Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 460
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Only three legs remain in the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season. And the race is on to be crowned champion harness racing pacer of Australasia. On Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Melton, the Gr.1 $500,000 Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup will take place and it will be a brutal staying contest over the distance of 2760m under mobile start conditions. It will be relentless, energy sapping and survival of the fittest type stuff. History proves that. The A G Hunter Cup is the premier staying contest on the Australian calendar. First staged in 1949, the iconic event has undergone several changes but there has always been one constant, a great name alwys sits on the roll of honour and the 2018 version will be no different. As it stands, champion New Zealand pacer Lazarus leads the way with 200 points following victories in both the New Zealand Cup and the Inter Dominion while the Sydney trained Tiger Tara sits equal second with Chicago Bull on 120 points while Soho Tribeca and Lennytheshark sit close by with 105 and 104 points respectively. And all will start in the A G Hunter Cup with the exception of Chicago Bull. So, victory is crucial. Lazarus, prepared by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, is the horse to beat owing to his fabulous record and his unbelievable appetite of staying contests. The further they go, the better he performs. His victories in the New Zealand Cup and Inter Dominion solidify this point while his last start effort in the Gr.1 $300,000 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park only underlines his tag of Australasia’s premier stayer. The Bettors Delight entire sat three-wide throughout in the 2536m contest before going down by a head margin to millionaire pacer My Hard Copy who sat on his back with perfect cover. Everybody witnessed it but most couldn’t believe it. It drew comparisons with some of the greatest staying efforts of all-time and deservedly so, coincidentally, the most common reference made was that of Elsu when successful in the 2005 A G Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley. And here it is where Lazarus may have to reproduce another supreme staying effort, or something similar to Elsu to win this weekend. The triple millionaire will start from gate 3. Lazarus has not raced since January 12 owing to a minor setback but is looking to keep his unbeaten Melton record in perfect order. Enigmatic pacer Heaven Rocks also represents the All Stars stable and comes into the event fresh off a brilliant performance in the now traditional lead-up race, the Gr.1 $100,000 Ballarat Cup two weeks ago. Natalie Rasmussen, a winner of the 2008 A G Hunter Cup aboard Blacks A Fake, will again take the drive behind Heaven Rocks. The big striding gelding has drawn gate 9, two off the second-line. Defending Hunter Cup champion Bling It On completes an unbelievable comeback when he lines-up this weekend, most thought he would not race again after sustaining horrific injuries in a race fall at Albion Park last June. But the millionaire pacer has returned in excellent order and caught the eye last week with an eye-catching second behind Lennytheshark in the Casey Classic. Bling It On will start from gate 2 and has the services of star reinsman Luke McCarthy. Highly decorated pacer and fan favourite Lennytheshark is hoping to snare his first victory in the A G Hunter Cup this weekend following his third placing last year behind Bling It On and Yayas Hot Spot. The David Aiken trained and Chris Alford driven star has won most majors in his home state yet the Hunter Cup silverware has proven elusive to date. Lennytheshark will from gate 8, the inside of the second-line. A top-two finish will push his career earning past the $3 million mark. Tiger Tara has drawn the coveted inside gate and most expect the Kevin Pizzuto trained entire to lead, and for a long way. A winner over Lazarus during a heat of the Inter Dominion series in Perth when leading at fast pace, the Bettors Delight seven-year-old was overpowered by Lazarus in the final after setting a moderate mid-race speed. Tiger Tara will play a major role from his inside draw. Last start Gr.1 $450,000 WA Pacing Cup winner Soho Tribeca must overcome the shocking draw of gate 13, the outside of the second-line for new combination of Michael Stanley and Greg Sugars. Soho Tribeca was transferred to his new base after winning the Perth feature for Bryan Cousins and Kim Prentice. The last mare to win the A G Hunter Cup was the mighty New Zealander Blossom Lady who claimed back to back victories in 1994/95 and pint-sized performer Ameretto is hoping join the exclusive club. Prepared by 2015 Hunter Cup winner Kerryn Manning, Ameretto will start from gate 10. Manning will sport the “Team Teal” silks as a part of the sport’s leading ladies to raise valuable funds and crucial awareness for ANZGOG – Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group. Last year’s runner-up Yayas Hot Spot returns for Shane and Lauren Tritton, the talented gelding has drawn gate 6 and will be handled by Jack Trainor. Yayas Hot Spot finished second behind Tiger Tara last week at Goulburn in the Frank and Edna Day Memorial. Durable gelding Messini, trained by Brent Lilley and driven by legendary horseman Tony Herlihy lines up in his third A G Hunter Cup after contesting the previous two editions. Messini has drawn gate 4. Herlihy partnered 1997 winner Surprise Package. Emerging talent Shadow Sax starts this weekend for trainer Emma Stewart, a winner of the Gr.1 $100,000 South Australian Cup at Globe Derby two starts ago before finishing a gallant third in the Gr.1 $100,000 Ballarat Cup behind Heaven Rocks and Lennytheshark at his most recent start. Amazingly, ace reinsman Gavin Lang is yet to win the A G Hunter Cup. Shadow Sax will start from gate 5. Kialla pacer San Carlo represents the combination of trainer Stephen O’Donoghue and Bec Bartley but must overcome an awkward draw of gate 11. The Mach Three gelding finished third last week behind Lennytheshark and Bling It On in the Casey Classic. In-form pacer Moonrock, from the stables of Sonya Smith, has also drawn the second-line and runs from gate 12 but has the services of the most successful reinsman in Hunter Cup history in Anthony Butt. Butt has won 7 Hunter Cups – Blossom Lady (1994/95), Mister D G (2004), Mr Feelgood (2009), Stunin Cullen (2011), Choise Achiever (2012) and Mah Sish (2013). Mister Wickham is the listed emergency and has drawn gate 7 for trainer Lee Evison and US Hall of Famer driver David Miller. In total, the 13 runners have won 316 races while amassing more than $13.1 million in stakes. The A G Hunter Cup is scheduled as race 7 and listed to start at 9.02pm local time. Chris Barsby

Sparkling Success has arrived. He’s well and truly announced himself. And he did it on the biggest stage possible, dominating his harness racing rivals in the Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight (Saturday) – the second leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters. In the biggest and richest square gaiting event staged in the country, the John Meade trained and Chris Svanosio driven trotter proved too classy for his rivals in the 2760m mobile start feature defeating New Zealand raider Temporale and Hey Yo in track record time. The six-year-old Great Success gelding proved his greatness with a hard fought victory in a time of 1:58.7, eclipsing the previous mark of 1:58.8 set by last year’s victor Glenferrie Typhoon. Boasting outstanding credentials, punters kept the local star safe in the market before an aggressive Svanosio drive landed the prize. Vincennes was able to spear to the lead from a wide draw and dictated terms while race favourite Red Hot Tooth was left without cover in the early stages. Sydney trotter On Thunder Road worked forward and took up the role on the outside of the leader while Sky Petite and Sparkling Success quickly made their moves. The lead time was covered in 84.2 seconds. With Vincennes leading, Sparkling Success eventually parked outside with 1400m approximately left to run. The first half of the final mile was covered in 30.5 and 30.2 seconds. Entering the back straight, Vincennes led Sparkling Success while The Boss Man, Temporale and Hey Yo gained economical trips against the pylons. Red Hot Tooth made a solo three-wide move with Daryl Boko tracking the move, both Speeding Spur and My Tribeca sat well back in the field as the tempo quickened. The third quarter was covered in 28.8 seconds. At the top of the home straight, Sparkling Success raced clear of Vincennes while The Boss Man, Temporale and Hey Yo all found room to move and loomed as legitimate threats. But Sparkling Success wouldn’t be denied and held Temporale by 1.2 metres with another 1.7 metres back to Hey Yo in third position. The final quarter was covered in 29.9 seconds. Race favourite Red Hot Tooth wilted to finish at the rear of the field. “This is unbelievable, he won the Maori Mile two starts ago but this race easily tops that, this is the biggest race on the calendar in Australia for trotters.” A jubilant John Meade declared, a dairy farmer from Cudgee in the state’s south-west. Sparkling Success boasts an outstanding record of 15 wins from 30 starts while his earnings now exceed $360,000. The next leg of the APG Trotting Masters takes place at Melton with the running of the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix on March 10. Sparkling Success now joins Dominion winner Amaretto Sun as the leg winners of the 2017/18 APG Trotting Masters to date. 6 9:00pm PRYDE'S EASIFEED GREAT SOUTHERN STAR (GROUP 1) 2760M $300,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 SPARKLING SUCCESS      Sr3 10 John Meade Chris Svanosio   $ 4.10   PRS PRU 3WM 2 SWAB   BAY GELDING 6 by GREAT SUCCESS USA out of DIAMOND INSITU (CR COMMANDO USA)  Owner(s): J F Meade, M B Meade  Breeder(s): J F Meade, M B Meade 2 TEMPORALE NZ      Sr1 8 Tony Herlihy Tony Herlihy 1.2m $ 5.70   PRS PRU 5 D/F$ 3 HEY YO NZ      Fr5 5 Sonya Smith Greg Sugars 2.9m $ 48.30   PRS 3WE RES 7 SWAB 4 THE BOSS MAN      Fr1 1 Ellen Tormey Ellen Tormey 7.3m $ 47.90   PRS PRU GS 3 5 MY TRIBECA ITA      Sr4 12 Anton Golino Nathan Jack 10.2m $ 35.20   PRS 8 HO HUE 6 VINCENNES      Fr7 7 Anton Golino Jason Lee 15.3m $ 79.30   PRS GS L 1 7 DARYL BOKO FIN      Fr2 2 Tim Butt Anthony Butt 17.6m $ 25.10   PRS W2 3WLT LW 8 SPEEDING SPUR NZ      Sr5 13 John Dickie Josh Dickie 24.6m $ 6.30   PRS W3 3WLT LW 9 SKY PETITE      Sr2 9 Dean Pattison Michael Stanley 27.8m $ 56.70   PRS 3WM 4 10 KYVALLEY BLUR USA      Fr6 6 Brent Lilley Chris Alford 30.2m $ 11.60   PRS RAS INC W4 3WLT 11 ON THUNDER ROAD NZ      Fr4 4 Darren Hancock Darren Hancock 57.3m $ 17.70   PRS 3WE 6 BUP SD1T 12 RED HOT TOOTH      Fr3 3 Kari Males Zac Phillips 77.2m $ 3.10 fav  PRS GS W1 3WL TIRE QUER VXAR SWAB WI Scratchings   FABRICATION 11 Track Rating: Gross Time: 3:23:6 Mile Rate: 1:58:7 Lead Time: 84.2 First Quarter: 30.5 Second Quarter: 30.2 Third Quarter: 28.8 Fourth Quarter: 29.9 Margins: 1.2m x 1.7m   Chris Barsby

Talk about neighbourly rivalry. The Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star, the biggest and richest harness racing event on the Australian trotting calendar, takes places this weekend at Tabcorp Park Melton and it will stir emotions. A Trans-Tasman clash between the best trotters currently available will take place over the staying distance of 2760m under mobile start conditions, it’s the second leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters. And both sides of the ditch are well represented. The host nation possess are strong team loaded with great weaponry while the Kiwis are tried and true at the elite level, plus, they have the runs on the board. First staged in 2013, all winners have originated from the Shaky Isles while three of the winners were also prepared there but an Australian trained trotter proved victorious last year. Glenferrie Typhoon, prepared by the husband and wife team of Andy and Kate Gath, defied Auckland based performer Speeding Spur of back to back triumphs when he led throughout in track record time of 1:58.8. Initially modelled on Sweden’s universally revered Elitlopp, the Great Southern Star originally featured two Group 1 heats with a final all run on the same card before being drastically altered last year with the event becoming a straight out contest. Millionaire performer Keystone Del is the other Australian trained winner of the event when prepared by Nicole Molander while Vulcan, Stent and Speeding Spur have all tasted success for New Zealand based trainers. But the locals are ready for a title defence. Classy mare Red Hot Tooth (gate 3) will command plenty of respect following her last start romp in the George Gath at Shepparton two weeks ago while My Tribeca (gate 12) and Sparkling Success (gate 10) bounce out of last week’s E B Cochran Cup from Ballarat after their one/two finish. The Boss Man (gate 1), Hey Yo (gate 5), Vincennes (gate 7) and Sky Petite (gate 9) also represent the state of Victoria while quality Sydney trained trotter On Thunder Road (gate 4) will also have plenty of support. Both Daryl Boko (Finland) and Kyvalley Blur (North America) add that cosmopolitan flavour and both have excellent claims. Daryl Boko has drawn gate 2 while Kyvalley Blur has drawn gate 6. New Zealand trained performers are both from the north island with Temporale (gate 8) and Speeding Spur (gate 13) flying the Kiwi flag, both are well known to Australians fans owing to successful previous campaigns. Fabrication (gate 11) is the listed emergency for the event. The opening leg of the APG Trotting Masters was staged back in November during Cup week in Christchurch at Addington with the running of the Gr.1 $300,000 Haras des Trotteurs Dominion which was won by outsider Amaretto Sun. Only Daryl Boko and Hey Yo will contest the Great Southern Star after starting in the Dominion. The Great Southern Star is scheduled as race six and listed to start at 9.00pm local time. Chris Barsby

Harness racing explosive pacer Cruz Bromac is nearing a racetrack return. Sidelined since contesting the 2017 Gr.1 $400,000 Victoria Cup (January edition) at Tabcorp Park Melton, the stylish looking Falcon Seelster gelding sparkled in a public trial yesterday (Tuesday). The Dean Braun prepared pacer ventured to Kilmore and easily scored in his 2180m workout defeating reigning Miracle Mile champion Lennytheshark and Stunning Grin. The mile rate was 1:58.5 with the final mile covered in 1:57.7 while covering his final half in 56.6 seconds and 28.2 seconds. Lennytheshark starts in Saturday nights Gr.1 $100,000 Petstock Ballarat Pacing Cup at Bray Raceway. Winning driver Nathan Jack was suitably impressed. “He felt as good as he looked, he absolutely cruised and felt really strong through the line. Happy to stay aboard, he’s got a good campaign coming up.” Jack said. Boasting 12 victories from 22 starts to date, connections have plenty of options over the coming weeks and months, firstly in his home state and then in Sydney. While a nomination was submitted for the Gr.1 $500,000 Hunter Cup on February 3, it appears unlikely that he’ll head that way. “He’s likely to go to Melton next week (Great Southern Star race night) and there’s a nice option for him on that program and then we’ll reassess after that performance before making our next move,” Co-owner Pauline McColgan explained. “Time may have beaten us for the Hunter Cup but in saying that, time has been the best thing for him because he’s really furnished into a lovely horse. He’s a complete horse now, big and strong. “A Sydney campaign that coincides with the Miracle Mile carnival will be considered, they have some great races up there in the coming weeks and he’s been there before and performed at a high level. Nothing confirmed but plenty of options at this point, Dean will map the best fit for him.” A trip to Queensland for the winter carnival later this year for the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 18 is another attractive option. Last season, Cruz Bromac won 6 of his 9 starts while his only unplaced effort came at his most recent start, finishing 8th behind New Zealand wonder horse Lazarus in a time of 1:52.5. Feature race triumphs last term included the Casey Classic plus the Cobram and Hamilton Cups. Cruz Bromac Trial Chris Barsby

Harness racing teenage horseman Lachie Manzelmann is heading interstate. The 18-year-old Queenslander has taken up the opportunity to join the leading Sydney stables of Shane and Lauren Tritton at Menangle. Manzelmann, the son of leading thoroughbred trainer John who is based in central Queensland, has enjoyed stints with leading stables of Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen while more recently working under the eye of Darrel Graham. The talented reinsman will join his new team later this month. “I just thought it was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and see things from a different perspective, I’m really looking forward to it because I know I will grow in areas as a trainer and a driver.” Manzelmann said. The mini-trotting graduate landed 23 winners last season while he has 16 winners to date for the current term. He returns to race driving tomorrow (Tuesday) after serving a recent four week suspension. Two weeks ago, Manzelmann prepared his maiden metropolitan winner when Sicilian Slumber proved too good for his rivals. Amy Rees took the winning drive. “That was a great feeling but I’m thinking a winner at Menangle will be even better, I’m looking forward to driving on the big track. “Shane and Lauren have a number of quality performers in their care and I’ll be happy with any opportunities that come my way while the driving colony is high quality and there’s a lot to learn. “Queensland will always be home but this opportunity came at the right time, I’m keen to learn as much as possible.” Shane and Lauren Tritton are currently 5th in the New South Wales premiership with 33 winners to date. Chris Barsby

For Kylie Rasmussen, starting the New Year came with a victory. And as a harness racing driver. On Tuesday afternoon, Rasmussen guided the ultra-talented Major Cam to success in the Lunchbox Lodge Spelling Farm Open Pace at Albion Park and easily accounted for Another Broadway and Stormfortheboys in a time of 1:54.2. “It was a very satisfying feeling, nice to back out there and driving a talented type.” Rasmussen said. While the result won’t shock many, the fact that Rasmussen hasn’t driven under race conditions since April fool’s day, 2016 will. On that occasion, Rasmussen came to grief when partnering Ella Michelle in the 4yo QBRED Mares Final at Albion Park which left her with injuries while aggravating older ones. While winners have continued for the stable, the former Albion Park metropolitan premiership winning driver watched from the stands. The eldest of the Rasmussen siblings, Kylie has driven in excess of 530 winners throughout her career including partnering Australia’s greatest pacer Blacks A Fake. Star mare Forever Gold (42 wins - $700k) was another great performer for Rasmussen. Over 300 winners have come from her training establishment. And she’s hoping Major Cam can record another victory this Saturday night when he lines up in the Remembering “Peter Profit” Open Pace over the distance of 1660m. The Art Major gelding has drawn gate six in the eight horse field. “I was really pleased with his effort the other day and he will improve from that run given he had a few weeks between starts, he was strong at the line. “In saying that, the draw looks a little tricky this weekend and in particular over the short trip. Should be a good race.” Major Cam has won 18 of his 19 races at the Breakfast Creek oval. Key rivals include former Queensland Derby winner Catcha Lefty and last week’s open class winner Glenferrie Hood while the brilliant beginner Ideal Scott will prove a real threat. Peter Profit was a Queensland hero during the late 1960’s and 1970’s winning 43 races at Albion Park and was a dual winner of the Albion Park 10,000.  Peter Profit won 45 races when trained by Frank Donohoe whose son Alan Donohoe drove the harness great to a few wins in his early career. Peter Profit, by the great James Scott, retired at the age of 13 with a personal best time of 2:01:5 and prize money worth $61,643 regarded as a true legend of the sport. Fittingly, he is a member of the Queensland Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Chris Barsby

It was great way to register a milestone. Clarendon harness racing trainer Tess Neaves prepared her 50th winner last Saturday night when Call Me Yours ran down The Muse and Weedons Express in the Pryde’s Easifeed Pace at Albion Park. It was the final metropolitan meeting of the 2017 calendar year. Call Me Yours landed a perfect trail behind race favourite The Muse and proved superior in a driving finish, the winning margin was a head. Neaves engaged Steven Doherty for the drive while regular reinsman Gary Whitaker took the drive on stablemate Riverleigh Jeff who finished fourth. “I’ll take it, its great training winners and extra special on a Saturday night. It was great to have the family with me and we all celebrated together which was great.” Neaves said. The mother of two works her team of ten pacers with the assistance of Nikki Chalk while her husband Scott gets involved on the weekends, after completing his work as a barrister. And their children Charlee and Callan cheered louder than anyone else last night. Neaves has grown up surrounded by horses and enjoys working her team which are all pacers and mostly cast-offs from others stables or secured via the claiming races. Her maiden winner came via the claimers when eleven-year-old gelding Prince Benji proved successful at Redcliffe on November 5, 2014. “I really enjoy working the horses from the claimers, they’re older and the bulk of them are really kind natured. They’ve been around the block and understand routines pretty well and they’re adaptable, Prince Benji was a horse I loved so much. “The other reason I enjoy the older types is because my two young kids enjoy getting outside and they like the horses and their company. Plus, having all the noise of quad bikes, games and whatever else they can get their hands onto doesn’t seem to bother the horses. “The young horses are on the way because we have bred a mare and we have a resultant foal so that will be an interesting chapter in my training but something I’m looking forward to.” The best performer for Neaves during her training career to date has been Riverleigh Jeff, a Cammibest gelding who has won 11 races including three at Albion Park. Neaves purchased Riverleigh Jeff as a four start maiden. Chris Barsby

Young harness racing driver Lachie Manzelmann won’t forget 2017. The 18-year-old has flashed his skills in the sulky which has netted him a number of victories but last Saturday night at Albion Park he achieved another milestone. Manzelmann prepared his maiden metropolitan winner when Sicilian Slumber shot the passing lane to snatch victory from Gangster Boy and Croft Bay to win the Hurrikane Kingcole @ Egmont Park Pace. Sicilian Slumber was handled by Amy Rees with Manzelmann currently serving a driving suspension. Only two weeks earlier, Sicilian Slumber provided Manzelmann with his maiden winner as a trainer when successful at the Albion Park midweek meeting. “It’s a great feeling, I had my doubts with him running a strong 2138m but Amy gave him a really good trip and he came through strongly at the finish. I think he actually goes best when the girls drive him and his form backs that up.” Manzelmann said. During the year, Manzelmann switched from the Chantal Turpin/Pete McMullen stable and linked with Darrel Graham while taking on his trainers licence. He claimed Sicilian Slumber at a price of $7000 from a race at Albion Park on November 28; it’s proving to be a wise investment. Manzelmann had prior knowledge of the eight-year-old gelding during his time with the Turpin/McMullen stable and thought he was the right horse to start his training career. “I was able to drive him in track work plus I had a couple of drives behind him on race day, I knew a fair bit about him and thought he was the horse for me. “His best asset is his gate speed and that should be beneficial going forward, I can probably drop him back in grade with a claim again before looking at putting him back in the claiming grade. “He’s definitely paid for himself, he hasn’t missed a cheque since I got him and he has a bit left in him too, I’m hoping he can pick up a few more yet.” Sicilian Slumber is the star of the two horse Manzelmann team with Magnussen currently spelling. Manzelmann landed 23 winners last season while he has 16 winners to date for the current term and he’s keen to expand on that. “I definitely want to keep building on my totals, I was happy with last season but I’m keen to do better this season. “I’m getting good support from owners and trainers and want to keep repaying the faith their showing in me. And more Saturday night winners would be great too.” Manzelmann returns to race driving on Tuesday week (January 9). Chris Barsby

It’s official. The biggest threat to Lazarus, the current champion of Australasian harness racing, lies within his own stable. This will not shock most fans, the depth of the All Stars stable is at an all-time high and the result of the Gr.1 $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park today (Sunday) only solidifies the point. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen provided the top three finishers with boom four-year-old and race favourite Vincent defeating Titan Banner and Heaven Rocks in the 3200m stand-start feature. While Lazarus has dominated most open class features this season including his powerful and relentless thrashings of rivals in the New Zealand Cup and Inter Dominion, his stablemate Vincent is well on the way to being his nemesis. His winning effort in the Auckland Cup, his first foray into the Grand Circuit level of elite pacing, clearly underlines the enormous talent that fits into his hulking frame. It’s a lethal combination. Stepping safely and landing behind Titan Banner soon after the start, Vincent travelled comfortably while outsider Northview Hustler challenged hard for the lead and eventually found it before releasing both Titan Banner and Vincent again. Rasmussen positioned Vincent in the lead role passing the 2100m mark. The lead time was covered in a moderate 2:04.9. With Vincent dictating terms, Heaven Rocks and Tim Williams whistled around the field before parking outside of his stablemate with 1200m remaining. The first half of the final mile was covered in splits of 32.7 and 32.7 seconds. Entering the back straight, Vincent was tested by Heaven Rocks who raced keenly albeit pacing like a startled giraffe. Heaven Rocks actually headed Vincent coming off the back straight before pacing very awkwardly, the back straight quarter was covered in 27.4 seconds. But Rasmussen wasn’t perturbed and allowed Vincent to pace comfortably within himself before releasing the shackles in the straight, the margin soon expanded and the highly decorated pacer scored easily by 1.5 lengths from Titan Banner who used inside runs while Heaven Rocks was a further head away in third. The final quarter was covered in 27 seconds. The overall time was 4:04.7 – a winning mile rate of 2:03.0. “That was a professional effort, he stepped away safely and travelled really well and felt terrific in the straight when challenged. He’s a very good horse.” Winning driver Natalie Rasmussen declared. It was Rasmussen’s maiden victory in the North Island feature. The victory of Vincent also provided his champion sire Art Major with his first Auckland Cup winner. The All Stars stable have now won the Auckland Cup on six occasions and have recorded back to back victories following the success of Dream About Me last year. Other winners include Sharp And Telford, Young Rufus, Auckland Reactor and Have Faith In Me. With four legs now complete in the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit, the All Stars stable has won three legs (New Zealand Cup, Inter Dominion and Auckland Cup) while Lennytheshark won the opening leg of the 2017/18 series, the Victoria Cup. The next leg of the APG Grand Circuit takes place on January 19 at Gloucester Park with the running of the Gr.1 $450,000 TABtouch WA Pacing Cup, an event that will feature Lazarus. Collectively, the combination of Purdon and Rasmussen have either trained or driven in excess of 50 Grand Circuit winners! Auckland Cup By Chris Barsby

Star Queensland pacer Colt Thirty One is on target for a big season. The richly talented harness racing three-year-old made it back to back victories when successful in the $10,540 Pot of Gold Final at Albion Park today (Friday). Fresh from his clinical display last week when resuming the previous week, the Mach Three – Charm Personified colt sat parked in the 1660m event before easily defeating former New Zealand filly Lisa Lincoln and Paternity Suit in a time of 1:54.1. Sectionals were covered in 28.8, 29.9, 27.5 and 28.2 seconds. It was the 9th victory from 13 starts and all victories have come via the Albion Park oval. The proven Gr.1 winner is being readied for a tilt at the $200,000 Victoria Derby series next month and trainer/driver Grant Dixon is content with the progress his top pupil is making. “I was really pleased with the effort today, it was a nice follow-up from his effort the previous week and he felt strong to the line and the sectionals were sharp.” Dixon said. The heats of the Victoria Derby are scheduled for January 20 while the final will take place the following week at TABCORP Park, Melton. Key rivals will include star local and the unbeaten Lumineer while the dominant All Stars stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are also likely to be represented among many others. Outstanding Tasmanian youngster Ignatius is likely to skip the Melbourne feature in preference for the New South Wales Derby the following month. But Dixon is confident his colt will be amongst the action. “He proved he was competitive with his efforts during the Breeders Crown back in August and I think he has come back in really good shape, we’re in the mix anyway. “He’s filled out and thickened in the right areas and he’s very relaxed which is great, he’s very tractable and driving very well. “I’m hoping to find another race before heading south and that should have him in great shape for the series.” Colt Thirty One finished third behind King Of Swing and Poster Boy in the Gr.1 $285,000 Australasian Breeders Crown on August 27. The Gr.1 QBRED Triad winner is raced by his breeders, Kevin and Kay Seymour. Chris Barsby

Harness racing trainer Mark Purdon knows a thing or two about the Auckland Cup. The champion horseman has trained the winner of the North Island feature five times, including last year’s heroine Dream About Me in race record time. His other past champions include Have Faith In Me, Auckland Reactor, Young Rufus and Sharp And Telford. On Sunday night at Alexandra Park, the All Stars stable will be represented by a trio of charges in the Gr.1 $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup including boom four-year-old Vincent plus Titan Banner and the enigmatic Heaven Rocks. Unbeaten in both starts this term, Vincent is clearly the horse to beat following his record breaking victory in the $50,000 Franklin Cup on December 15 followed by his easy romp in the $50,000 Futurity at Cambridge on Christmas Eve. The hulking Art Major - Kept For Pleasure entire has landed barrier four in the 3200m stand-start feature. With Purdon currently suspended, star reinsperson Natalie Rasmussen will take the drive again, just like she did in the Franklin Cup. But there is something eerily similar between his past winners and his loaded gun this year. Four of his five Auckland Cup winners have all been four-year-olds, just like Vincent. Dream About Me, Have Faith In Me, Auckland Reactor and Sharp And Telford were all baby faced assassins when triumphant in the Auckland Cup. Young Rufus was a five-year-old when triumphant. So, despite his inexperience and Grand Circuit smarts, Purdon will have Vincent primed for his big open class test. Big brother Barry is also very familiar with the Auckland Cup, having prepared the winner 8 times previously. All but Holmes DG were prepared in partnership with his legendary father Roy - starting with Sole Command and followed by Comedy Lad, Luxury Liner (x 2), Christopher Vance and Chokin ( x 2). Driving champions Peter Wolfenden (Sole Command) and Tony Herlihy (all others) took driving honours for the father/son partnership. Barry took the winning drive himself when successful with Holmes DG. This year, Barry will send out talented four-year-old Jacks Legend while entrusting the drive with skillful reinsman Zachary Butcher. Other four-year-old’s competing this year include the Steve Reid prepared Star Galleria and the Greg and Nine Hope trained A G’s White Socks. Both are extremely talented types and should prove dangerous given the right luck. Herlihy will partner Star Galleria while dual Auckland Cup winning reinsman Ricky May takes the lines behind A G’s White Socks. Cup winning trainer Ray Green (2012 - Sir Lincoln) prepares Northview Hustler and will engage dual Cup winning driver David Butcher (Elsu - 2003/04) for the drive. Surprisingly, respected horseman Brent Mangos is chasing his maiden success in the Auckland Cup and will partner his talented runner Maxim. Mangos has won most features at the premier North Island track. Also chasing Cup success for the first time include Jeremy Young (Bryson Ideal), Mike Berger (Max Phactor & Lusty Mac) and Anna Donnelly (Imajollywally). As it stands, the dominant force of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have won two of the three legs this season of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit following the victories of mighty pacer Lazarus in the New Zealand Cup and Inter Dominion. The opening leg of the 2017/18 series, the Victoria Cup was taken out by hometown hero Lennytheshark in clinical style. The Auckland Cup is the 4th leg of the 8 race series. Start time for the Auckland Cup is 7.35pm local. Chris Barsby

Quality three-year-old Pinup Boy makes his return to harness racing at Albion Park tomorrow (Friday) night. Prepared by respected horseman Mark Dux, the talented gelding is a last start winner of the Gr.1 $100,450 Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sales Graduates Final on August 12. On that occasion, he proved too strong downing talented filly Arts Treasure (a proven Gr.1 winner herself) in a solid time of 1:55.7 for the 1660m feature event. The Sportswriter – Victree Bette youngster was immediately turned out for a well-deserved break. Pinup Boy ended his rookie season with a record of three wins and two minor placings from seven starts while banking more than $54,000. “He’s come back in good order, he’s only grown in height a small margin but he’s definitely filled out and seems a lot thicker in most areas which is pleasing. Winning the APG race was the season target, it was his Grand Final and we were more than pleased with the job he did.” Dux said. Pinup Boy resumes in the final event on the program, the second heat of the Seymour Pot of Gold and will start from gate five in the 1660m event. The $10,540 Final is scheduled for the following week. A recent public trial indicated that Pinup Boy is on target for a first-up showing after winning the workout in a time of 1:59.1 with the last quarter covered in 27.7 seconds. “It was a nice start to his campaign and I was more than satisfied with the way he hit the line and ran through the line, he chased down the leader quite comfortably. “He will prove very hard to beat and this series looked a perfect way to start his new season, I haven’t really mapped out any major assignments at this stage so there are no set plans. “I like him; I think he’s got a nice future so we will hopefully have some fun with him this campaign and a winning start can be made this week.” Pinup Boy is raced by Stephen Dux, Greg Flower, Richard Lucas, Bill Quill, Bernard Tobin, Alan Salpietro, John Flower, Natalie Flower, Chris Grant and Danial Grant. Meanwhile, the meeting also features the second round of heats of the 2017 Australasian Young Drivers Championship with a further two heats scheduled. The series commenced on Wednesday night at Redcliffe and local driver Narissa McMullen (39 points) currently leads the series from New Zealand drivers Dylan Ferguson (37) and Kimberly Butt (34). McMullen won the opening two heats with winning drives behind No Confession and Stuunder. A champion will be crowned on Saturday night after the final four heats are staged. Chris Barsby

The best has been saved for last. The stage is set for the $1.1 million TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final at Gloucester Park in Perth this Friday night, the third and final harness racing series to be held in the west. Under their three year tenure, champions crowned include Lennytheshark (2015) and Smolda (2016) while another great name will be added to the honour roll. And it’s a fascinating contest that is set to unfold. The locals have stood tall throughout the series to date and provide half of the field including boom pacers Soho Tribeca and Chicago Bull while Galactic Star, Vultan Tin and Shandale could easily provide the upset result. A victory this weekend would be a huge boost for the local industry. Hall of Fame trainer Gary Hall prepares pint-sized wonder Chicago Bull, the Bettors Delight gelding is the 11th finalist for the champion trainer, already a three times winner (Im Themightyquinn – 2011/12 & 13). His other finalists include Faking It, The Falcon Strike, Livingontheinterest, My Hard Copy, Waylade, Beaudiene Boaz and Run Oneover. Gary Hall Jnr will partner Chicago Bull; it will be his 8th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive. Kim Prentice is no stranger to Inter Dominion success after winning with Baltic Eagle back in 2003 while finishing fourth with Big Town Walton the year prior. This year, Prentice has an excellent chance with Soho Tribeca, a winner of two heats while finishing a game second in the other. Galactic Star has qualified following his consistent efforts during the heats and provides Skye Bond with her maiden finalist, her husband Greg qualified Can Return Fire for the 2012 final. In-form reinsman Ryan Warwick takes the drive on Galactic Star and is hoping to join his father as an Inter Dominion winner, Colin guided Rhetts Law to victory in 1982. Trainer Mike Reed sends out his second finalist in Shandale after Libertybelle Midfrew represented his stable in 2015. Shannon Suvaljko takes his maiden Grand Final drive. Vultan Tin is the ‘true local’, born and bred in Perth by owner/trainer Phil Costello; the talented pacer will carry plenty of support. Chris Voak takes his second Grand Final drive after partnering Our Jericho last year. Champion New Zealand horseman Mark Purdon is chasing back to back triumphs and will be duly represented in the rich final by series favourite Lazarus and the fastest pacer in Australasian history in Have Faith In Me (1:47.5). It’s a lethal one/two punch. Purdon will partner Lazarus and it will be his 16th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive but his 8th in a pacing final. His other drives in pacing finals include Mark Hanover (x 2), Nippon Home, Bogan Fella, Young Rufus and Smolda (x 2). He is a dual Grand Final winner with Mark Hanover (1991) and Smolda last year – he has also won the Trotting Grand Final three times with Pride Of Petite (1996) and I Can Doosit (2011/12). Have Faith In Me will be handled by local champion Chris Lewis, a winner of more than 5000 races during his career. This will be his 13th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive; he scored with Carclew (1976) and Village Kid (1986). Village Kid started in four finals. His other drives include Black Irish, Hilarion Star, Ginger Man, All Hart, Crombie, Lovers Delight and John Of Arc. Victorian based horseman David Aiken is chasing another piece of silverware in the west, mighty pacer Lennytheshark is aiming for another title following his success in 2015 while his stablemate Hectorjayjay went agonisingly close last year when runner-up behind Smolda. Aiken has previously qualified Toby Duane, Tiffs Mystery, Ultra Jet, Insutcha, Karlsruhe, Jaccka Clive, Wartime Sweetheart, Lennytheshark (x 2) and Hectorjayjay for pacing finals while qualifying Twebby Twotter and Im Dejazzman for trotting finals. Champion reinsman Chris Alford will take the drive behind Lennytheshark and chases his third triumph after previous success with Golden Reign (1995) and Lennytheshark (2015). Alford lines up for his 9th pacing final drive after partnering Golden Reign, Tallowood Pursuit, Tailamade Lombo, Mont Denver Gold, Reba Rajah, Penny Veejay and Lennytheshark (x 2). He has driven Buntys Pride, Noopy Kiosk, Cool Fortune, Truscott Steel, All Action Son, Glenbogle, Conquer All, Solar Active and Im Dejazzman in trotting finals. Another Victorian trained finalist is San Carlo, prepared by Stephen O’Donoghue and handled by Rebecca Bartley, the Mach Three gelding is the winner of 21 races from 27 starts. Bartley is the only female driver in this year’s Grand Final while becoming only the second female driver to score a heat victory at Gloucester Park following the win of San Carlo last Friday night. Kellie Kersley became the first female driver to secure a heat when successful aboard Norms Daughter back in 1996. Iron tough pacer Tiger Tara is representing New South Wales and is trained by Sydney horseman Kevin Pizzuto and will be handled as per normal by Todd McCarthy. This is the first time Pizzuto has qualified an Inter Dominion Grand Finalist while McCarthy is lining up in his third final after previously partnering Seel N Print and Monifieth. In barrier draw order; 1) Tiger Tara by Bettor's Delight 2) Lazarus by Bettor's Delight 3) Vultan Tin by Dawn Ofa New Day 4) Soho Tribeca by American Ideal 5) Galactic Star by Bettor's Delight 6) Lennytheshark by Four Starzzz Shark 7) San Carlo by Mach Three 8) Shandale by Art Major 9) Have Faith In Me by Bettor's Delight 10) Chicago Bull by Bettor's Delight The Inter Dominion is the third leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit series and features both leg winners to date, Lennytheshark won the Victoria Cup back in October while Lazarus recorded another easy victory in the New Zealand Cup last month. Both pacers have amassed 100 points while Tiger Tara sits nearby with 80 points after finishing third in both the Victoria and New Zealand Cups. Just like the Inter Dominion Grand Final, the Grand Circuit battle is just as intriguing. Chris Barsby

With all eyes on the Harness Racing Queensland summer carnival currently, two of the state’s best pacers are on differing paths. Recently crowned Queensland Horse of the Year Leos Best has been benched while Mattgregor returns to work following a setback suffered in Sydney last month. Leos Best, prepared by Grant Dixon, scored a decisive first-up victory at Albion Park on November 11 before missing the place a fortnight later. That unplaced effort left Dixon perplexed. Most were expecting to see Leos Best starting in the open class features and playing a major role but instead, the Cammibest gelding will spend the next two weeks in the paddock. “I’ve decided to give him a freshen-up and then start again, I couldn’t put my finger on what when wrong last start although I’ve got my ideas,” Dixon said. “He’ll have two weeks off now and then hopefully he’ll come back better than ever, that’s the plan anyway.” He added. With Leos Best in the paddock, his sparring partner Mattgregor has returned to work today (Monday). The Chantal Turpin trained pacer was forced to bypass the recent Gr.2 $75,000 4 & 5yo Championship at TABCORP Park, Melton owing to a virus. Mattgregor was halfway to Melbourne when successful at Menangle on November 4; it was a dominant victory over 2300m in 1:55.1. Connections were forced to head home and the five-year-old was given a couple of easy weeks to recover. “He’s much better now and he’s back in work and performing light duties, it’s a shame he missed the Melbourne race but he always comes first and we were never going to risk him,” Turpin said. “There’s no plans at this stage, we’ll just work him up and then look at our options when he’s ready. Obviously, the Brisbane winter carnival is a long range target for him.” She added. Leos Best and Mattgregor have clashed on five occasions and both have a victory over each other. Chris Barsby

Two down, two to go. That’s the situation unfolding for Chambers Flat harness racing horseman Ian Gurney following his triumph in the Gr.3 $30,540 AQWA Constructions Be Good Johnny Sprint at Albion Park last night (Saturday). The sprint feature, named in honour of the Queensland speed machine and dual Miracle Mile champion for trainer John McCarthy, was won by Our Hi Jinx ($6.50) who defeated Glenferrie Hood ($12.80) and Aztec Bromac ($10.20) in a time of 1:51.3 – the second fastest time ever recorded at the Breakfast Creek oval. Champion pacer Im Themightyquinn is the only horse to record a sub 1:51 mile at Albion Park, pacing 1:50.4 when successful in the 2014 Sunshine Sprint. Our Hi Jinx, again handled by teenage reinsman Leonard Cain, proved triumphant a week earlier when victorious in the $20,540 Lord Mayors Cup before backing up to claim the sprint feature. “He’s just in the zone right now; he’s happy and healthy and that shows with the way he is racing right now. It’s no shock to me because I know how good this horse is when he’s on song and I’m just thankful I’ve got him in a good state right now.” Gurney said. It’s the second time Our Hi Jinx has won the Be Good Johnny Sprint after scoring back in 2015, the vanquished that night included the likes of Mach Alert, Majestic Major, Bling It On, Forever Gold and Avonnova among others. The Christian Cullen gelding then went on to score in the Grand Circuit event, the Gr.1 $200,000 Queensland Pacing Championship when handled by Greg Sugars. Since then, Gurney has battled to keep his star pacer in perfect shape but he’s currently winning the battle. “He’s always had speed, that real high speed and it was just a matter of getting him happy and healthy again. He’s been really good this campaign and there’s been genuine excuses when he hasn’t featured in the money. “He’s not the easiest horse to drive and that speaks volumes for the way Leonard has handled him, he’s patient with him and doesn’t panic. I think Leonard drives beyond his years; he doesn’t get flustered and works with the horse rather than fighting him. “Not many kids get the opportunity like Leonard has got in these types of races but he’s making hay while the sun shines and good on him. He’s driving with good composure and confidence right now.” As it stands, only the $20,540 AQWA Constructions Christmas Cup followed by the Gr.2 $60,540 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup remain for the Racing Queensland summer carnival. And Gurney is hoping to make a clean sweep of the open class features. Our Hi Jinx will back-up again this weekend and will be joined by stable star Avonnova who missed last week’s Be Good Johnny Sprint. “I will start both Jinxy and Nova this week and more than likely; both will be starting the following week too. “I didn’t intend on starting Nova in all of the races, it’s just too much to go week after week for four weeks straight. He’ll be ready for the Christmas Cup and then the Queensland Cup over the longer trips.” The Christmas Cup will be run over 2680m while the Queensland Cup will be staged at 2138m. Chris Barsby

On the eve of the state’s biggest trotting event, there is a notable omission. Defending harness racing champion Melpark Royal Son will miss the 2017 Gr.2 $40,630 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship series owing to a mysterious hoof issue. Prepared by astute mentor John Cremin, Melpark Royal Son resumed with a steady sixth at Albion Park on November 18 when handled by leading reinsperson Danielle Hill but never looked completely comfortable in running. And that left Cremin perplexed. “I haven’t been completely satisfied with the way he was trotting this campaign but I was hopeful I’d have him right to defend his title. It’s hard to pinpoint the issue but it’s in the same offside front hoof that gave him a few troubles during his Melbourne campaign earlier this year.” Cremin said. The reigning Queensland Trotter of the Year has undergone a series of tests in recent weeks with no definitive answer has been revealed although it is different to the issue from earlier this season. The Majestic Son gelding will spend a number of weeks in the spelling paddock. “We’ll give him a number of weeks off now in a bid to solve the problem, there’s no point racing him when there’s an issue, I wouldn’t do that to him because he’s been so good to us since we purchased him. “The only remaining test yet to be carried out on him is an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) but we’d have to go to Sydney for that, we haven’t ruled that out but hopefully we can organise some time to get down there.” Melpark Royal Son is raced by Cremin’s wife, Tanya. Cremin is heavily committed with his burgeoning farrier business while working his small team. The opening round of heats will take place tomorrow (Friday) with two full fields taking on the staying distance of 2647m. Key players in the first heat include Master Hugh, Blazing Under Fire, Releven Dream, Our Dainty Lady and Our Overanova among others while the second heat features Ivanov, Southern Alps, Unico Pegasus, Twice As Much, Astral Ruler, Giacomo and Iona Grinner among others. Cremin has picked up the drives behind Liava and Blue Don for the Grant Dixon stable. Chris Barsby

1 to 16 of 460
1 2 3 4 5 Next »