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If harness racing trainer Gavin Smith is looking for inspiration, he doesn’t have to look far.  Fresh from his success earlier this week (Tuesday) with his maiden Group One victory as a trainer with giant trotter Great Things Happen in the $100,000 NZ Trotting FFA at Addington, they will combine again tomorrow (Friday) in the $300,000 Dominion Handicap. The Dominion is the biggest trotting event staged in New Zealand, a time honoured feature staged over the marathon distance of 3200m and from the stand-start. It’s the trotting version of the New Zealand Cup. And it kicks off the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters, a five leg series that takes in features spread between New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia. Many great names feature in the honour roll of the Dominion which was first staged back in 1911 while many have achieved the Cup week double including Monbet last year. A total of 17 trotters have achieved the Cup week double - names include Durban Chief, Tutira, Easton Light, Scotch Tar, Admiral Soanai, Simon Katz, Tobago, William Dee, Call Me Now, Chiola Cola, Take A Moment x 2, Lyell Creek, Stig, Vulcan and I Can Doosit. So, Smith and Great Things Happen aren’t looking to rewrite the record books, more simply just chasing their own slice of Christchurch history and add their names to the exclusive list. Great Things Happen was brilliant winning on Tuesday, winning by a widening margin while equaling the New Zealand record of Monbet. And while he looked very comfortable from the mobile over the short course of 1950m, the extra distance of the Dominion looks even more appealing for the six-year-old Love You gelding. Great Things Happen will sport saddlecloth number six. Flashy trotter Bordeaux looms as a major threat but his chances were hampered after landing a second-line draw (13). The Philip Iggo trained gelding is unbeaten this campaign and again will be handled by star reinsman Dexter Dunn, a rare feature he is yet to win to date during his glittering career. Brothers Tim and Anthony Butt have enjoyed tremendous success in the Dominion; Tim has trained the winner 8 times (Vulcan, Mountbatten, Lyell Creek x 3, Take A Moment x 3) while Anthony has driven the winner 9 times (Simon Katz the extra to Tim’s list). This year they combine with former European trotter Daryl Boko, lining up in his third Dominion and still looking for his maiden success in the great race. Master horseman Paul Nairn is no stranger to success in the Dominion; the unorthodox trainer is a dual winner after scoring with Call Me Now (1995) and Stig (2008). He will be represented by a trio of starters this year including Wilma’s Mate, The Foot Tapper and One Over Da Moon. The Williamson family also boast Dominion success owing to the 2009 triumph of Springbank Richard and this year they will have Monty Python (Phil & Matthew) and Dark Horse (Nathan) lining up in the feature. Another duo chasing further Dominion glory is Ricky May and Kevin Townley, they will combine with talented mare Destiny Jones. May has won the Dominion three times previously including last year with Monbet while Stylish Monarch (2010) and Cedar Fella (1998) were his other winners while Townley scored with Armbro Lady back in 1976. No female driver has won the Dominion; Sheree Tomlinson (Amaretto Sun) and Sam Ottley (Arya) can claim history with their respective drives this year. Female representation of the four legged variety includes Wilma's Mate, Harriet Of Mot, Hey Yo, Destiny Jones, Arya and Dark Horse. The last mare to win the Dominion was Martina H who deadheated with Take A Moment back in 2002. Connections of Harriet Of Mot, Hey Yo, Doctor Bones and Belles Son are all chasing their slice of Dominion history when they line up in the south island feature. The Haras des Trotteurs Dominion is scheduled to start at 4.33pm local time. Chris Barsby

Money talks. And it talks all languages. Champion pacer Lazarus is no exception to this theory as he became the latest harness racing dual winner of the Gr.1 $800,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup at Addington today (Tuesday). Starting as the shortest priced favourite in the races history, punters couldn't get enough of the handsome five-year-old stallion in lead-up to the biggest event on the New Zealand racing calendar. Even today, on race day, punters queued to back the hottest pacing talent in this part of the world and like most with that compelling pulling power, most if not all, were their today to witness a champion in action. By jump time, Lazarus started at odds of $1.40 – almost unthinkable! But there was no cause for concern, a clean getaway had the Mark Purdon trained and driven superstar in front within 400m before turning the 3200m stand start feature into a procession. As it stood, Lazarus had never been beaten once he led and that record remained intact after racing clear in the home straight to score by 5 3/4 lengths from Jacks Legend while the Australian trained Tiger Tara filled third despite breaking with 800m remaining. His winning time was 3:55.0 – a mile rate of 1:58.1. "The start was important and he made a great go of it today,” Purdon said. “He's a pleasure to train. There's no fuss about him, nothing smart about him, he's just one of the boys in the barn and just a lovely horse.” He added. It was Purdon's fifth Cup success - Il Vicolo (1995/96), Adore Me (2014) while Lazarus has now recorded back to back victories. And just like Il Vicolo, Lazarus recorded a slower time in winning his second Cup compared to his maiden triumph. Lazarus now joins Monkey King, Flashing Red, Just An Excuse, Il Vicolo, Lordship, Highland Fling, Haughty, Lucky Jack, Harold Logan, Peter Bingen, Ahuriri, Reta Peter and Wildwood Junior as dual Cup winners. And given his current invincibility, he looms as a fantastic chance of joining triple winners Terror To Love, False Step and Indianapolis next year. With 31 wins from 36 starts and over $2.6 million in the bank, there's reason to believe the best is still to come from this pacing phenomenon and his record breaking mentor. While the Purdon name is synonymous, Mark has easily become the most celebrated in the Cup while father Roy and brother Barry have four victories. Today, a rare feat was achieved between Mark and Barry; a one/two result with Lazarus defeating Jacks Legend. Back in 1996, the brothers finished first and third with Il Vicolo (Mark) winning while Surprise Package (Barry) filled a minor placing. With Ricky May (7) and Cec Devine (6) the most decorated reinsmen in Cup history, Purdon has both gentlemen firmly in his sights with his tally of five. While the efforts of Lazarus and Purdon should be lauded, the deeds of super sire Bettors Delight shouldn’t go unnoticed either. It was a one-two-three finish for the Cams Card Shark stallion while it was his 4th straight Cup winner. The next leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit now heads west, the $1.8 million TABTOUCH Inter Dominion series in Perth starting on November 24. And with two legs of the 2017/18 series locked and loaded, the two pacers equal at the top of the leaderboard with 100 points each are Lennytheshark and Lazarus and now they’re set to square off once again at Gloucester Park. The last time they met, Lennytheshark proved victorious when successful in the Miracle Mile back in February. It also coincides as the last time that Lazarus tasted defeat……nine starts ago! But who will do the talking this time around? Maybe the money will do the talking again? Chris Barsby

There’s certain symmetry between Mark Purdon and his harness racing All Stars stable and the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup. He is the country’s premier trainer and constantly strives for excellence while the Cup is the biggest racing event staged in the Shaky Isles and only the best survive. The famous livery of blue and silver stars is no stranger to success in the Cup with victories coming via Il Vicolo (1995/96), Adore Me (2014) and Lazarus* last year. But just like his complete domination across the southern hemisphere during the past decade, the record in the New Zealand Cup is equally impressive. Since 2010, the All Stars have either won or been placed in the 3200m standing start classic. Adore Me and Lazarus were completely dominant when triumphant while Sleepy Tripp (2010), Highview Tommy (2011/12), Sushi Sushi (2012), Fly Like An Eagle (2013) and Smolda (2015) all performed admirably when filling minor placings. And that domination could easily continue on Tuesday afternoon at Addington when the stable is represented by five of the 14 runners competing in the $800,000 event. Defending champion Lazarus is lining up as the shortest priced favourite in the races history, the $2.2 million earner is unbeaten this preparation winning all three starts. The Bettors Delight stallion has claimed the Canterbury Classic, Ashburton Flying Stakes and the Kaikoura Cup on his way to this year’s edition, and looked in amazing touch on each occasion. But it’s a slightly different path compared to last year when contesting the New Brighton Classic (3rd behind Franco Nelson & Christen Me), Canterbury Classic (won) and the Ashburton Flying Stakes (won). If successful, Lazarus will join the likes of Monkey King, Flashing Red, Just An Excuse, Il Vicolo, Lordship, Highland Fling, Haughty, Lucky Jack, Harold Logan, Peter Bingen, Ahuriri, Reta Peter and Wildwood Junior as dual Cup winners. Only Terror To Love, False Step and Indianapolis have won the race three times. The race was first staged in 1904. So, with Lazarus leading the charge for the All Stars, other representatives this year include the enigmatic Heaven Rocks, classy mares Piccadilly Princess and Dream About Me plus speed machine Have Faith In Me. Heaven Rocks will be handled as always by Natalie Rasmussen, the only female driver in the event, and Rasmussen is hoping to join Kerryn Manning as a winner of the great race. Several that were left in the wake of Lazarus last year include Tiger Tara, Titan Banner, No Doctor Needed and Have Faith In Me but can they reverse the result this time around? Interestingly, Tiger Tara and Titan Banner who filled placings last year both line up in different stables this year. Tiger Tara is now representing Australia and is prepared by Sydney horseman Kevin Pizzuto while Titan Banner will represent the stable of Graeme Anderson. Cup winning trainers Barry Purdon and Robert Dunn are chasing further success; the iconic horsemen are represented by Jacks Legend and Robbie Burns respectively. Purdon (Mark’s older brother) has won the Cup three times previously with Luxury Liner (1988), Christopher Vance (1991) and Chokin (1993) while Dunn prepared Mainland Banner to win the 2005 version. Ricky May, a winner of the Cup on seven previous occasions (Inky Lord, Iraklis, Mainland Banner, Monkey King x 2 and Terror To Love x2) will aim for another triumph when he partners Seel The Deal. Buster Brady (Kyle Austin & Blair Orange), Imola (Gavin Smith) and Maxim (Brent Mangos) are all looking to provide their connections their maiden Cup success. As always, the New Zealand Cup will be a special event and Lazarus could join a very special group if successful and can he do it again with a widening margin and in race record time? Time will tell. *  Hoofnote – Lazarus sported the Black with white Lone Star logo jacket last year and will don the same silks again on Tuesday. Chris Barsby

Brilliant harness racing mare Shartin has been sold. The Queensland Oaks heroine will do her future racing in North America after being purchased by Massachusetts businessman Richard Poillucci for a hefty six figure sum. Previously prepared by Dean Braun, the Tintin In America filly will join fellow former 'down under' stars Nike Franco and Christen Me in the Delaware stables of Jo Ann Looney-King. Nike Franco was also previously prepared by Braun and has amassed earnings in excess of $350,000 this season alone on North American soil while Christen Me has amassed more than $100,000 since being sold earlier this year. The latest member of the 10,000 win club, champion reinsman Tim Tetrick, will be the new driver of Shartin. And just like her new stablemates, Shartin boasts outstanding big race credentials. The sale of Shartin was orchestrated by respected Auckland based agent John Curtin after months of negotiations. "The talent this filly possesses is very obvious and she looks like she has so much upside and that should auger well for her future in North America. All connections are satisfied and I’m really looking forward to seeing her race up there.” Curtin said. Shartin has not raced since finishing a terrific second behind star New Zealand colt (The) More The Better in the Queensland Derby at Albion Park on July 15. Her victory in the Queensland Oaks came two starts ago while she also claimed the Tasmanian Oaks at Launceston on March 19. But her most impressive display was recorded at her home track of TABCORP Park, Melton back on June 17 when parking outside subsequent Gr.1 winner Jilliby Kung Fu in a sparkling time of 1;52.5. "I've always said this filly is one of the best that I've trained and I firmly believe the best is still to come, she's an elite talent," Braun said. "Since being back in work following her break, I think she has improved and matured into a lovely mare. There's a real difference now compared to the end of her three-year-old campaign." He added. Shartin has won 7 times from 13 starts while banking more than $105,000 in stakes to date. The New Zealand bred mare is booked to fly out on November 18. Chris Barsby Shartin - Queensland Oaks Shartin - Melton 17th of June  

Plans for exciting Queensland pacer Mattgregor have hit a snag. Fresh from his brutal thrashing of his harness racing rivals at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night in the Emmjay Warehousing Solutions Pace, he was set to head further south and contest this weekend’s Gr.2 $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship at Melton. But those plans have now been shelved. Instead, he will return home to Brisbane. The Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen prepared hulking five-year-old gelding didn’t pull up as well as expected and they won’t risk their star pacer in the Melbourne feature. “We were thrilled with his effort in the race on the weekend but he hasn’t pulled up as well as we were hoping, we scratched Bettabe Perfect from his race owing to him being off because he didn’t travel well on the way down and maybe Bear (Mattgregor) has picked up something similar.” Turpin said. Mattgregor, unbeaten this season from three starts, loomed as a major threat in the 4 & 5yo Championship where he was likely to meet a stack of talented up and comers including the likes of Shadow Sax, Let It Ride and Motu Meteor among others. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for connections as this event has been earmarked for a number of months. “It’s just rotten timing, everything for this campaign has been worked around this race but we’ve come up short at the last moment. The horse comes first and we won’t take any chances. “There were no signs before the race and he performed like we expected but just over the past 24 hours, he hasn’t been as bright as he normally is and that concerned us. “You need to be at your absolute best to take on a race like this and unfortunately he won’t be so we won’t make the trip for the sake of it. We’ll head home and get him back to full health before looking at our next target.” The Brisbane summer carnival starts officially on December 2 at Albion Park and three open class features will be staged in consecutive weeks but it highly doubtful Mattgregor will be readied for these events. The Rob Roy Mattgregor gelding has won 13 from 25 starts while banking more than $107,000. Chris Barsby

Immediate plans for Watch Pulp Fiction have been halted. The in-form harness racing pacer has suffered a serious injury and could be off the scene for anywhere up to six months, maybe more. A winner of his past four starts at Albion Park, the Art Major entire has injured his nearside front tendon and has immediately begun treatment. Prepared at Patrick Estate by Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen, the young couple were planning an interstate campaign but have drastically altered plans and are now seeking further advice of the best form of treatment. “It’s terribly disappointing, he was racing in such great form and we had plans to campaign him in both Sydney and Melbourne in the coming weeks while the local summer carnival was also being strongly considered. Those plans have been dashed and now we’re hoping we can get him back soon rather than later.” Turpin said. Watch Pulp Fiction has been the form horse in Brisbane in recent weeks highlighted by his slashing efforts including his last start victory in the Remembering Town Royal Open Pace on October 14 at Albion Park. And that’s where the issue may have risen. “I remember saying to Pete that night that he put in a step on the home turn, he hadn’t done in his three previous victories but that night we had torrential rain falling. I wasn’t sure but looking back at the tape he definitely makes a step. “He will undergo the PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatment and then he will commence some ultrasound work as well before heading to Toowoomba for some rehabilitation. We’re hoping he won’t be out for as long as some others with similar injuries. “The treatment with these types of injuries keeps evolving and hopefully we can get sorted, we must be positive and hope for the best news.” The Turpin/McMullen stable are heading south this Thursday with exciting five-year-old Mattgregor who will start at TABCORP Park, Menangle this Saturday night. Unbeaten in both starts this campaign, Mattgregor will head to Melton the following week for the Gr.2 $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship. “He’ll start this week at Menangle and that should top him off for the feature the following week, he’s in great order and enjoys the surroundings at Menangle. “He’s come through his trial last week in good shape and we’re happy with the way he is right now.” Mattgregor won an Albion Park 1660m trial last Tuesday (October 24) in 1:54.9 while finishing off in 26.9 seconds. The Rob Roy Mattgregor gelding has won 12 from 24 to date. Chris Barsby

The Brisbane summer carnival is just around the corner. And the southern harness racing stables are well aware about what’s on offer during the month of December at Albion Park. Features include the Garrard’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship, the $60,000 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup, the $40,000 Egmont Park Stud Darrell Alexander Memorial Trot and the $30,000 Group 3 AQWA Constructions Be Good Johnny Sprint among others. The leading combination of Robbie Morris and Kerryann Turner are keen to return. The Menangle based couple enjoyed solid success last season through the deeds of now North American based pacer Iam Mr Brightside and are keen to return north again. Iam Mr Brightside won both the Be Good Johnny Sprint and the Christmas Cup. “We’re keen to be part of the summer carnival again and we have a number of types that we’re looking at bringing up, a mixture of both pacers and trotters. I’d say we could have anywhere between 8 to 10 horses coming up at this stage.” Morris said. While exact numbers are yet to be confirmed, some of the likely types headed this way include Condagen, Celestial Arden, Iam Serengeti and Mark Of Integrity among others. At this stage, no trotters have been confirmed but Morris is keen to be involved again with the DJA series. “We’ll definitely have a trotter or two for the series but we haven’t confirmed anything just yet, we bought Visualise last year and he performed well during the heats before missing out in the final. We know what we’re looking for as far as that series is concerned. “The open class features will certainly have interest from our stable, Condagen is definitely coming up and he’s racing in such in great form currently and just needs some luck going his way while others are being looked at. “And we’ll have a number of pacers for the weekly Rising Stars and Pot of Gold series, we’ve got some really nice emerging types that will be suited to those races and the prizemoney is very good. We’re just getting sorted for with numbers and then we’ll confirm how many boxes we’ll need.” The Morris/Turner stable is one of a number of southern trainers that have flagged interest in the Brisbane summer carnival. And the added bonus this year is the staging of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship, being held at both Albion Park and Redcliffe. The 2017 Australasian Young Drivers Championships Representatives are; Narissa McMullen (Queensland) Todd McCarthy (New South Wales – defending champion) Chris Geary (New South Wales) Michael Grantham (Western Australia) Matt Howlett (Tasmania) Jayden Brewin (South Australia) Jason Lee (Victoria) Sheree Tomlinson (New Zealand) Dylan Ferguson (New Zealand) Kimberly Butt (New Zealand) The series starts on December 13 before ending on December 16. Chris Barsby

Leos Best is back on the track. The recently crowned harness racing Queensland Horse of the Year stepped out in public today (Tuesday), his first appearance since finishing unplaced in the Gr.2 $50,540 Sunshine Sprint behind speed machine Hectorjayjay back on July 8 at Albion Park. But don’t let the result put you off. The Grant and Trista Dixon prepared five-year-old finished at the rear of a four horse field, beaten some 18m from the winner. Emerging star Mattgregor won the trial comfortably, with residual fitness on his side and enjoying a perfect pocket trip, the imposing pacer strode clear for an easy victory in 1:54.9. After sitting last throughout, Leos Best just followed his rivals around. And that’s all Team Dixon were hoping for from the workout. “It’s a trial and it was a good opportunity just to take him away from home and allow him to stretch his legs. We know he’s not ready for anything special right now so there’s no point busting him chasing a horse like Mattgregor who is up and about.” Grant Dixon explained. Connections will definitely trial the Cammibest gelding again before looking for a suitable start point for his latest campaign. The upcoming Brisbane summer carnival during the month of December is the immediate focus before looking at other targets. During the month of December, the Albion Park Harness Racing Club will stage several features including the Gr.3 $30,540 Be Good Johnny Sprint on December followed by the $20,540 Christmas Cup (December 9) and the Gr.2 $60,540 Queensland Cup (December 16). The events will be staged over the distances of 1660m, 2680m and 2138m. In other stable news, exciting pacer Colt Thirty One is back in work. Following an outstanding rookie season which netted 7 wins from 11 starts, the Mach Three colt finished a highly commendable third in his most recent start back on August 27. Colt Thirty One finished third behind King Of Swing and Poster Boy in the Gr.1 $285,000 Breeders Crown Final at TABCORP Park, Melton. Connections are considering an interstate Derby campaign plus a raft of local features this season. Both Leos Best and Colt Thirty One are raced by Kevin and Kay Seymour. Chris Barsby

Talk about a good week. Harness racing's rising Queensland star Leonard Cain has had a week to remember, both on and off the race track. It started last Sunday night at the Racing Queensland Awards function in Brisbane at Moda Portside when he was crowned the co-winner of the Young Achiever of the Year. The award is sponsored by generous harness racing benefactors Kevin and Kay Seymour and the prize is a trip to North America to spend time working and learning under the watchful eye of outstanding horseman and former Australian Ross Croghan in New Jersey. And then the good fortune continued throughout the week at the track. Cain was successful at every TAB meeting staged in the south east of the state culminating with his victory in the $15,540 Rising Stars Championship Final at Albion Park last night (Saturday). Tuesday – Albion Park – Bodhi Tree ($3.70) Wednesday – Redcliffe – Modern Thought ($3.90) Thursday – Redcliffe – Chang Mai ($75.70) Friday – Albion Park – Likeallofus ($5) Saturday – Albion Park – Bodhi Tree ($2.10) In total, Cain took 16 drives for 5 victories and one minor placing. “It’s been an incredible week and it’s something I’m very proud of, I can’t thank the owners and trainers who supported me.” Cain said. The 18-year-old was also booked for a number of drives at the non-TAB Marburg meeting today (Sunday) before the abandonment owing to the inclement weather. His tally for the 2017/18 season now sits at 14 wins which has him 8th in the state drivers premiership while he also ranks 4th in the concession drivers premiership. The victory behind the Peter Greig trained Bodhi Tree elevated him to 5th in the metropolitan drivers’ standings. In his opening season (2016/17), Cain landed 55 winners from 535 drives and therefore created a new record by a Queensland driver for most wins in a maiden term. The previous record belonged to Brittany Graham at 40. Hoofnote – Narissa McMullen was the co-winner of the Young Achiever of the Year award. Chris Barsby

A new season of Grand Circuit harness racing action kicks off this weekend. The 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit caters for both the pacers and trotters and began in 1977 and was designed to be the showpiece of the Australian Harness Racing Industry with horses competing from every State within Australia.  Over the years, several changes have been implemented. And for the first time, the 2017/18 series starts this Saturday with the running of the $200,000 Allied Express Victoria Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton. The eight leg series run from October through to July next year and takes in the Victoria Cup, New Zealand Cup, Inter Dominion, Auckland Cup, WA Pacing Cup, Hunter Cup, and Miracle Mile before ending with the Blacks A Fake at Albion Park. Total prizemoney for the series is $4.25 million. The recently retired Smolda was crowned the Grand Circuit champion last season. The Trotters Grand Circuit commenced in 1999.  In 2012, the Grand Circuit was revamped with the Trotters competing in a stand-alone branded series, Trotting Masters. The best trotters will compete during a five leg series which commences next month with the running of the $300,000 Haras des Trotteurs Dominion Handicap at Addington in Christchurch. It’s the biggest trotting event staged in south island and is held during Cup week. Other features include the Great Southern Star, Australian Trotting Grand Prix and ANZAC Cup before ending with the Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park, Auckland. The five leg series totals prizemoney of $950,000. Last season, quality mare Habibti Ivy was crowned the Trotting Master. Points are awarded during the Circuit, 100 points for a win, 60 points for second, 40 points for third, and so on, to last placing. The horse with the greatest number of points is crowned Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit Champion and Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters Champion. So, strap yourself in and enjoy the finest harness racing action over the coming months. It’s the best of the best. Chris Barsby

With a change in season, a number of quality race mares are headed to the next phase of their harness racing careers. And there’s plenty of movement on the Brisbane front. Outstanding mare Bettor Promise is set to be served by champion sire Somebeachsomewhere in the coming days after a glittering career on the track. Bred and raced by Raboki and prepared throughout her career by Shannon Price and Scott Miller, the Bettor's Delight mare won 21 of her 57 career starts while banking more than $243,000 in stakes. All 21 victories coming via Albion Park, headquarters of harness racing in the Sunshine State. Her biggest triumphant came in the 2015 Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad defeating Bettorthanspecial. Leading trainer Grant Dixon has had a number of quality performers from his stable take part in embryo transfers. Regally bred mares Joys A Babe, Get In The Groove, Cherish The Moment and Feel The Faith all being listed for the procedure. All mares are bred and raced by leviathan couple, Kevin and Kay Seymour. Collectively, the four mares have won 71 races while banking more than $872,000. Trainer Shane Graham has also seen a pair of his quality mares headed to the breeding barn in recent weeks. Wishitwasheaven, a 1:55.8 winning daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven and full sister to Gr.1 winner Park Life (Australian Pacing Gold 2yo Fillies Final) has run her final race. In total, Wishitwasheaven won 5 races from 45 starts. Wicked Time, a winner of her past two starts has also been retired after a handy career on the track. The daughter of Major In Art won 6 from 16 during her time in Brisbane while winning 8 races from 37 starts. The speedy mare won three of her last four starts when handled by young reinsman Leonard Cain. And Hereiam has also run her final race for trainer Wayne Graham, Shane father. The Jeremes Jet mare won 10 races from 51 career starts while banking over $51,000. Hereiam was bred and raced by Albion Park committeeman Trevor O’Reilly and his wife Louise. Chris Barsby Queensland Racing

Clear the runway, the Cain plane is taking off. Harness racing driver Leonard Cain, 18, is keen to keep building on his stellar rookie season and has set himself key targets for the new season. Last night (Saturday) at Albion Park, Cain landed his first metropolitan winner of the new season (2017/18) when successful aboard Wicked Time in the Gotta Go Cullect @ Egmont Park Stud Mares Pace in a time of 1:55.9 defeating Katniss by a half head margin. “At first I thought I had been nipped right on the line but wasn’t completely sure so I was relieved when the number was semaphored. It’s a great feeling winning on a Saturday night, she looked well-placed and felt awesome the whole way and she tried all the way to the finish and had her ears pinned back because she wanted to win.” Cain said. Punters were also relieved; Wicked Time was the $2.10 favourite. The victory was his second on the Saturday night circuit following his maiden triumph behind Border Cross last month (August 19). And the dedicated fresh-faced horseman is keen to keep racking up the winners, at all tracks including the Saturday night venue. In his opening season (2016/17), Cain landed 55 winners from 535 drives and therefore created a new record by a Queensland driver for most wins in a maiden term. That’s more than the likes of Grant Dixon, Luke & Todd McCarthy, Shane Graham, Natalie Rasmussen plus Pete & Narissa McMullen among many others. The previous record belonged to Brittany Graham at 40. Cain displayed natural poise and skill during that opening term which resulted in success at all three harness venues in the Sunshine State - Albion Park, Redcliffe and Marburg. The son of Errol and Debra Cain, a graduate of the mini-trotting ranks, took on a role with the leading stable of Vicki Rasmussen and Shane Graham around eighteen months ago and remains their today. And he’s grasped the opportunities, both on and off the track. “Both Shane and Vicki have been tremendous, apart from family support; they’ve been the best thing for my career and gave me the best kick-start possible with a host of opportunities, advice and support. “Naturally, I was absolutely thrilled with my results during my first season. I had a dream run to reach 50 winners let alone exceed that, it wasn’t even in my thoughts when I was first granted my licence. “Shane has been a massive influence and is endlessly working to make me better, the amount of advice and experience he has given me over the last year has been fantastic and something I don’t take for granted.” With 3 winners on the board for the current term, Cain is mindful he is well short of the record figure he set himself last season but is determined to improve on that figure again. But he won’t make any bold predictions on what he’s hoping to achieve. “To reach the same figure as last season would be huge but obviously I would like to expand on that number. The main focus will be to showcase improvement. “I’ll be checking in with Shane as always while I like to watch and take in the techniques and tactics from guys like Chris Alford, Luke and Todd McCarthy plus Chris Geary among others.” So, here’s hoping for another productive season. Chris Barsby

The road to the racetrack for Bodhi Tree has been anything but conventional. A litany of issues has severely interrupted and punctuated his brief but interesting harness racing career to date. Prepared by highly respected horseman Peter Greig, the now eight-year-old has severely tested the patience of his Brisbane based mentor. But as they say, persistency pays. “It hasn’t been easy with him, he’s obviously had a lot of issues along the way but his ability has always been there and the fact there’s been no pressure or expectation, we’ve been able to patch him together and get him to the races.” Greig said. The Blissfull Hall – Art Start gelding displayed natural ability at an early stage but immaturity issues prevented him racing during his rookie term. From there, the problems started to surface and they were serious. Knee troubles as a three-year-old required operations and clean-ups. Bodhi Tree would win his first start at Albion Park (August 5, 2013) scoring by a widening margin while rating 1:57.9 before backing up three days later and running second at the now defunct Gold Coast in a time of 1:57.0. A nasty pelvis injury forced him to the paddock for some time and it would be six months before he could canter again. Bodhi Tree would make it back to the races in May of 2014; he would have a four start campaign which resulted in three straight seconds before winning at Albion Park in early June. But he pulled up sore again and required more time off. Following a lengthy break, he was back in work but his first day of fast work; he pulled up sore yet again which would force him out of action for another four months. The next issue arose in March 2016 when he bowed his nearside tendon following a trial at Albion Park. His offside tendon also caused issues too. Another setback came after he fibrillated in track work. But he continues to fight back and defy retirement. Hours upon hours of veterinary advice coupled with constant care from Greig and his partner Patrice Madden have enabled Bodhi Tree to showcase his rare talent. Despite not having raced for over three years, Bodhi Tree has made it back to the races. And he’s back winning. In fact, he’s two for two following victories at Redcliffe in 1:58.7 and at Albion Park in the Seymour Triple-One-Nine Torpedo; an event staged over 1119m. “It’s very rewarding but it clearly demonstrates how much he enjoys racing, he’s a great competitor and both victories have been full of merit. “There are no plans; obviously it’s just one race at a time.” The older half-brother to Arts Treasure, a winner of the Gr.1 $100,000 QBRED Triad 2yo Fillies Final at Albion Park back in July now sits with a record of 4 wins and 4 seconds from his 8 career starts to date. An incredible record considering the adversities he’s faced along the way. Chris Barsby

There’s still life in those old legs. Triple Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova returned to the winners circle on Saturday night at Albion Park with an all-the-way harness racing victory in the Seymour Group Open Pace defeating a gallant Ultimate Art while Mach Alert made good late ground to grab third. The winning time was 1:51.5. The 11-year-old free-legged pacer recorded sectionals of 28.2, 28.4, 27.3 & 27.5 seconds. It was his first start following his failure in the Listed $25,540 Mr Feelgood Open on July 1, a race that ultimately derailed his winter carnival campaign. And to put the time into perspective, it’s the third fastest time ever recorded at the famed Breakfast Creek 1000m oval. The track record belongs to champion pacer Im Themightyquinn at 1:50.4 (the only pacer to better 1:51 at Albion Park) while Avonnova returned a mile rate of 1:51.3 when successful in the 2015 Sunshine Sprint. On the night Im Themightyquinn set the track record (July 4, 2014 – Sunshine Sprint), Avonnova finished third after racing without cover. The mile was covered in splits of 28, 28.3, 26.5 & 27.9 seconds. “I’m absolutely thrilled with his effort, he was off a freshen-up but his two trials indicated he was ready for a big effort and he delivered so hopefully we’re set for a good campaign. More importantly, I’m really happy with how both he and Mach (Alert) come through the race.” Owner/trainer Ian Gurney said. While it’s unlikely his days of tackling interstate features are behind him, local fans will still get the opportunity to see plenty of him in the coming months. Gurney is mindful his star pacer is edging closer to the million dollar mark in prizemoney and will give him every chance of reaching that magical figure. “I can ask no more of him as far as feature races are concerned, he’s been everywhere and competed in all of the biggest events on the calendar but I will try my best to allow him reach the million dollar club. “I claimed him $20,000 from a race at Goulburn just so I could race a horse each and every Saturday night, obviously he’s exceeded all my expectations and now I would like to give him every opportunity. It’s something he deserves in my opinion.” Avonnova will continue to race in the coming weeks and months and the Brisbane summer carnival starting in December looks a distinct possibility but opposition will be tough with a number of talented types currently racing. Key rivals will include Ultimate Art, Mach Alert and Major Cam while former Victorian pacer Mister Mundaka will also add plenty of spice. So, it could be possible another name could join Im Themightyquinn in the sub 1:51 club at Albion Park. by Chris Barsby

The first Metropolitan harness racing meeting of the new season at Albion Park also ushered in the first Saturday night triumph for promising young reinsman Lachie Manzelmann. The seventeen-year-old steered the Shane Parrish Cruisin Carl to success in the Pryde’s Easifeed Pace defeating Rory Mach by a nose margin in a time of 2:00.1 for the 2138m event. It was the first training success for Parrish in seven years while it was the first time that Cruisin Carl was back in the winner’s enclosure since May 22, 2015. Shorty Noonan was the last winner for Parrish while his last Saturday night success came via Speed Gypsie back in 2001. Parrish claimed Cruisin Carl from an event at Redcliffe back on July 15, 2015 when the Western Terror gelding was prepared by Grant Dixon. Cruisin Carl is one of only two horses in work for Parrish at his Plainland property, lightly raced rookie Angelofspeed being the other. Starting from the inside gate, Manzelmann allowed Cruisin Carl to settle comfortably behind the leader The Muse and therefore gaining a perfect trail. In the straight, Cruisin Carl finished strongly via the passing lane while Rory Mach charged hard deeper off the track. “My initial reaction was victory and then I seemed to think maybe I got beat, I knew Darrel (Graham – Rory Mach) had all the momentum and he finished very quickly. Luckily, my number went into the frame and I was quite relieved and quite excited too.” Manzelmann said. With his first full season of race driving now complete and a Saturday night victory against his name, Manzelmann now sits with 28 lifetime winners. Last season, he landed 23 winners and 62 minor placings from 277 drives. In his maiden season (2015/16), he partnered 4 winners from 51 drives. The young horseman is the son of leading central Queensland thoroughbred trainer John Manzelmann and Stace Sallis, wife of respected Wanora trainer Ron Sallis. Manzelmann started his career with the Chantal Turpin/Pete McMullen operation before switching to the Fernvale stables of Darrel Graham. “I’ve always been around horses all my life and I enjoy working with them and obviously I got my grounding from Mum and Dad. When I moved down to Brisbane, I wasn’t that keen but then I started working more with the Standardbreds and then it just snowballed. “It was a good experience with Pete and Chantal and I got my start with them and some good opportunities, I got to drive Munroe which was really good. I’ve kept learning since being with Darrel and I’m really enjoying it. “My goal this year is to drive as many winners as possible but I’d like to out drive my claim (40 winners) and I’m on the board with one so that’s a good start.” It could be the first of many visits to the winners circle for Manzelmann on a Saturday night this season, but he won’t forget his first. by Chris Barsby

New season, new hope. That’s the approach harness racing connections will adopt for former New Zealand pacer Watch Pulp Fiction following his dominant victory in the UBET Pace at Albion Park on Saturday night. The Art Major entire recorded a mile rate of 1:55.2 for the 2138m event. But it was only his third victory from 19 starts on Australian soil following his purchase last season for a hefty price. It was his second victory at Albion Park while he scored at Tabcorp Park Menangle back in February earlier this year. There have been glimpses along the way but the frustration continues to build. “Obviously he hasn’t been easy to sort out and we haven’t seen the best of him since he’s been in our care but we keep working with him and trying different things. He felt great the other night and was suited by a genuine speed; he was really strong through the line.” Trainer/driver Chantal Turpin said. Upon his arrival in November last year, expectations were there to match his price tag and his campaign started well following his eye-catching effort in the Gr.2 $50,000 Gold Coast Cup when fourth behind Avonnova in a time of 1:53.3 for 2138m. An easy victory at his next start at Albion Park indicated he would be a great companion for his stablemate Mattgregor who was being readied for a Chariots of Fire campaign in Sydney. It was anything but. Watch Pulp Fiction managed one victory from six starts before returning to Brisbane where his inconsistent form continued leading into and during the winter carnival. “We couldn’t get two good runs out of him and it proved very frustrating, the efforts weren’t bad but we expected more from him. His work at home was good and he looked in terrific order but he just couldn’t get any consistency going. “Before his start on Saturday, Pete (McMullen – husband) and I went back to square one and changed things around with him and that appears to have worked because he was very genuine, probably the best he’s felt. “We’ll just keep ticking him over in the coming weeks and then we might look at a Victorian campaign in November when Mattgregor heads south. That’s the plan at this stage but that will depend on his form and performances.” Meanwhile, Mattgregor is back in work and building towards his next campaign which will take in the Gr.2 $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship at TABCORP Park, Melton on November 11. by Chris Barsby

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