and go on and win by five metres. Crunch Time stuck on gamely for secodn with Lord Heston finishing off well for third in a mile rate of 1.58.1 and the final quarter in 27.8 seconds. Reinsman Mat Rue said he was pleased with the Alta Christiano – Miss Aqua Blue filly. Zanadu produced a good front running exhibition in the three-year-old  again using good gate speed. Driver Colin McDowel piloting a victory in 28 seconds last quarters. "She’s going well and we’ll be looking at the NSW Oaks," he said. Eccentric hit the line well seven metres from the winner, Whata Reactor filling the minor prize . Rockin Marty rated a strong last quarter for Brad Hewitt in the other three-year-old pace making it back-to-back wins. Meanwhile, Lettucefirestar and Life Lavros couldn’t be split in the Group 10 Rugby League Pace, sparking a dead heat. Farren Hotham

First-year American stallion, Hurrikane Kingcole, was always destined to sire his first Queensland winner at Albion Park on Tuesday (February 12). The son of Cam's Card Shark was represented by all four starters in the appropriately named $7,750 Hurrikane Kingcole At Egmont Park Stud Pace. It was Queensland’s first 2-year-old race in 2018-2019. The Shawn Grimsey trained and Nathan Dawson driven Xavier's Hurrikane won the 1660m mobile by 5.3 metres with a swift 1:56.1 mile rate. Equal $2 favourite, the Vic Frost trained Frost En Ice (Kylie Rasmussen) was second. Although Grimsey admitted the time was good, he believed Xavier's Hurrikane’s real gauge wouldn’t be known until after the brown gelding competed in the $50,000 Sapling 2yo Stakes at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Miracle Mile night - Saturday March 2. "That was a nice win but we will wait and see how he goes against the Art Majors and Bettors Delights in Sydney. The Hurrikane Kingcoles seem to be kind animals and this fella has a bit of talent, but how much, only time and development will tell. I think he’s definitely worthy of a trip south. I will know a lot more after March 2,” Grimsey said. He said he had two Hurrikane Kingcoles at his Tamborine Mountain stable. “They broke in okay and this fella is much more forward in his preparation than his sister. He’s also more talented. She (Madetoplay) took three goes to qualify,” Grimsey said. The Gold Coast horseman said he had campaigned horses with moderate success in New South Wales previously. He said both he and owner/breeder, Mike Adamson, also of Tamborine Mountain, believed Xavier's Hurrikane was good enough to take on the best early-season 2-year-olds. “It’s only early days yet but he’s done all he can do and at this minute I couldn’t be happier. He’s out of a Mach Three New Zealand mare (Dougie's Envy), so hopefully that side of the breeding will kick on too,” 46-year-old Grimsey said. “I've got seven in work and he’s by far the best of them. The horse that ran second behind him (Frost En Ice) also went well, so the stallion might have a bright future,” he added. Hurrikane Kingcole sired his first Australian winner at Geelong on January 16 when the Damien Burns trained and Michael Belman driven Youaremy Sunshine got the chocolates by two-and-a-half metres. Hurrikane Kingcole has now sired 136 live foals in Australia and has had six starters to the races. As a racehorse he won 14 of his 49 starts and placed in 10 others for $580,102 in stakes. In 2012 the talented bay paced a 1:48.1 mile at Mohegan Sun Pocono to equal the then-world record for a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track Then the slick pacer, who was bought for $10,000 at the yearling sales, went on to set a lifetime mark of 1:47.3. Hurrikane Kingcole suffered from a myriad of health issues during his career, including throat problems and a broken splint bone in his left front leg. The latter ensured his premature retirement in March 2015.   by Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

Trainer Ryan Bell concedes Shockwave has a difficult task in front of him if he’s to win the Group 2 Caduceus Club Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park tomorrow night, but is confident he has the right horse to upstage warm favourite Patrickthepiranha. Shockwave, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr once again, has impressed at his two most recent outings at Gloucester Park, where he overcame barrier five on both occasions, however he has drawn barrier eight tomorrow night. Despite the draw, Bell said he has Shockwave primed for a big performance in the $40,000 event. “As good as our bloke is going, the barrier is a bad one for him,” he said. “I’m confident he will put in a forward performance, but he will have to do the hard yards. “Our bloke is more forward than a lot of others in the field, but with Patrickthepiranha drawn barrier one over 2130 he can still afford to be fresh and be too good.” Shockwave produced, arguably, a career best performance over 1730m on January 25, where he rated 1.54.0, before he returned on February 1 over 2130m and rated 1.57.7. The Group 1 WA Derby on April 5 looms as the likely target for a majority of the three-year-olds engaged in tomorrow night’s feature. Bell described both performances as “pretty impressive” and said the fortnight between runs suited Shockwave perfectly. “He’s been lucky for most of his career so far that he’s been able to have two weeks between runs,” he said. “It has meant we’ve been able to keep him fresh a lot of the time. “He’s probably the type of horse I could keep fresh and I’d only work him at home to have him ready for the Derby.” Bell added he was hopeful he would be able to retain the services of Hall Jnr for the duration of Shockwave’s preparation. Patrickthepiranha, who is looking for seven straight wins, was installed a $1.55 chance with TABtouch, ahead of Gee Jay Kay ($5), Franco Edward ($5) and Shockwave ($5.50). Gee Jay Kay, who was the favourite in both of the recent races Shockwave won, has drawn barrier three tomorrow night, while Franco Edward has drawn barrier nine. Dylan Egerton-Green retains the drive on the Colin Brown-trained Patrickthepiranha and said he was confident the gelding would be able to lead all the way from the inside draw. “He’s got the right draw, but I still have to make sure that he runs off the gate and make sure nothing else can cross,” he said. “It’s a pretty handy field with Shockwave and Franco Edward, then you have a horse like Valbonne who has also been going well. “I have to keep my wits about me early but he should be able to capitalise on the good draw.” The Caduceus Club Classic gets underway at 7.25. Tim Walker

Members of the WA Trotting Media Guild are united in thinking Chok Chai, Patrickthepiranha, Gotta Go Gabbana, Caviar Star and James Butt will all salute at Gloucester Park on Friday night. All five horse will be short, but will prove the testing material in their respective races. The West Australian’s Ernie Manning, longshot guru Pat Harding, veteran tipster Stuart Lowe and The West Australian’s racing co-ordinator Ryan Havercroft have made Patrickthepiranha their best bet in the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic (2130m). Manning summed up the thoughts of his colleagues when he said Patrickthepiranha could consolidate nominal favouritism for the $200,000 WA Derby on April 5 with victory on Friday night. “Patrickthepiranha, unbeaten in six starts since a spell, has led at his past four appearances and should show the gate speed needed to hold-up from barrier one for reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green,” Manning said. “The three-year-old could further boost a run of success for trainer Colin Brown, who won the Daintys Daughter Classic with Typhoon Tiff last Friday night.” GPTV’s Ken Casellas has advised punters to keep following consistent mare Liberty  Rose. “Liberty Rose is the youngest and least experienced runner in the Caduceus Club Pace, but I’m confident she will prove very hard to beat and she’s my best bet,” Casellas said. “The four-year-old mare has been placed at all her five runs since resuming after a spell and is overdue for a win.”  TABradio’s Matt Young is keen on Caviar Star. “Caviar Star had excuses last Friday night and back to a standing start, looks very well placed for victory here,” Young said. Budding racecaller Hayden King agrees. “Caviar Star was an enormous effort after working like a train last week,” King said. “This looks his for the taking.” Guild president Wayne Currall believes punters should forgive Chok Chai for his last-start defeat as a short-priced favourite. “Chok Chai was only having his second start in almost seven months and was gunned down late over the 2536m journey last week” Currall said. “He’s set to bounce back from gate two over the 2130m trip. Can lead all the way here.”   VALUE BETS ERNIE: Absolution has not won in his past 17 starts, but showed a glimpse of form when third a fortnight ago. He was eased back from gate six last Friday night and his ninth can be overlooked. PAT: James Butt ran a creditable fourth last week, but I think Chris Voak can bring him home for a determined win from his favourable draw in gate two. STUART: Importer Exporter’s form is better than it reads. Looks to meet a weaker field and should go close. RYAN: Tarsao didn’t see daylight until well up the straight a fortnight ago when finishing fifth to Michael Joseph. Barrier here makes it tough but he is racing in good form. KEN: Mr Mojito will have to overcome the outside barrier in a 1730m sprint event. However, he drops enormously in class and with an expected titanic duel for the early lead, he should enjoy a soft trip in the early stages before unleashing a powerful late burst. MATT: Absolution in the last has been racing without much luck, but he has the draw and the options. He’s a 1x4 bet this Friday night. HAYDEN: Mighty Flying Thomas should secure the softest of runs three back the fence on a strong speed over the long trip and he can blast over the top late.  WAYNE: Our Rhythm N Blues ran a creditable fourth last week at his first appearance in nine months. Will have derived plenty of benefit from the hit-out and can be dangerous at each-way odds. To view all of the Media Guild tips click here. Good Punting!   Wayne Currall

Trainer Kate Hargreaves and reinsman Alex Ashwood are among the next generation of up-and-comers ready to take the trotting world by storm, and they’re more than willing to bring owners who are new to the game along for the ride. The young pair, who have stable newcomer Just Seduce Me in the Woodlands Stud Pace, a $10,000 race for those classified M0 at Tabcorp Melton Park this Friday, have set up shop in Shelbourne after long apprenticeships with established industry players such as Andy and Kate Gath, Kerryn Manning and Emma Stewart. While the pair have a big vision for the future, their focus on Friday night will be on Just Seduce Me, who Ashwood said would be hard to beat if she finds the front. “She had a trial a fortnight ago at Bendigo and (has) improved a fair bit off that,” he said. “She probably needs another run under her belt but, in saying that, and going by her form over the short (distance), if she finds the front she will be very hard (to get past) as that’s where she runs her best races. Hopefully she can hold the lead.” Ashwood, 24, said the pair had built a team of 12 horses – plus “two babies” recently bought at yearling sales – a feat made easier due to the stables, previously owned by Larry Eastman, being readymade for trotters. And he said the large property had plenty of scope for future expansion. “When it was on the market we didn’t hesitate to take it because everything was pretty much done, all you had to do was move in and start training,” he said. “We are 60 acres, so we can get as big as we want, but at this stage about 20 (horses would be) a nice number.” And the pair aren’t afraid to back their judgment at the yearling sales to bring more talent – and new owners – into their stables. “I think over the past three to four years we have bought about five to six yearlings all up; we have more luck buying the young ones than buying a ready-to-go one and like to bring new people into the game,” Ashwood said. “There’s been people already in the game who have bought shares and there have been a lot of people who weren’t in the game who have bought shares as well. They enjoy it and make good friendships, it is good fun.” The pair aren’t strangers to the highs and lows the trots can dish up, with the recent return of two of their best horses – Resurgent Spirit (66 starts for 29 wins and more than $221,000 in prizemoney) and Ideally Say Yes (sixth in the APG 2YO final at Menangle last year) – prime examples.  Ashwood said Resurgent Spirit – who will go around at Swan Hill tonight – is “very close to a win”. But the short-term prospects of promising youngster Ideally Say Yes have been setback by a fractured pelvis. “I took her to Mildura to race in a three-year-old race this week and going up to the gate she did it then,” he said. “She was just below the better ones (last season) and seemed like she was getting stronger and had improved a fair bit. It was just unfortunate that she hurt herself at the wrong time.”   Shaun Campbell for Trots Media

APG’s Australasian Premier Trotting Sale is less than four weeks away and it’s impossible not to be impressed with the quality of this year’s catalogue. Whilst APG’s pacers have consistently proven themselves to be every bit the equal of their New Zealand Sales counterparts, it’s fair to say that in times gone by, most people would have said that New Zealand bred trotters had the edge on their Australian counterparts. However, the tide is turning, and in recent years there has been exponential growth in the quality of trotter being bred in Australia, particularly by Australia’s leading commercial breeders. The growth in the quality of the Australian product can be seen by putting this year’s APTS catalogue next to New Zealand’s Yearling catalogue: 2019 Trotting Sales APTS Catalogue      NZ Catalogue No. Horses Catalogued 76 69 Prizemoney earned by Dams $2,300,500 $2,150,661 Average Earnings per Dam $30,270 $31,169 No. Dams with earnings $100,000+ 6 3 No. of sub 2:00 Winning Dams 16 7 No. of Winners produced by Dams 91 77 No. of $100,000+ winners produced by Dams      12 14 No. of Group winners produced by Dams 13 13 The results of the ever-increasing quality of yearling going through the APTS is already filtering through to the racetrack.  Recent Group One Dullard Trotters Cup winner, Big Jack Hammer, is a former APTS Sales Graduate, as is reigning Breeders Crown 2yo champion, Kyvalley Clichy. And whilst La Coocaracha, the dam of recent Southern Star winner, Dance Craze, may not have a yearling in this year’s APTS, her half-sister, Meredith Castle, has a cracking Dream Vacation colt that is sure to attract attention, particularly as Meredith Castle has already produced the $200,000 earner, Iona Grinner. The great news for buyers is that in addition to the outstanding quality on offer at this year’s APTS, this year’s graduates will be eligible for the inaugural APTS Group One 3yo Race Series, featuring separate divisions for colts and fillies. If you haven’t already got your 2019 APTS Catalogue, you can order one online by clicking here, and don’t forget that APG’s Online Guide for the 2019 APTS, featuring photos and video footage for all yearlings, along with updated pedigree pages will be available for viewing from 27 February via the APG website. APG Media

In-form reinsman Shannon Suvaljko has given punters an important lead by choosing to drive Clarenden Hustler in preference to Four Starzzz Forsa in the 2130m Caduceus Club Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Suvaljko handled both pacers when each turned in an eye-catching performance to finish in second place at their most recent outing. Clarenden Hustler, trained by Debbie Padberg, revealed explosive gate speed to lead from barrier seven in a 1730m event last Friday week. After quarters of 28.6sec., 29.4sec. and 27.9sec. the chestnut gelding, a recent arrival from South Australia, wilted slightly in a final quarter of 29.3sec. to finish a half-length second to Chok Chai. Four Starzzz Forsa started from barrier six in a 2130m event last Friday night and impressed when he was ninth on the pegs at the bell before finishing strongly to be second to Be On Guard. “I have chosen Clarenden Hustler ahead of Four Starzzz Forsa because he is the better horse,” was Suvaljko’s simple explanation. “Clarenden Hustler will win two or three in town. He’s a good horse, as good as Always Arjay. Once he becomes properly acclimatised and learns the pattern of WA racing, he’ll win races. He works as good as Neighlor. “From the back line this week I’ll driver him quietly and let him sprint home,” Suvaljko said. He should run in the top three.” Asked for his best prospect this week, Suvaljko said: “Take the place treble Neighlor, Clarenden Hustler and Absolution.” Suvaljko had the choice of driving Tactile Sensation and Another Ajay in race eight, the Join The Caduceus Club Today Handicap, and he opted for the Peter Tilbrook-trained Tactile Sensation, a five-year-old with a losing sequence of 31. Ten-year-old Another Ajay, a winner at Northam four starts ago for Serpentine trainer Matt Scott and a last-start third behind Back To The Beach and Debt Free Charlie at Gloucester Park last Friday night, will be driven by Michael Grantham. Grantham has high hopes of notching another win with Miss Sangrial, who is favourably drawn at barrier two in the Sports Daily On TABradio Pace. Miss Sangrial, trained by Michael Brennan, impressed when she led for the first 550m and then trailed the pacemaker Veiled Secret before running home strongly to win from that mare over 2130m at a 1.55.7 rate last Friday night. Miss Sangrial is capable of winning again, either by leading or by racing with a sit. She is likely to be tested by smart mares Gotta Go Gabbana, Mary Catherine and Lady De La Renta. Ken Casellas

Outstanding young reinsman Dylan Egerton-Green is delighted at Patrickthepiranha drawing the coveted No. 1 barrier in the $40,000 Caduceus Club Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night and is confident the WA-bred gelding will continue on his winning ways. “He gets away good from the arm and he’s got better with every run,” he declared. “And I’m confident that Patrickthepiranha is quick enough to hold the lead. He’s shown that at his previous runs. “Having his first run for a month is not a concern; he’s down the beach a fair bit and has also been working well. He hoppled today (Tuesday) and went really good, working by himself. Last Friday he worked with a few others and I was very happy with him.” Patrickthepiranha is aiming to extend his winning sequence to seven. He is unbeaten at six starts as a three-year-old and Egerton-Green (who has driven the gelding at all of his nine starts for seven wins, a first-up fifth and a third placing) said he was “probably” the best three-year-old he has driven. “I was fortunate to have driven Bechers Brook as a three-year-old last season (when he won the Battle of Bunbury and the Group 2 Western Gateway Pace before finishing a fast-finishing head second to King of Swing in the WA Derby),” he said. “They are two different horses. Bechers Brook was more of a sit and kick horse and Patrickthepiranha is more versatile; he can lead, sit-kick and is tougher.” Patrickthepiranha is prepared by ace Banjup trainer Colin Brown, who trained and drove The Hard Ball Get when he won the 2002 Caduceus Club Classic from Roadless Travelled and Sacre Bleu. Brown also won the Classic as a driver with David Hercules in 2010 and Ohokas Bondy in 2011. Patrickthepiranha’s chief rivals Shockwave and Franco Edward will need luck after drawing out wide. Shockwave, the winner of seven races from 17 starts, will begin from barrier No. 7, with Franco Edward, a winner at eight of his 12 starts, on his outside. Shockwave is in sparkling form and his seven starts this season have produced four wins and three placings. He is trained at Baskerville by Ryan Bell and will be driven by champion reinsman Gary Hall Jnr, who has won the classic behind Latte (2003), Ulrich (2004), Alberts Fantasy (2006), Gracias Para Nada (2012), Northview Punter (2013) and Beaudiene Boaz (2015). Shockwave has revealed sparkling gate speed from barrier five at his past two starts for easy all-the-way wins over 1730m and 2130m. Whether he can cross to the front from barrier seven this week is debatable. Franco Edward, trained and driven by Kyle Harper, made most of the running when beaten into second place by the fast-finishing Sweet N Fast over 2536m last Friday night. That followed two convincing wins over 2185m at Pinjarra at his two previous starts. Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the classic seven times, will be represented by the consistent and improving Eloquent Mach, who will be driven by Stuart McDonald from the outside of the back line. Eloquent Mach notched his fourth win from ten starts when he raced wide early and then in the breeze before fighting on determinedly to win from Know When To Run over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Tuesday evening. He faces a far tougher assignment against much stronger opposition on Friday night. Shannon Suvaljko, last season’s leading driver, is hoping for a change of fortune with the highly-promising Gee Jay Kay, who will start from, the No. 3 barrier for trainer Vicki Lea. Gee Jay Kay is still somewhat green, but has performed meritoriously at his three outings as a three-year-old with a second, a third and a fourth behind Shockwave. “His trial at Byford on Sunday was really good,” Suvaljko said. “He needs to sit and come over the top. He’s got some good horses to beat, but he’s up to them. It’s a good draw, but not a great draw.” Gee Jay Kay dashed over the final quarters of the 2150m trial in 28.9sec. and 27.1sec. and finished second to Another Snag. Ken Casellas

Star reinsman Ryan Warwick chalked up his 100th winner for the season when he drove Hasani to a hard-fought victory in a 2536m event at Gloucester Park on Tuesday night and he is quietly confident of keeping up the good work by steering Bettor Aim to victory in the Better Your Industry With TABtouch Pace on Friday night. Hasani, a promising Courage Under Fire five-year-old prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, was Warwick’s only drive on Tuesday night and came after he and the Bonds landed a treble with Ana Afreet, Our Alfie Romeo and Mighty Conqueror at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. The Bond camp and Warwick will have a comparatively quiet night on Friday night with three runners Courage Tells, Bettor Aim and Mitch Maguire and Warwick declared that Bettor Aim would prove hard to beat, saying with typical conservatism: “He’ll be thereabouts.” Bettor Aim, a New Zealand-bred four-year, has raced exclusively in Western Australia and, with Warwick in the sulky in all of his 18 starts for eight wins, three seconds and two thirds, has a bright future. Bettor Aim, who is handily drawn at No. 3 on the front line, finished last in a field of nine at his latest appearance, last Friday fortnight when he began from barrier nine, raced four wide early and then raced roughly when he contacted his own sulky. He then was hampered by a flat tyre, which was punctured 600m from home. Therefore there were many valid excuses for the failure. A week earlier he led and won very easily from Better Be Lively over 1730m and at his previous outing he finished stoutly to be second to Handsandwheels over 2130m. 40-year-old Warwick holds a commanding lead in the WA drivers’ premiership table, with 100 wins from 259 drives a winning percentage of 38.5 which is, by far, the best in Australia this season. He has now topped the century five seasons in a row 124 wins in 2014-15 (a winning percentage of 52), 124 (53.9%) in 2015-16, 176 (55.7%) in 2016-17 and 135 (59.3%) in 2017-18. Warwick’s 100 wins gives him a big lead on the WA premiership table over Chris Lewis (71 wins) and Gary Hall Jnr (63). Asked if he dreamt of heading the WA list for the first time this year, Warwick replied: “I’m not too worried about it. I never thought I was good enough to win a premiership, to be honest. But Greg (Bond) is pushing hard for it. It’s an ambition of Greg’s for me to be leading driver. “I work more on strike rates. If my strike rate is good, I’m happy. If I drove 50 winners and was running at 30 per cent I’d be stoked. As long as I’m fit and healthy I’ll keep driving, but I don’t see myself still driving at 65.” Warwick drove his first winner at 16 or 17 years of age when he was successful behind Neurology (trained by his father Colin) at Northam. He named Lookslikelightning as the best horse he has driven and the Glenn Pellew-trained Three Half Whites as the fastest he has sat behind. “When you start comparing them with all the outstanding Bond-trained horses, it gets too hard,” Warwick said. “Mitch Maguire is quick and so is El Jacko. Ana Malak is good and so is Dodolicious, Galactic Star and many, many others.” Warwick drove Ana Malak to victory in the Group 1 Four-Year-Old Classic and the Group 1 Golden Nugget late last year and he was excited at driving that horse’s full-brother Ana Afreet, a three-year-old colt, at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.           Ana Afreet made a splendid debut in the 2185m event, winning a helter-skelter affair in which a couple of horses galloped in the first lap and another ran off the pegs. Ana Afreet settled in sixth position and after avoiding interference he took the sit behind the pacemaker and then moved off the pegs 500m from home, dashed to the front at the 420m mark and raced away to win by five lengths from Tuakana, with a final quarter in 28.8sec. “There was a lot of traffic and a lot of scenarios that were thrown at him,” Warwick said. “It was his first start in a race and he didn’t seem fazed by any of them. The ability is there and I was pleased with his effort. He and Ana Malak look identical and their attitudes are laid back. You don’t even know that they are stallions; they’re very similar, very chilled out. They save their energy and don’t do anything stupid.” Warwick also said that he was delighted at the progress being shown by Mighty Conqueror, who showed commendable adaptability and composure to overcome difficulties before winning at Pinjarra on Monday. He started off 20m in a 2631m stand and settled in sixth position in the breeze, six lengths from the leader Rocknroll Beachboy before he broke gear, became unbalanced and galloped after a lap. He lost a couple of lengths before returning to a pace and then continued in the breeze before getting to the front 470m from home and holding on to win from Tactile Sensation. That was Mighty Conqueror’s eighth win from 12 starts. While Warwick has posted his century, Greg and Skye Bond are poised to reach this milestone. They have had 278 starters this season for 99 wins in WA and lead the trainers’ premiership table from Gary Hall Snr and Ross Olivieri, who have each prepared 45 winners this season.   Ken Casellas

Lightly-raced five-year-old Herrick Roosevelt has made a full recovery from leg surgery and champion trainer Gary Hall Snr is confident the New Zealand-bred gelding can make a successful return to racing after an absence of 421 days by winning the $50,000 RWWA Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This will be Herrick Roosevelt’s first start since he led and held on grimly to win the $50,000 Christmas Gift by a short half-head from Walkinshaw in December 2017 and his first-up prospects have been enhanced by drawing the prized No. 1 barrier in this week’s Group 2 feature event over 2130m. The Christian Cullen pacer has not appeared in recent trials, but Hall said he was fit and ready to run a big race. “His work in this preparation has been the best of his career and he’s a quick beginner and smart frontrunner,” he said. Herrick Roosevelt, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, underwent surgery after winning the Christmas Gift when he developed a cyst in a stifle joint in a back leg. He has raced only 18 times (all in Western Australia) for ten wins and six placings for stakes of $138,206. The Halls are seeking to win the RWWA Cup for the second year in succession. They were successful last year when Chicago Bull, favourite at 10/1 on, raced four wide early, took the lead after 650m and defeated stablemate Ohoka Punter by four lengths. Herrick Roosevelt is likely to be tested seriously by dependable iron horse Vultan Tin, who is in grand form for Coolup trainer Phil Costello and reinsman Chris Voak. Vultan Tin will start from barrier four and Voak is expected to make full use of the hardy seven-year-old’s good gate speed. “The worst case scenario will be working in the breeze,” Voak said. Vultan Tin maintained his excellent form when he was first out from the No. 4 barrier, but was unable to cross the polemarker Mr Mojito and then raced without cover before taking a narrow lead in the final stages and being beaten by a head by the fast-finishing Mitch Maguire over 2130m last Friday night. The final quarters were run in 28.2sec. and 27.7sec. A week earlier, Vultan Tin led from barrier two and gave a bold frontrunning display to win the Group 2 2536m City of Perth Cup by just under two lengths from the flying El Jacko. The final sections were run in 28.2sec. and 27.8sec. Talented reinsman Aiden de Campo warned punters not to underestimate Handsandwheels, who is awkwardly drawn at barrier No. 6. “He raced four back on the pegs and didn’t get a clear run in the last lap when sixth behind Mitch Maguire last week,” de Campo said. “He was unlucky and if he’d got a run he would’ve gone close to winning. He’s got another tricky draw this week and I haven’t yet decided on my tactics.” Mitch Maguire, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, is a brilliant sit-sprinter who is capable of overcoming his wide barrier at No. 7. He won for the ninth time from his past 15 starts and for the 23rd time from just 38 starts when he was sixth at the bell and finished powerfully to beat Vultan Tin last week. Shannon Suvaljko said that he was expecting the lone back-line runner Always Arjay to gain a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Herrick Roosevelt and then figure in the finish. The Nathan Turvey-trained and driven Simba Bromac will reappear after a month’s absence, but the gelding faces a stern test from the outside barrier (No. 9). Simba Bromac warmed up for the race with a stylish all-the-way victory in a 2185m trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he was unextended in dashing over the final 400m in 26.9sec. in beating Chelsea Royale by 19 metres.   Ken Casellas

Last November, Racing and Wagering Western Australia implemented a new business model for Harness Racing in the state. The business model was introduced with a view towards ensuring there would be long term sustainability in the code. The new model, as a conditioned handicapping system, ensures horses that are successful as juveniles don’t enter the open class system as maidens and they race against horses in a similar class. While these horses that performed well at juvenile level can’t drop back to maiden races, the system still allows them to slowly work their way into open class. As a result, the new model looks to ensure competitive racing and a reduction in short price favourites. The new model looked into race circuits, stakes tiering, meeting schedules, race programming and handicapping and internal business systems and practices. Colin Smith, a former handicapper of the West Australian Trotting Association who also helped in the creation of the new model, said it tried to ensure an even playing field for all participants. “We introduced the new system looking to reduce the number of short price favourites and spread more of the money around to the participants,” he said. “We wanted to increase the number of first time winners as well as the number of three and four-year-olds that win races. “In Harness Racing, we had some horses that would be five or six classes better than other horses, but come September 1 and the new season they would become even.” According to Smith, in season 2003/04 there were 248 different thoroughbreds that recorded their first win, while there were only 101 Standardbreds that matched that feat, despite there being more than 400 additional Harness Races held. Trainer-driver Aldo Cortopassi said juvenile horses dropping back to race in significantly easier races had been a problem for Harness Racing for some time and felt the code could learn from Thoroughbred Racing. “In the gallops, if you win a race, or run well in a good race, you get weight on your back,” he said. “In the trots, you often see good quality horses dropping back and winning maidens. “A lot of trainers would work the system, even I did too.” Cortopassi said it was important for Harness Racing in WA to keep evolving and embrace the new model. “I don’t mind the system because I have a range of different horses,” he said. “You really have to study the nominations and work out what race is suitable for your horse. “Harness Racing has been stuck in a holding pattern for a long time now. “This is a major evolving system and, like any system, it has a few glitches and some areas of it need tweaking. “For the most part, you have a lot of horses of the same calibre racing against each other.” As well as the improved standard of racing, Cortopassi said the new model could have a positive effect on the breeding industry. “The old system had an impact on the breeding industry,” he said. “People would hold on to their horses for a long time and they didn’t have to buy new horses. “They wouldn’t look interstate or to New Zealand to buy horses because they knew the horses they had in their stable would be able to drop back.” From the perspective of up and coming trainer-driver Kyle Harper, who won the Group 1 Golden Slipper with Franco Edward last year, the transition to the new model was never going to please everyone. “Nobody likes change, especially when it comes to business,” Harper said. “I was against it to start with, I didn’t like it at all and the most part of that was because I didn’t understand it. “Until you go through the motions of it, it’s pretty hard to understand. “I’m getting a pretty good grasp of it now and I’m actually not disliking it. “As time goes on, it’s getting better and better.” Harper said Kaptain Kenny was one horse in his stable that had benefitted from the new model. The gelding won just five of his first 56 races, but in a prosperous period between December and February he was able to win three races in four starts. “Under the new model, Kaptain Kenny has essentially been able to win what would under the old system be an M0 race twice,” Harper said. “He’s no world beater, but he’s been able to find the right races.” Despite the success he’s had with Kaptain Kenny, Harper said he had faced some problems finding suitable races for his star three-year-old Franco Edward. While Harper acknowledged it was important not to let juvenile feature race winners drop back too far below their class, he hoped there could be room for some concessions for them in the new system. “The biggest issue I have with a horse like Franco Edward is there’s no real penalty free two and three-year-old races,” he said. “In a sense that is good because it stops the Derby winner dropping back. “There still needs to be more incentive for the younger horses and a bit more opportunity for them in the new system.” Cortopassi said he had also been involved with pacers who had started to reap the rewards of victory as a result of the new model. “A horse I drove for Matt Henwood at Narrogin last month Baron Jujon has been an example of one who has benefitted,” he said. “We have seen a lot of hobby trainers who have been able to get their horses into races they can win without having better quality horses that can drop back. “You have to find the races and go to them.” Veteran Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed said he was also an advocate of the new model, despite his best horses not necessarily the ones best suited by the model. Reed identified turnover as the key long-term measure as to whether or not the model was working. “If the turnover on meetings has improved, then I think the model is working,” he said. “We need to be able to get turnover up. “Before we changed to the new model, we couldn’t get full fields. “The good horses are the ones that are impacted more by the new model, but they well find ways to win.” More information on the new business model can be found on the following link:   Tim Walker

AUSTRALIA’S most successful driver says he doesn’t fear the country’s most exciting pacer in Saturday’s $200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle.  And Chris Alford says he even has a surprising plan how to beat Ignatius with Victorian star Poster Boy.  Ignatius started the week as the TAB favourite for Saturday night’s great four-year-old mile but has lost that honour to Chase Auckland, even after he sat parked outside him and beat him last Saturday.  That would seem to be punters rallying for the Purdon-Rasmussen training factor as well as Chase Auckland having the ace draw.  But Chris Alford, the most successful harness driver in Australian history with over 6700 wins, says he can beat both of them with Poster Boy.  The latter has only met Ignatius twice and beaten him both times as well as winning the NSW Derby this time last year.  Add that to a comeback win over Inter Dominion star Spankem two starts ago and a walk in the park at Melton last Saturday and Poster Boy’s $5.50 bookies quote starts to look inviting.  One of the reasons for the value is his widish draw at barrier seven but Alford says rather than track Ignatius, who many expect to see parked again, he wants to stay in front of him.  “I think we are every bit as good as him,” he offers.  “And we are drawn inside him so my first plan would be to stay in front of him. “This has always been a good horse because he has real speed but now he has developed the stamina to go with it.  “So he could be in for a very good season.” The Chariots has gone from being a great four-year-old race to one of the fastest miles run in Australasia every year and the winners now become genuine contenders for the Miracle Mile, as shown by the performances of Have Faith In Me (won Miracle Mile), Lazarus (third) and Jilliby Kung Fu (second) in recent season.  But whether Poster Boy is ready for a Miracle Mile on March 2 should be win on Saturday will be up to trainer Emma Stewart. “Emma and Clayton (Tonkin, partner) have a great record at Menangle and they are one of the few stables from down here where the horses don’t need a run on the track before they showed their best up there.  “Their horses are just so tough and they suit Menangle because their is nowhere to hide.” Poster Boy is Alford’s only drive on Saturday night but he is confident about the classic chances of Kualoa (NSW Oaks) and Centenario (NSW Derby) in coming weeks.   Michael Guerin  

That is one of the slogans that young, passionate and positive Canadian horse trainer, Anthony MacDonald lives by. That same Anthony MacDonald is about to arrive in Australia for a series of Seminars in Victoria and New South Wales, the details of which are included at the bottom of this article. The downunder trip for Anthony is being is being Sponsored by Club Menangle , the NSW Owners Association and Australian Pacing Gold. Anthony MacDonald and his wife Amy commenced a Syndication Company in Ontario about 3 years ago under the name of After a slow start in their first year, The Stable now has in excess of 600 individual owners involved in ownership of over 140 horses. In Canada you are able to purchase as little as 1% in a Syndicate and hence the slogan  “ Own a Little  ..  And Love It A Lot “. Anthony’s philosophy is focused on providing fun and excitement in owning an equine athlete and not on the gambling aspect of horse racing. He readily acknowledges that his success is based on four simple but essential ingredients ; 1.   Communication with Owners. 2.   Providing Good Customer Service . 3.   Use of Modern Technology. 4.   Fixed Costs per Month Anthony is a true down to earth horseman.  He was born and raised in Kingston, Prince Edward Island which is one of three Provinces (along with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) that make up the Canadian Maritimes on the far East Coast of Canada. He was born into a Harness Racing family .  His older brother Mark is a champion driver in North America (probably best known here in Australia for driving Mr Feelgood to victory in the 2006 Little Brown Jug and also the regular driver of American Ideal), whilst his younger brother, James, is the reigning World Champion driver, a title he won in 2017. Anthony himself is no slouch in the gig either having driven over 3,000 winners in his homeland, although it is fair to say that he now concentrates more on training and communicating with his owners. The Maritimes have provided North America with some of its finest horsemen.  Aside from the MacDonald clan, the likes of Carl and Jody Jamieson, Dr Ian Moore (trainer of Shadow Play and numerous other outstanding Pacers), Brent McGrath (trainer of the legendary Somebeachsomewhere), Greg Peck (trainer of the freaky trotter Muscle Hill), as well as one of the greatest horsemen of all in time in Joe O’Brien all grew up and developed their horse skills in those glorious Maritimes. The story of how Anthony and Amy MacDonald became involved  in Syndication is also an intriguing one .  Make sure you start up your car and drive to one of the venues to hear the full story. Anthony MacDonald is Passionate and Positive about Harness Racing and his message is contagious.  You will love to catch the bug that the Mac Message will give you. DATES AND VENUES Bendigo Club, Victoria           from 7pm - Thursday 21st Feb Club Menangle, NSW            7pm - Monday 25th Feb Bathurst Club, NSW              7pm - Tuesday 26th Feb. Newcastle Club, NSW           7pm - Thursday 28th Feb In addition he will be interviewed by John Tapp at the Harness Breeders Yearling Parade at Warwick Farm on Friday, 1st March.  The Parade will commence at 7pm.   John Coffey

Just six weeks after arriving in Brisbane from NSW to pursue a career as a professional trainer/driver, talented young horseman Ben Battle has finally broken through for a well deserved win. Ben steered home the 'ever consistent' six year old pacer Whiskey Blaze to a 'heart stopping' half head victory at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon. Since arriving in Brisbane, Ben has guided the gelded son of Kenneth J to three second placing's in succession at Albion Park, plus a hard hitting fourth, prior to saluting the judge with a meritorious victory, albeit by the barest of margins. Two races later and Ben was back in the action again, aboard Whostolemypigeon, but this time it was a different scenario, going under by a half head, after sitting 'parked' throughout the entire trip. "At the end of the day, I am really pleased that the stable is finally starting to fire and getting rewarded," a reservedly excited Ben said. "I'm hoping that now that we've finally broken through, more wins may come our way for my team. "I only have ten horses currently in my stable, but if I can keep achieving results, then I'm hoping that I might a be able to build on that," he concluded. Without doubt, and judging by the way that he is acquitting himself in Queensland to date, that may be sooner .. rather than later !!   Ken Davis

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