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The Dominion is all about the Ford factory. However, it’s horsepower of a different variety – equine! For the second straight year, West Melton trainer Ken Ford has walked away with the biggest trotting cheque in the southern hemisphere after his brilliant performer Marcoola delivered a stunning performance to win the Gr.1 $300,000 Used To Me @ Haras de Trotteurs Dominion at Addington today (Friday). Twelve months ago, the Ford family was left shell-shocked after Amaretto Sun and young Sheree Tomlinson (Ford's grand-daughter) pulled off a longshot shocker to win the south island feature and again today, they were left a little gob smacked by the sheer arrogance and blinding acceleration of their star trotter as he raced away with the 3200m standing start feature. Handled by Ford's son Clint, it was utter domination from Marcoola. Unlike last year, the performance today didn’t completely shock anyone because most are acutely aware of the rich talent the Sundon six-year-old entire possesses. In lead-up to the event, his form has been true and consistent but the barrier allowed punters to gain a juicy price about the speedy performer. Race favourite Speeding Spur was backing-up following his Gr.1 FFA victory on Tuesday and was attempting to claim the Rowe Cup/Dominion double in the same year while join the other 17 trotters to claim the Cup week double. With Alderbeck, Temporale and Hey Yo all beginning quickly and vying for the early supremacy, Speeding Spur stepped safely and landed in a handy spot just behind the leaders. Classy mare Harriet Of Mot galloped away badly and lost considerable ground. Within the first lap, changes swept over the field with the highly fancied Great Things Happen finding the lead while Lemond was left parked without cover and Speeding Spur sitting right on his back. The tempo was dawdling with Great Things Happen and driver Gavin Smith walking the big field through the opening lap. The lead time was covered in 2:08.1. Speeding Spur made a move around the 1200m point and parked outside Great Things Happen while Ronald J soon followed and raced outside the leader. The first half was covered in 29.2 and 31.7 seconds. Entering the back straight, Great Things Happen led Ronald J while Speeding Spur sat poised ready to strike. Passing the 1000m point, driver Clint Ford made his move with Marcoola and allowed him to stride forward three wide and his run was unimpeded. And he came with a rush as he built massive momentum. The third quarter was covered in 29.7 seconds. With his blinding acceleration, Marcoola surged to the lead and soon opened up the field and raced away to lead by a clear margin entering the home straight. Ford kept his charge focused as Australian trotter Kyvalley Blur started to charge down the outside but the margin was too great. Marcoola scored convincingly and registered a margin of 4 lengths from Kyvalley Blur with a further 2.75 lengths back to Lemond in third while Speeding Spur finished fourth. The winning time was 4:08 – a mile rate of 2:04.6 with a final split of 28.7 seconds. Yet again, it was time for celebration for the Ford family. “He felt really good and there was some cat and mouse tactics from Anthony (Butt – Kyvalley Blur) and Tony (Herlihy – Temporale) and I just went for it. He trotted great and showed great speed but I kept thinking they were coming and I kept checking but he did it well.” Driver Clint Ford said. Marcoola is raced in partnership by Clint and his father Ken. The last time a trainer prepared back to back winners in the Dominion was Tim Butt back in 2003/04 after Take A Moment and Lyell Creek proved triumphant. Interestingly, Marcoola is closely related to Lyell Creek and takes his record to 14 wins from 31 starts while his earnings now exceed $410,000. The next leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters is the $150,000 Inter Dominion in Melbourne on December 15. Chris Barsby

The unplanned Sydney trip has been profitable for Turpin/McMullen racing stables. A team of seven pacers from the Patrick Estate stables of Chantal Turpin and her husband Pete McMullen ventured south owing to the issues with the Albion Park track and they’ve reaped the rewards. Already successful at TABCORP Park, Menangle has been stable stars Mattgregor and Watch Pulp Fiction while Bull Market and Laughing Emoji have also registered victories. Opononis Bliss has managed two minor placings while former New Zealand pacers Some Excusesomwhere and Itz Major Look were unplaced in just one start to date. With the Brisbane summer carnival and a return to Albion Park imminent, the team will be heading back up the highway in the next week. But not all. “At this stage, we have Laughing Emoji, Opononis Bliss, Itz Major Look and Watch Pulp Fiction heading home. Bear (Mattgregor) is racing again this weekend and then he’s joining Darren Binskin while Bull Market has been sold to Leon Jurd and Some Excusesomwhere will head to Jarrod Alchin next week.” Turpin said. On Tuesday, the husband and wife stable combined for a double after Bull Market and Laughing Emoji both proved triumphant. Both pacers recorded new personal best times with Bull Market taking a mark of 1:51.5 while Laughing Emoji rated 1:52.9. Their victories follow on from Mattgregor winning last Saturday night while Watch Pulp Fiction and Bull Market both scored the previous week. And with solid success during their brief stay, they’re reluctantly returning home. “We have absolutely loved it down there, we’re based on the track at Menangle and the facilities are outstanding and the other trainers are very accommodating so it makes it difficult to leave but we have obligations up here. A return trip next year is already being planned and we can’t wait to have another crack at it. “We plan on starting Watch Pulp Fiction in the open features during the summer carnival, that’s as long as he gains a start. That’s the reason why we are leaving Mattgregor down in Sydney; he’ll probably get left out of these upcoming features so we figure its best to keep him in Sydney on the bigger track. “He looks a good chance again this weekend and Pete will fly down on Saturday and take the drive, he did a good job last week rating good time over the longer distance and being first-up. He’s back at the mile trip this week and should prove very competitive; it will be interesting to see what ranking he holds for the Inter Dominion if he wins again.” Final rankings for the Melbourne Inter Dominion series will be released next week. The stable have several runners engaged at Redcliffe this weekend. Representing the stable tomorrow (Friday) is Happy Feelings, Exceptional Mach, Heavens Hurricane and Imthe Golden Child with McMullen driving the quartet. On Saturday night, the stable starters are Always My Mate, Bells Beach House and Argyle Beach with Turpin driving the trio while taking a catch drive aboard Amajorjo for her father Tony. “Argyle Beach looks our best chance at Redcliffe across the weekend, she’s a classy mare with great speed and very consistent form,” Turpin said. “This mare will be making a trip to Sydney next year, we’re thrilled with the way she has performed for Ross (Patrick – owner).” She added. Since the 2013/14 season, Turpin has trained over 100 winners each term. Turpin has trained 11 winners while McMullen has driven 29 winners in Queensland so far this season. Chris Barsby

Talented mare The Charging Moa has run her final race in Queensland. The New Zealand bred daughter of Changeover – Special Ops has proven to be a great money-spinner for her connections winning 13 of her 16 races in the Sunshine State. And 11 were recorded at Albion Park. A winner of four Rising Stars Finals at Albion Park, the speedy type recorded a personal best time of 1:53.8 in winning one of her finals. At her most recent start on November 3 at Redcliffe, The Charging Moa finished an unlucky fourth as favourite behind Sweet As in a time of 1:57.4 for the 1780m event. Leading horseperson Kylie Rasmussen was the most recent trainer of the mare where she won 3 of her 8 starts under her tutelage. A talented sit-sprint type, The Charging Moa is headed to Victoria to join the stables of Dean Braun. Ultimately, the mare could end up in North America given the huge success ‘downunder’ mares have experienced over the past twelve months spearheaded by the ex-Braun trainee Shartin among many others. The Charging Moa ranks as a half-sister to Bettor Ops (9 wins - $92k). **********************************************************************   Broodmare Smooth Class achieved a rare result last night (Wednesday). The French Chef mare produced the quinella result in the UBET Pace at Redcliffe when Took Your Time defeated older brother Spondooley. Both pacers are sired by Grinfromeartoear. And both geldings are raced by Perth based owner Tanya Graham and prepared by her highly respected father Wayne. Young gun Leonard Cain took the winning drive behind Took Your Time while Wayne partnered Spondooley. Took Your Time (better known as Fletch) takes his record to 6 wins from 24 starts while Spondooley (aka Nash) has won 21 of his 210 starts. Their combined prizemoney now sits at $168,287. “It was a massive thrill seeing the boys fight out the finish, it didn’t matter who won as long as they both did their best. It’s very satisfying; they provide me with the opportunity to get home as much as I can because they’re my Flight Centre account.” Graham said. Based in Perth, Graham operates the Gloucester Park Garrards Horse & Hound store. The Graham family is synonymous in Queensland harness racing circles after racing the likes of Sparkling Melody, Yahoo Buckaroo, Albert Aralar, Mach Alert and reigning Albion Park Horse of the Year Glenferrie Hood.   ********************************************************************** Former multiple Queensland premiership winner Alan Donohoe is back in town. Based in Victoria for the past decade, Donohoe has returned home and prepares his small team of pacers at Alberton, south of Brisbane. His blue silks with a yellow diamond are very familiar to punters. Venturing to Redcliffe last night (Wednesday) with his first starter since relocating, Donohoe finished as runner-up behind Montana Express aboard race favourite Gunrneedrbigrboat in the Darren Ebert & Co Pace. Donohoe has prepared and won many features in Queensland with the likes of Armada Miss, Grants Law, Penny The Pussycat, Academy Award, Devils Dream, Pocket Battleship and Stratum among many others. His haul of state and metropolitan premierships is very impressive; State Drivers Premiership winner 86/87 90/91 94/95 97/98 98/99   Metro Drivers Premiership winner 90/91 91/92 94/95 95/96 97/98 98/99   Metro Trainers Premiership winner 94/95 95/96 Donohoe never won a State Trainers Premiership. **********************************************************************   A trio of classy mares was back in action earlier this week (Tuesday). Four-year-old mares Lisa Lincoln, Fame Assured and Aqua Miss all lined up in a Redcliffe trial over 1780m and performed as expected. The Melissa Gillies trained Lisa Lincoln led throughout defeating the Grant Dixon duo of Fame Assured and Aqua Miss in the 1780m workout. The winning mile rate was 1:58.3 with sectionals of 31.2, 28.8, 29.5 and 29.2 seconds. With a return to Albion Park imminent, expect to see these mares back in action shortly. ********************************************************************** Star Of Montana has scored himself a summer vacation. The exciting prospect, formerly prepared by legendary Auckland horseman Barry Purdon, has failed to handle the heat and humidity of a scorching Queensland spring. As a result, new trainer Darrel Graham is now left to radically change his upcoming engagements. “He’s basically melted under the Queensland sun; I was happy with the early stage of his preparation but as we got deeper, it got hotter and he hasn’t coped at all. To be fair, it has been very trying weather patterns lately with plenty of storm activity but he’s not worth risking or pushing on with so he’s out until February.” Graham said. The Art Major gelding was being readied for the upcoming Victoria and New South Wales Derby classics early next year but now the ultimate target has become the home town Queensland Derby in the middle of winter. A return trip to Purdon was considered before sending him to the spelling paddock. “I asked Dean (Shannon – owner) if he wanted him to go back to Barry for a shot at some of these bigger races but he wanted him back in the paddock, he believes he will acclimatize in time. “The Queensland winter carnival followed by a trip to Melbourne for the Breeders Crown if his form warrants it is the key focus now; they’re both in cooler conditions which will help. “It’s disappointing because we have a good opinion of him and thought he was up to the standard required to be very competitive in those southern features.” Shannon races talented three-year-old Belle Of Montana, a tidy Alexandra Park winner on debut back on October 26. The Bettors Delight – Lady Cullen filly is likely to head to Brisbane next year in preparation for the Queensland Oaks.   Chris Barsby

As far as elite drivers go, the name of Natalie Rasmussen is clearly in the conversation. The trailblazing girl from Queensland can drive.....and she can drive fast. But it’s the soft hands and gentle approach that puts her in rare air. Her collection of big race trophies includes Inter Dominions, Miracle Mile, Queensland Pacing Championships and Auckland, Victoria and Hunter Cups. Rasmussen has led the way for female drivers by becoming the first to win the Inter Dominion, Queensland Pacing Championship plus the Auckland, Victoria and Winter Cups. All of the above mentioned are Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit events, the best of the best. And the latest trophy to the mantelpiece, the Gr.1 $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup, another Grand Circuit feature. Rasmussen produced another polished display to land the 3200m stand start feature, getting race favourite Thefixer away safely before taking the early lead from Star Galleria and then handing over to stablemate Dream About Me. It was typical of her normal poise and guile in big pressure events. The victory puts her alongside fellow Australian Kerryn Manning as the only female winners of the famed feature. Rasmussen also co-trains the winner in partnership with Mark Purdon. After a long delay following a botched attempt the first time around with the starting strand becoming entangled with Eamon Maguire, runners were called back and forced to stand to attention again. But the delay had no effect on Rasmussen or Thefixer with a safe beginning made and landing in a dangerous position while key rivals navigated some early traffic and jostled for positions. Sitting patiently in the trail, Thefixer followed Dream About Me and saved much needed energy, the lead time was covered in 1:57.8. Sole Aussie raider Tiger Tara soon made his move and circled three-wide before parking outside Dream About Me, he maintained strong pressure onwards. Approaching the home turn, Dream About Me and Tiger Tara sprinted as strong as they could and actually had Thefixer losing their backs but Rasmussen went to work and the nuggety little stayer knuckled down and picked up via the passing lane to defeat a gallant Tiger Tara with Dream About Me filling third place. The winning margin was a head with a half-length back to third. The winning time was 3:53.9 - the mile rate was 1:57.6. “I can retire happily now that I’ve finally won this race,” Rasmussen declared. “That was so so close but we got there, he’s been a project horse of mine for some time and he’s such a great little stayer, we got a great run but I was worried when the sprint went on but he fought all the way to the finish and he was brave. It wasn’t an ideal campaign with the hoof abscess but things worked out well.” It was her 7th drive in the New Zealand Cup. Her victories on New Zealand soil now tally 237 from 612 drives while amassing more than $7.9 million. The All Stars stable has now won 4 of the past 5 editions. And the efforts of super sire Bettors Delight can’t go unnoticed, his 5th straight winner of the Cup plus a trifecta! Thefixer is by Bettors Delight from the Christian Cullen mare Tosti Girl and came at a cost of $47,000 at the 2015 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka. The next leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit is the Inter Dominion in Melbourne on December 15.   Chris Barsby

Wow.....where do we start with the 2018 Gr.1 $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup? As the second leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, the Kiwi feature is steeped in tradition after first being staged back in 1904 when Monte Carlo proved victorious while many great names line the pages of history. And another great pacer will etch their name into the record books on the famous second Tuesday in November at Addington. The build-up has been intense and absolutely relentless as we draw closer to the 3200m stand start feature. The early scratchings of Australian star Chicago Bull and local ace Ultimate Machete have only added to the pre-race drama. In fact, the race has seen more moves than a 1980’s disco dance floor! And so many questions need to be answered. All the normal types like who has the Best Stamina? Endurance? Willingness? Desire? And Hunger? But what about answers to the following; Can the All Stars win another Cup? The Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen combination has won 3 of the last 4 editions (Lazarus x 2 & Adore Me) and this year is represented by Thefixer, Cruz Bromac, Eamon Maguire and Dream About Me. Can Dream About Me become the latest mare to claim the Cup? The last mare to score in the Cup came from this stable with Adore Me triumphant four years ago. At this point, Dream About Me is the only mare starting in the Cup although Queen Bee Bardon is listed as the third emergency. Thefixer is facing the starter for only the 16th time, only Mainland Banner has had less starts prior to winning the Cup (it was her 12th start). Can the All Stars prepare the trifecta in the Cup? Back in 2016, they prepared 1st, 3rd & 4th (Lazarus, Titan Banner & Smolda). The biggest number of starters in a New Zealand Cup from All Stars is five (2012). Respected trainer Robert Dunn has the biggest representation in the Cup with five starters; he will gear up Alta Orlando, Captain Dolmio, Letspendanitetogetha, Billy Badger and Zadaka. Can he train his second winner of the event? Dunn scored with wonder mare Mainland Banner back in 2005. Can Ricky May score a record 8th Cup victory when he partners the Greg and Nina Hope trained A G’s White Socks? The next best is Cecil Devine who won 6 Cups. Can Aussie raider Tiger Tara join the likes of Steel Jaw, (My) Lightning Blue and Arden Rooney as an Australian trained winner of the Cup? Prepared by Sydney horseman Kevin Pizzuto, the $1.59 million earner will be handled by regular reinsman Todd McCarthy who is taking his 3rd Cup drive. Now an eight-year-old, Can Tiger Tara join Monkey King (2010) as the most recent winner of the Cup at that age? Tiger Tara is starting in his 4th Cup. Champion reinsman Tony Herlihy is chasing his 4th Cup victory and will partner the highly regarded Auckland trained Star Galleria for trainer Steve Reid. Can Barry Purdon train his 4th Cup winner when Jack’s Legend takes his spot in the Cup? If successful, it will be his 1st outright victory after preparing his trio of winners in partnership with his legendary father Roy. Can Zachary Butcher (Jack’s Legend) join his father David (Changeover – 2008) as a Cup winning driver? Oddly, Changeover (Geoff Small) was the most recent North Island trained winner of the Cup. Can Natalie Rasmussen (Thefixer), Sam Ottley (Forgotten Highway) or Sheree Tomlinson (Locharburn) join Kerryn Manning as a female winning driver of the Cup? Can super sire Bettors Delight claim his 5th Cup after winning the past 4 editions? This year, the record breaking stallion is represented by Thefixer, Dream About Me, Jack’s Legend, Forgotten Highway & Tiger Tara. Can 1998 Cup winner Christian Cullen produce his 2nd winner (Mainland Banner – 2005)? The wonder horse is represented by Locharburn and Baileys Knight (2nd emergency). Interestingly, the horse that has claimed the title of APG Grand Circuit champion for the past two seasons has won the Cup…..the one and only Lazarus! So, all this and more will make sense late on Tuesday afternoon. Because then, at 5.12pm Local time, it will be time for answers.   Chris Barsby

A pair of leading stables is eyeing the upcoming Queensland summer carnival. The summer features, to be staged at Albion Park from December 1 through until December 15 has caught the attention of Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy plus Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris. And both stables are likely to bring plenty of talent north of the border. In recent times, both combinations have been frequent visitors to the Sunshine State while success has also followed and consistently. The Queensland summer carnival clashes directly with the famed Inter Dominion series, being staged in Melbourne this year after spending the past three years based in Perth. With many leading stables heading to Melbourne, the Sydney combinations have focused on the Brisbane features. The Cross/McCarthy stable arrives this week and again will be based south of Brisbane at the property of Cristina Monte and Charlie Cini with six horses and the possibility of more to come in the coming weeks. “The carnival looks a good option for a number of our horses and we’re still considering on bringing Mach Doro up for the open class events. We haven’t made a decision about him yet but it’s definitely an option,” McCarthy explained. “We have runners this weekend at Redcliffe and they will remain for the Albion Park carnival. Hopefully, we can make a good start this weekend.” He added. The stable has Young American, Ima Kennedy Two, Blue Moon Rising, Rich Virgin and Living Again starting this Saturday night at the Redcliffe meeting. The Turner/Morris stable are yet to head north as they have confirmed their team but numbers should be strong with at least six to eight shortlisted. Stable favourite Aztec Bromac is likely for the open class events in December. Last year, the American Ideal gelding scored victories in both the Christmas and Queensland Cups. Two starts ago, Aztec Bromac rated a new personal best time of 1:51.6 when successful at TABCORP Park, Menangle. “We’re definitely looking at bringing him up again at this stage, he’s engaged to race again this weekend at Menangle while we’re sorting what races suit some of our team best,” Morris said. “As long as the features are at Albion Park, we’re keen to be part of the action again.” He added. The Queensland summer carnival features over three consecutive Saturday nights include; December 1 – Gr.3 $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprint, $20,660 APHRC Members Cup, December 8 - $20,660 Christmas Cup, $20,660 Forever Gold Mares FFA December 15 – Gr.2 $50,660 Queensland Cup, Gr.2 $40,770 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final, $20,660 C2-C5 Feature & $14,999 King of the Claimers Final Chris Barsby

It’s a busy weekend coming up for the Marburg Pacing Association. The club will conduct two meetings, racing both Friday and Sunday afternoon with strong fields spread across both days. A total of 135 horses are listed to start across the two days of racing which will see 16 races staged. And several are looking to break their run of outs. At the top of the list is the Brian McCall prepared Ohoka Cooper who starts in the Speed-Action-Winners Marburg Pace on Friday. The Bettors Delight gelding will start from the coveted inside gate in the 2200m mobile start event with local reinsman Steven Doherty booked to drive. A winner of 10 races from 76 starts to date, the well-traveled pacer has forgotten where the winning post is situated with his latest victory coming way back in July of 2016 at Gloucester Park in Perth. Plenty has happened since his latest triumph. And a lot has changed too. Ohoka Cooper has traveled across the Nullarbor, making the 3900km trek from Perth to Sydney where he joined the stables of Darren McCall at Menangle. But the Sydney stint was short lived before heading further up the highway to join the stable of his current mentor. McCall trained former Albion Park speedster Lebron, a winner of 30 races and $250,000. “This horse is no Lebron, let’s make that very clear; he’s your typical old style New Zealand type that lacks high speed but grinds away and tries hard every time he starts. His lack of pace is his biggest detriment and he much prefers the longer trips compared the speed racing.” McCall said. Ohoka Cooper is raced by McCall’s partner, Rachel Beaton. Originally from New Zealand where he commenced his career with legendary horseman Tony Herlihy, the full-brother to talented performer On The Rantan scored a victory at Cambridge but was later sold to Perth connections following eight starts in his homeland. Joining the Perth stables of Kade Howson, Ohoka Cooper showed a liking for the Perth style of racing and contested several features including Preludes of the WA Derby, Golden Nugget, 4yo Championship and the McInerney Ford Classic. During his time in the west, he managed to win 9 races (7 at Gloucester Park) during his time with Howson and then Ray Williams. His stint in Sydney lasted for only eight starts where he failed to hit the board and his lack of high speed was exposed. “Darren said he couldn’t match them on the big track and wasn’t suited so he asked if I would take him on. Originally, I struggled to work him out and his form deteriorated but in recent times, he’s actually improved slightly. “I actually think he would thrive if we staged the long distance stand-start races, he’s not the type you can really use off the gate but he should land a good spot in his race this week. “The pressure is actually on because big brother Darren had a winner (Fortyeighthenson) at Menangle last weekend while my sister Sharon (Furey) was in the winners list at Redcliffe last night (Wednesday) with Living Grand.” Meanwhile, Lebron is finally settling into his life of retirement following his decorated racing career. The Jennas Beach Boy gelding hasn’t raced since July, 2016. “He took a while to adapt but he’s loving life now, he’s as fat as a fool.”   Chris Barsby

Former racetrack queen Forever Gold has settled into her role of motherhood perfectly. Considered one of the best mares produced in the Sunshine State, Forever Gold wowed fans with her fierce tenacity and great desire to win during her many seasons of racing for owner/breeders Murray Cole and Beau Watson. Prepared by Kylie Rasmussen and Darren Weeks throughout her glittering career, the Famous Forever mare retired with 42 victories from 92 starts while amassing more than $700,000 in stakes. Some of her biggest victories include the Queensland Oaks, Inter Dominion heat, Governors Cup, Robin Dundee Stakes, Make Mine Cullen, 4/5yo Championship, Qld Ladyship Stakes (x 4) and the 2yo & 3yo QBRED Breeders Classic and Triads Finals. Feature race placings include Nursery Pace Final, Gold Coast Oaks, Ladyship Mile, Teeny Teeny, Ranji Bill, Angelique Club Cup, Northern Breeders Stakes, Queen of Hearts, Redcliffe Gold Cup, Lord Mayors Cup, Christmas Cup, Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake. Upon her retirement in 2015, Forever Gold headed to Egmont Park to take on her next role as a broodmare. At stud, the mare better known as ‘Tammy’ has delivered three foals. And the latest arrived just recently. Forever Gold delivered another healthy colt by North American siring sensation Captaintreacherous, a full brother to her previous mating. Captaintreacherous has enjoyed tremendous success in North America this season through the likes of Captain Ahab, Tall Drink Hanover, Captain Crunch, Treacherous Reign and Cruise Captain among others. His North American service fee has just been increased to $25,000 for 2019. Her first foal, now a two-year-old by Rock N Roll Heaven will soon head back to the Rasmussen/Weeks training operation for her next campaign. Rock N Roll Heaven has produced some wonderful fillies/mares including the likes of Shez All Rock, Rocknroll Magic, Mackenzie, Goodtime Heaven and Park Life among others. The filly is unnamed at this point. It is understood that Forever Gold will have the current breeding season off.   Chris Barsby

The return to racing for Leos Best is still a long way off. Since being crowned the 2016/17 Queensland Harness Horse of the Year, the Cammibest gelding has graced the racetrack only twice. Prepared by leading horseman Grant Dixon, the multiple feature race winner has been plagued by soundness issues for the past twelve months. The issues started after he pulled a shoe and drove a nail through his hoof late last year while niggling problems since have kept him away from the track. And he’s still no closer to a return. “He’s still spelling up at Egmont Park but he’s due for another scan next week so hopefully he gets the green light to resume work sooner rather than later.” Dixon explained. Raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour, Leos Best has been based at their iconic stud farm at Biddeston on the Darling Downs under the care of Tobi Raeth. The now six-year-old made a cameo back in November, 2017 which resulted in a first-up victory at Albion Park on November 11 followed by a dismal effort two weeks later when unplaced. Leos Best finished fifth behind Smooth Showgirl but never threatened at any stage. He hasn’t raced since. Overall, Leos Best has won 26 of his 44 starts while banking more than $345,000. Chris Barsby

Will Shartin be crowned the USTA Horse of the Year? Following her victory in the $270,00 Breeders Crown Open Mares Pace at Pocono Downs last weekend, the New Zealand bred mare has clearly established herself as the best pacing mare in the world. It is the first time a ‘down under’ performer has won a Breeders Crown Final. Other feature race victories include the $373,000 Matchmaker at Yonkers, $150,000 Betsy Ross at Harrah’s, $102,200 Sam ‘Chip’ Noble Memorial at Miami Valley, Ohio, $370,000 Roses are Red at Mohawk, $197,400 Lady Liberty at Meadowlands and the $98,500 Allerage Farms Mare Pace at The Red Mile. Overall, Shartin has won 18 of her 23 starts in North America this season for trainer Jim King Jr. and owners Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King. And with earnings currently sitting at $968,361 – she has surpassed the previous record of Dreamfair Eternal's seasonal earnings record for a pacing mare of $925,575 set in 2010 as well as moving nearer the million-dollar mark. Her next assignment will come in the $175,000 TVG Mares FFA at Meadowlands on November 24. Given the fact that Atlanta, a winner of the Hambletonian against the colts and geldings earlier this year, was beaten in her Breeders Crown Final only strengthens the claims of Shartin taking the top gong. The Tintin In America mare was developed by astute Victorian based horseman Dean Braun and won 7 of her 13 starts including both the Queensland and Tasmanian Oaks. And it was great to see Braun part of the celebrations trackside last weekend. “That was something else to be trackside to watch her achieve something that has never been done before, a horse to come from the southern hemisphere and win a Breeders Crown plus all of the other features she’s claimed is truly remarkable,” Braun said. “It was super to finally meet Richard and the King’s after countless phone-calls during the journey, they’ve done an unbelievable job with her and I wish them continued success. The scary part is I think she is far from finished and the team behind her believes that too.” He added. Only recently, Braun sold Duplicated to Poillucci and he has entered the stables of Team King. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding qualified recently at Harrah’s Chester in Philadelphia winning in a time of 1:56.2 Duplicated is scheduled to make his North American debut later this week.   by Chris Barsby

Queensland will not be represented in the 2018 New Zealand Cup. The famed two mile stand-start feature staged in Christchurch at Addington Raceway will take place on November 14 and Alleluia won’t be making the trip. Prepared by Grant Dixon for leading owner Greg Mitchell, a late entry payment was made last month which had the Art Major gelding on the cusp of the final field of 15 starters before slipping to 17th in the latest rankings form Harness Racing New Zealand. Following his third placing behind Let It Ride in the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park during the winter carnival back in July, Alleluia continued his strong form with a string of open class victories at Albion Park during August and September. As a result, connections decided to chase the New Zealand Cup. But his form has dipped slightly in recent weeks including his latest effort last weekend when fourth behind his stable mate Ohoka Punter after leading. “While he’s a proven Redcliffe Cup winner he’s not entirely comfortable on the track, the other major factor of not going ahead with New Zealand is the travel involved. There is no direct flight into Christchurch meaning we have to road down to Sydney before flying to Auckland and then getting a connecting flight to Christchurch which is very taxing.” Dixon said. Alleluia remains in contention for the Inter Dominion series coming up in Melbourne starting on December 1. In the latest rankings from Harness Racing Victoria, he sits 36th. The Queensland Summer Carnival is another option available for connections with a trio of open class features scheduled The local carnival starts on December 1. “We’ll see where he ends up with the rankings for the Inter but the local carnival is a nice back-up and he’ll be very competitive in each of those races. “His form is still very solid, the open class races are very competitive here and once we return to Albion Park, I think his best will return.” Alleluia has won 33 races from 138 starts while banking more than $521,000.   Chris Barsby

Following the protracted remediation work being carried out at Albion Park, the metropolitan venue for harness racing in Queensland, trainer Ian Gurney is heading south. With Trevor Lambourn currently in Sydney and many others considering a stint while work continues at the famed Breakfast Creek oval, Gurney is also taking his team to Menangle. Gurney will head south with a team of ten including recently inducted Queensland Hall of Famer Avonnova and be based with Luke McCarthy at Cobbitty. “Redcliffe is a unique track and not every horse handles it including most of mine, the bulk of my horses are older types and like the bigger open spaces so we’ll give Sydney a go while Albion Park is out of action.” Gurney said. The team includes Mach Alert, Clarkey, Sparkling Cullect, Smooth Showgirl, Our Hi Jinx, God Sake, That’s How Weroll, Much Bettor, Just Deal It and Avonnova. Promising pacer Cardlesfromheaven will remain in Brisbane but is currently spelling following his victory in the Pot of Gold Final at Albion Park on October 5. Gurney plans on heading south later this week. “I’ll head off on Friday at this stage and we’ll get straight into it after we’ve arrived, I’m hoping I’ve got a good cross section of talent that can do a nice job. “I’m happy with Avonnova and he’s working back into full fitness which is pleasing, under their handicapping, hopefully we can slot into a couple of suitable events. “My target with him is to reach the million dollar mark, which would be an unbelievable way to end his career. He’s healthy and sound so here’s hoping we can achieve it, the track will definitely suit him better down there.” Meanwhile, Trevor Lambourn has managed three minor placings from his six starters to date. Both The Shady One and Battle Born finished second yesterday (Sunday) at Menangle. Since September 1, Albion Park has only staged three Saturday night programs with all meetings transferred to Redcliffe.   Chris Barsby

Reigning Queensland Trotter of the Year Our Overanova displayed all of his qualities with a hard fought victory at Redcliffe last night (Saturday). The Grant Dixon trained and driven performer sat outside feature race winning Needle and proved too strong with Miracle Rising finishing third in the Comfort Inn Northgate Trot over the 1780m distance. In winning, the Monarchy gelding established a new track record with a time of 1:59.6 from the mobile start. The new mark goes along with his trio of track records at Albion Park. Our Overanova holds track records for the 1660m Mobile (1:56.2) plus the 2138m Standing Start (1:59.0) and 2647m Standing Start (2:00.3). “He’s a great horse, he knows how to win and that was a very good effort sitting outside a talented type like Needle and wearing her down.” Dixon said. Our Overanova is currently ranked 29th for the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship in Melbourne starting in December. A winner of the Darrell Alexander Memorial Championship series last year, the veteran trotter will again be considered for that series starting next month. Our Overanova has now won 3 from 5 at the bayside half mile circuit. Overall, he has won 49 from 128 with earnings approaching $400,000. Raced by former Racing Queensland Harness Board Chairman Greg Mitchell, Our Overanova was purchased back in 2013 following his maiden victory at Ashburton.   Chris Barsby

As it stands, Glenferrie Hood is the premier Open class pacer in the Sunshine State right now. The recently crowned Albion Park Horse of the Year again dominated his rivals when leading throughout in the Stu Valentine Bloodstock Insurance Open Pace at Redcliffe last night (Saturday) defeating New Zealand Cup hopeful Alleluia and Bodhi Tree in the 1780m event. Handled by Albion Park Metropolitan Driver of the Year Pete McMullen, Glenferrie Hood rated 1:55.8 which is outside of the track record of 1:54.9 held by Tightrope. Possessing brilliant gate speed, the Christian Cullen – Niftey Franco gelding has now recorded back to back victories at the bayside circuit following his all the way triumph a week earlier. In fact, he has won 6 of his last 8 starts. Prepared by dual code trainer Wayne Graham, Glenferrie Hood isn’t among nominations for any upcoming interstate features with the Queensland summer carnival features his main target. “He’s a nine-year-old and while he’s going as good as ever, we’ll just stick with the little fish are sweet mentality and focus on the features in our own backyard in the coming weeks. His gate speed is clearly his best asset, it’s so crucial to the style of racing we have in this state and he’s won a heap of races because of it including his past two starts on the smaller track.” Graham said. The 2018 Queensland Summer Carnival starts on December 1 and ends on December 15, all three race meetings will be staged at Albion Park. Open class features include the Gr.3 $30,660 Be Good Johnny Sprint, the $20,660 Christmas Cup and the Gr.2 $50,660 Queensland Cup. Graham will head to his local thoroughbred track of Beaudesert this Tuesday when he saddles up Pitbull in the Spill The Beans @ Aquis Farm Benchmark 58 Handicap. Brooke Ainsworth takes the ride on the Myboycharlie gelding. Chris Barsby

Tiger Tara is tough. He’s fought in most big fights….he’s won some and he’s lost some. But he’s always in for the fight. And he never takes a backward step. With the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series officially underway, the New South Wales trained eight-year-old showed great tenacity when defying his rivals to score a major victory, leading throughout in the Gr.1 $200,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Victoria Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton tonight (Saturday). The Kevin Pizzuto trained star easily defeated Chicago Bull and Carlas Pixel in a time of 1:53.4 to register his maiden Grand Circuit success. Starting from gate two, driver Todd McCarthy urged the Bettors Delight entire off the gate and defied Mach Doro the early lead which forced a major reshape of tactics of rival drivers. Settling into a comfortable looking stride, Tiger Tara led the way in the 2240m contest while Mach Doro and Franco Nelson were forced to cover extra early ground before eventually gaining a trail on race favourite Chicago Bull who quickly made his move when the pace steadied. The lead time was covered in a moderate 44.2 seconds. Placed in the same event twelve months earlier, Tiger Tara was looking for redemption and rivals allowed McCarthy to dictate terms easily in front with little or no moves being made in the first part of the event. The first half was covered in 30.7 and 28.9 seconds. It spelt disaster for his rivals. Entering the back straight for the final time, McCarthy let Tiger Tara off the chain and rapidly increased the pressure which gave rivals in the second half of the field little or no chance of improving. Tiger Tara was in full-flight while Chicago Bull and Shadow Sax were left working overtime deeper off the track. The back straight quarter was covered in a punishing 26.3 seconds. Approaching the top of the straight, Tiger Tara found separation and raced clear with a widening margin while the race for the place was on in earnest. At the line, Tiger Tara ($7.90) scored by 12.2 metres from Chicago Bull ($1.80) while Carlas Pixel ($77.90) rattled home via inside runs to grab third spot. The final split was covered in 27.7 seconds. The winning mile rate of 1:53.4 is well outside of the track record held by Lennytheshark at 1:52.4 set earlier this year. “He was awesome tonight, he felt the best he’s ever felt for some time and that was an unbelievable feeling. He’s such a courageous animal and thoroughly deserved to win a race of this magnitude.” Winning driver Todd McCarthy said. The gifted young reinsman joins his father John (Be Good Johnny – 2005) and big brother Luke (Mr Feelgood – 2010 & For A Reason – 2013) as a winner of the Victoria Cup. Since joining the stables of Pizzuto, Tiger Tara has won 16 of his 37 starts while his earnings are now in excess of $1.5 million. Tiger Tara is now headed back to New Zealand for another shot at the $800,000 New Zealand Cup at Addington on November 13 before returning to Melbourne in December for the $500,000 Inter Dominion series. Last season, he finished third in both the New Zealand Cup and Inter Dominion. Following his Victoria Cup triumph, Tiger Tara amassed maximum points and is looking to claim the title of Grand Circuit champion this season. He finished third behind Lazarus and Soho Tribeca last term. And it’s another fight he’s ready for, you wouldn’t expect anything less. Chris Barsby

Sunshine Sprint winner Tact Tate has been sold. The Amanda Turnbull prepared pacer will do his future racing in North America and is scheduled to fly out this weekend. Tact Tate scored a brilliant victory in the Gr.2 $50,540 Garrards Sunshine Sprint in 1:53.0 defeating Celestial Arden and Ohoka Punter before finishing an unlucky 6th behind Let It Ride the following week in the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship back in July during the Queensland winter carnival. The McArdle gelding was unplaced in his only start since the Brisbane campaign, finishing 9th behind Gotta Go Ya Hu on September 15 at Menangle. “It obviously was a very tough decision but there was plenty of interest in him and things moved along pretty quickly and he’s headed out this weekend. He’s been an absolute ripper for me and all of the other owners and provided us with so much fun and excitement, he won two Gr.1 features and I’m sure he’ll do a great job in the States.” Co-owner Steve Salter said. Purchased for a moderate amount from New Zealand back in 2015, the former Southland pacer transformed into a great money-spinner for his connections winning 11 races including his first five starts in Victoria. His biggest victories came via the Gr.1 $100,000 Bonanza at Melton in a career best 1:51.9 and the Gr.1 $100,000 Bohemia Crystal FFA at Menangle defeating Have Faith In Me in 1:53.6 for 2400m. Other feature victories include the Gr.2 $50,000 Treuer Memorial and the Gr.3 $30,600 Sydney Cup. His most recent victory came via the Sunshine Sprint back on July 14. In recent times, former southern hemisphere pacers have performed exceptionally well in North America highlighted by the deeds of star mare Shartin and the mighty champion Lazarus. Shartin, a former winner of the Queensland Oaks, has confirmed her ranking as the best pacing mare in the world this year with a string of feature race victories throughout North America and Canada. The Tintin In America mare has banked more than $820,000 this year.   Chris Barsby

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