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Cobbity Trainer, Craig Cross, believes the Kylie Rasmussen trained and driven Smart As Camm Be has Saturday’s $21,000 Redcliffe Oaks for 3yo pacing fillies at her mercy. “She’s a very smart horse, and not the current Queensland 2yo Pacing Filly-of-the-Year for nothing. She has almost colt-like features. In fact I’d rate her the second best pacer in Queensland behind Colt Thirty One. It’s hard to see her losing. “Of course I’d like to win and anything can happen in horse racing, but someone has got to run second and I don’t mind being runner-up to a good one,” Cross said. Those comments were made in spite of Cross’s pacer, Senora Rapido, having won four of his five New South Wales starts since relocating from New Zealand in March. The Art Major filly has also drawn one inside Smart As Camm Be (5). “Kylie knows how to win Oaks races and also knows Redcliffe very well. Smart As Camm Be has also won 11 races. We will know we’ve been in a race. Chris (Geary) is driving my filly for the first time,” Cross said. “She is very capable and can get some of this, if not the Queensland Derby as well,” the 56-year-old added. Cross is no stranger coming to Queensland and taking home the spoils, but is yet to win a Redcliffe Oaks. The last two years he’s nailed the QBRED Triad 2&3-year-old Group events with First String. “Luke McCarthy drove First String to win his latest TRIAD at Albion Park in April. He’s driving him again at Menangle on Saturday in the NSW Breeders Challenge semi Final. “He (First String) might join some of my team here later in the Winter. Queenslander, Joe Taaffe is bringing Senora Rapido to Stephen Cini and Cristina Monte’s Alberton barn today (Thursday),” said Cross, who works a team of 35 in NSW. He said Senora Rapido had the breeding to make a nice pacer. “She is out of a Presidential Ball mare (Eyre To The Throne) who won three of her five starts and left a good Mach Three filly, who won a lot of races.” That filly was Senora Rapido’s older half-sister, Kate’s First, who was a Group Two winner, who won 21 of her 60 starts ($341,723), and also paced a 1:50.3 mile. Senora Rapido’s quickest mile rate to date came when wining at Penrith on May 2 in 1:56.5. That’s 0.9 of a second slower that what Smart As Camm Be recorded in her 2yo TRIAD final last July. That was Smart As Camm Be’s last race as a 2-year-old. Since then she has won five of her eight starts this season. Up until her last start seventh n the Victoria Oaks Smart As Camm Be had won her last six races in a row. And the gifted daughter of Cammibest signaled a big warning to her 10 Redcliffe Oaks opponents at the Albion Park Trials on Tuesday when recording her fastest ever mile rate. Rasmussen drove her to a head victory over Lincolns Girl, pacing the 1,660m mobile in 1:58.3 with a 1:54.7 mile rate. Her sectionals were 28.5, and 29.8, 28.7, and 27.8. Australia’s top trainer, Grant Dixon, must also be taken seriously in Saturday’s 2,040m mobile. The Tamborine horseman has three in the Oaks. They are the Dixon drive last start winner, For All We Know (1), the ultra-consistent Adam Sanderson drive Eternal Promise (2); and the Paul Diebert driven Ark Me (8), who follows out Eternal Promise.   Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

AUSTRALIAN Pacing Gold purchase First String added another feature to his collection when triumphant at Albion Park last night. Winner of last season’s Group One Qbred Triad Final, First String returned to successfully defend his title for trainer Craig Cross. Pleased with the three-year-old’s performance, Cross has elected to extend First String’s Queensland campaign. “He will stay up there for another run to try and pick up his bonus,” Cross said. “We’ve got two-year-old which will be going up for the APG series in a few weeks, so he will stay until then and come back with those. “After that he will have a short freshen-up before we take aim at the New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge.” With Luke McCarthy holding the reins, First String settled midfield from his second row draw as Left A Terror led from the pole. Angled three-wide during the middle stages the son of Roll With Joe was sent forward to test the pacemaker from the ‘death seat’. Forging his way to the front at the top of the home straight, First String staved off a late challenge from Lifes Black to score by a head, with Left A Terror three metres away third. Rating 1:57.3 over 2138 metres, the gelding stretched his record to seven wins and three placings from 16 starts for earnings of $121,860. “He went enormous,” Cross said. “It was good to see him bounce back last night as he went terrible in Bathurst, but I discovered after the race he had an abscess in his foot. “With his foot fixed and the way he worked on Tuesday before heading up, I knew he was ready to win.”   APG Media

A DECISION to send Australian Pacing Gold purchase No Win No Feed to New South Wales has certainly paid dividends. Prepared in Victoria last season by part-owner Jaime Madruga, No Win No Feed was transferred to Craig Cross’ stable for her three-year-old campaign. Making her racing return when second in a Bathurst Gold Bracelet heat last week, the handy filly was back at the venue for tonight’s Final. Driven “a treat” by Todd McCarthy, No Win No Feed upstaged her more fancied rivals to capture the Group One. “I sent her up for a few races with John McCarthy last season and was going to send her there again, but he is going away, so he said to send her to Craig,” Madruga explained. “She did well in the heat in her first run for seven months and was always going to be better for the run. “The boys had her primed perfectly for the Final.” Beginning quickly to lead from barrier five, No Win No Feed was allowed to roll along as the favourite, Brooklyns Best, worked at the pacemaker’s wheel. Striding clear around the home turn, the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance was untouched to score by 12-and-a-half metres from Our Ultimate Julie, with Brooklyns Best three-and-a-half metres away third. “Todd drove a treat,” Madruga said. “He knew the better ones had to come from behind so he made it hard on them. “We felt if she got the front without doing much work and could run her own race she would take a lot of running down.” Rating 1:55.5 over 2260 metres, No Win No Feed took her record to three wins and seven placings from 19 starts for earnings of $76,060. “Andy (Sinclair, part-owner) picked her at the APG Sale and we got her for only $10,000,” Madruga said. “This is Leigh’s (Flanagan) first horse and he’ll be over the moon.” Poised to remain in New South Wales, No Win No Feed will be aimed at the Breeders’ Challenge later in the season.   APG Media

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

CHICAGO Bull will farewell his home state, at least for a couple of months, when he tackles Friday night’s $50,000 J P Stratton Cup at Gloucester Park. Trainer Gary Hall Sr confirmed he would run Chicago Bull this week, just eight days ahead of the Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton. “It’s a good race this week and he thrives on backing-up,” Hall Sr said. Chicago Bull will dominate betting regardless of draws on Friday given he’s won his past eight on end and 11 of his past 12 starts. Beyond the Victoria Cup, Hall Sr still has his sights on a 2200m standing-start handicap at Alexandra Park on October 26 for Chicago Bull. The Aussie TAB has Chicago Bull $3 favourite for the Victoria Cup and $4.50 favourite for the NZ Cup. __________________________________________________________________________________ EMERGING star Kima Frenning could face a big choice in a week or so. Frenning, the popular former Swede with the infectious smile, won her fourth Victorian country cup inside the past 12 months aboard former claimer Im The Boss last Thursday night. It the biggest of the four as well when Im The Boss led throughout to snare the $70,000 Group 2 Kilmore Cup, a race won by Lennytheshark and Soho Tribeca. It followed last season’s wins in the Cobram, Mildura and Shepparton Cups. The win, first-up from a spell and despite overracing at times in the lead, surely makes Saturday week’s Group 1 Victoria Cup a logical next target. But the same can be said for Im The Boss’ stablemate and another of Frenning’s regular drives, Wrappers Delight, who won well again at Melton last night. Frenning loves both horses, but has a special affinity for Im The Boss as he was her “breakthrough” horse. “I have got absolutely no words for this horse, he has just done so much for me. He just came to the end of his preparation last campaign and to come back and win a race like the Kilmore Cup against horses like that, he is just ridiculous,” she said. “When he is at his best he just goes to the front and keeps going and that is the way he races and that is what he does, he just knows it’s raceday.” Frenning admit to concern down the back straight the last time after Im The Boss had been so keen in front. “I was a bit worried as he’d been pulling a bit and then I saw I had My Kiwi Mate outside of me and Bettermatch out three-wide, but he just felt so strong on the bit and he just keeps boxing on and that is his best asset. He’s just got the biggest heart ever.” Im The Boss held-on to beat the rejuvenated Three Ways by 2.6m with another 1.9m away to Bad Billy in third spot. Favourite My Kiwi Mate didn’t enjoy doing the work outside the leader and tired late for seventh. __________________________________________________________________________________ A VICTORIA Cup tilt is next for classy sit-sprinter Mach Doro after his return to winning form at Menangle last night (Saturday). Owner Dom Martello looks set to have two runners in the Cup with his emerging pacer Wrappers Delight also right on target after winning at Melton last night. For Mach Doro, it won’t be his first Victoria Cup. Trainer Craig Cross took him down for the January, 2017 Cup won by Lazarus, but it was over at the start when Mach Doro galloped away. Cross looks to have timed his run at the race well with Mach Doro needing the run when first-up at Menangle two week’s back, then making the most of a gun run to beat quality rivals last night. Driver Luke McCarthy blasted Mach Doro off the gate to find the lead and then, sensibly, took the trail on seasoned Grand Circuit star Tiger Tara over the longer 2300m trip. Favourite Franco Nelson, first-up since June, had to work outside the leader, while Mach Doro had the cold trail. Tiger Tara sizzled a 26.9sec split from the 800-400m and still ran home in 27.7sec, but Mach Doro out-zipped him along the inside to win by 2.2m. Much-improved mare Village Witch ran a fantastic third, while Franco Nelson tried hard and was only beaten 3.8m in fourth spot in a slick 1min54sec mile rate. __________________________________________________________________________________ A DARING dip into open-class just failed to pay-off with emerging WA star King Of Swing last Friday night. With stable star Chicago Bull having a week off and knowing the Media Guild Cup was a preferential draw, trainer Gary Hall Sr threw King Of Swing into the race. The immensely talented former Kiwi drew the pole and led as expected, but was nabbed late by the tough and more seasoned Motu Premier. King Of Swing certainly had his chance with comfortable early splits and, although got a tad keen at times, driver Gary Hall Jr kicked away with what looked a winning break rounding the home bend. But Motu Premier, who did the work outside, just kept coming and snatched victory by a half-head over King Of Swing with Vampiro another head away in third spot in a 1min57.6sec mile rate for 2536m. It’s great to see Motu Premier, himself a former member of the All Stars’ barn, getting back to his best form for Merv Butterworth and trainer Ross Olivieri. __________________________________________________________________________________ SHANE Tritton has turned his unbeaten Chariots Of Fire hopeful Gods Spirit out for a spell. “He pulled-up with a bit of a cold after winning at Menangle last Tuesday so he can have a break now and come back around Christmas time to wind-up for the Chariots,” Tritton said. Gods Spirit won his first and only NZ run and, since being sold to Tritton, has won all four runs at Menangle by an aggregate of 65.1m. And he’s already paced a 1min50.9sec mile. __________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Kiwi trotter Father Christmas just keeps getting better for Brent Lilley. The eight-year-old posted his fourth and best win from just 12 Aussie runs – he’s been placed six times as well – when he made light work of a 10m handicap to thrash his rivals in the Group 3 Kilmore Trotters’ Cup last Thursday night. Lilley flexed his muscle with five runners in the race and also snared third spot with Kyvalley Barney.   Adam Hamilton

ANOTHER name has been added to Australian Pacing Gold’s ever growing list of Group One winners. Proving too slick for his rivals at Albion Park during the weekend, First String captured the Qbred Triad Final for trainer and part-owner Craig Cross. Driven by Luke McCarthy, First String dashed to the lead from barrier four before being eased to take a trail behind fellow New South Wales raider, Regulus. Angled into the passing lane during the latter stages, the son of Roll With Joe sprinted to a three-and-a-half metre win from the pacemaker, with Hipstar three-and-a-half metres away third in 1:56.4 over 1660 metres. Although thrilled with the win, Cross – and First String – won’t be overly celebrating the moment. Instead, the two are likely to face the scalpel in coming weeks. Still experiencing difficulties from a broken leg, Cross could be required to undergo a bone graft next month. While Cross faces a date with a surgeon, First String may also be given the ‘cruellest cut’! The two-year-old has been sent for a spell, during which time he is likely to be gelded. “I’ve been wanting to geld him for a while, but we had the race in Queensland set out for him all season, so it hasn’t been done,” Cross said. “Although he won tonight, he is still more concerned about being a colt, so I believe he will race better once gelded. “I have to talk it over with the other owners, but it’s the way I would like to go. “Overall he hasn’t done too badly with three wins and two seconds from 10 starts.” APG Media

A three-time Group 1 winner, Inter Dominion finalist and a harness racing career that’s hauled in $1.6 million in prizemoney. It’s fair to say that Bling It On brings an intimidating record into Tuesday night’s Group 2 Shirley Turnbull Memorial (2,970 metres) at Bathurst Paceway. Bling It On is set to start a red hot favourite for a race he won two years ago in dominant fashion. Even a start from widest on the second row will be unlikely to deter many punters from backing the Craig Cross-trained horse, who ran a career best mile rate of 1:50.8 in his latest run at Menangle. Bling It On’s driver Luke McCarthy is no stranger to success in the $50,000 event, winning two of the last three editions. This year the race has been bumped up over 700 metres in distance to add a new level of endurance and tactical variety. The race has once again brought a classy field to Bathurst, but the big question is whether any challengers can hunt down Cross’ champion runner. “It’s been a race that Luke McCarthy has always aimed to get a drive in, given the family’s close friendship with the Turnbulls. He always ensures he’ll be there,” Bathurst Harness Racing CEO Danny Dwyer said. “From what I’ve heard the Shirley Turnbull Memorial was always on the cards for Bling It On. He’s coming into this with impressive form too. He’s won his last three starts in quick times at Menangle. “I think he’d be hard pressed to come into this race with better form than what he’s showing right now. It’s a really great field he’s coming up against, but he’s going to be hard to beat.” Among the impressive list of challengers is former Breeders Challenge champion Charlaval (Robbie Morris), Treuer Memorial winner My General Lee (Josh Willick) plus Bling It On’s in-form stablemate Admiral Bronski (Todd McCarthy). Charlaval has the opportunity to take control of the race out of gate one, with trainer KerryAnn Turner aiming to defend her Shirley Turnbull Memorial crown she won last year with Aztec Bromac. Turner’s win denied Luke McCarthy, driving favourite Allblack Stride, the chance to win his third straight memorial. Charlaval finished just a short half head away from Bling It On last start. My General Lee showed his credentials in a strong Treuer Memorial victory, leading from start to finish. Like Bling It On, stablemate Admiral Bronski comes to Bathurst with three straight wins to his name. His success in the recent Group 3 Christmas Gift makes him an enticing each-way hope for punters. Dwyer said the step up to 2,970m will add plenty of intrigue to the event. “The club made the decision to increase the race length from 2,260m just to change things up, and perhaps give an opportunity for more mid-race moves to happen,” he said. “From the draw I think Charlaval will get a nice run and go close to the lead. Then you’ve got a horse like Blazin N Cullen who might not be in the best of form at the moment, but he’s had some strong results at Menangle.” The Shirley Turnbull Memorial is the sixth race on the program, with the feature to start at 9.10pm. By Alexander Grant Reprinted with permission of The Daily Liberal

Harness racing driver Luke McCarthy doesn’t get back to his old hometown nearly as often as he would like but those infrequent visits usually involve success on the track as well as catching up with his extensive family. So last Wednesday’s trip over the mountains to Bathurst, which resulted in a double from three drives for the Craig Cross stable, was pretty much stock standard stuff. Both winners maintained impressive strike-rates, Blackened NZ taking his record to four from fiv  in an R1 sprint and Rocknroll Dude remaining undefeated in two career starts after taking out the second division of this class three races later. Blackened rated 1:55.1 in his front-running effort, but what was particularly noteworthy was his 27.1 seconds closing quarter which gave Mackeral, El Gran Señor and the rest of the pack no chance at all. McCarthy rates the three-year-old very highly, and expects him to step up to some better-class races as the season unfolds. His dam, The Blue Lotus, is a half-sister to champion juvenile and now promising sire Tintin In America, a close relation of Elsu, so the Shadow Play colt looks to have inherited some of that family’s exceptional ability. Rocknroll Dude’s win was contrasting but equally meritorious. The Rock N Roll Heaven four-year-old, drawn on his own on the second line, settled towards the tail before trekking three-wide from the 700 metres point and displayed both high speed and a measure of toughness to score strongly from Studleigh Kristen and Walk On Kimmy. He, too, boasts a strong maternal family. His dam Dream Royale NZ was a prolific racewinner for the McCarthy family when they were based at Albion Park, and they rated her highly enough to take her to Melbourne for a tilt at the Queen Of The Pacific open-class mares classic. Luke McCarthy spoke of his intention to bring stable star Bling It On - whose brilliant return to racing after career-threatening injuries earlier in the year “meant more to me than his Hunter Cup win”- to Bathurst for the $50,000 Group 2 Shirley Turnbull Memorial, the feature of the Carnival of Cups meeting on Boxing Night. It’s quite possible that he’ll line up Blackened in the night’s other feature, the Ray and Olive McCarthy Memorial, a prestigious three-year-old race which honours his late, much-loved grandparents. Luke has been a huge fan of the new Bathurst track since its inception in 2014, rating it again last week as “the best 1000 metre track in Australia” but when he returns on Boxing Night he, like the rest of us, will have to become accustomed to its new name and signage, as “Bathurst Gold Crown Paceway”, a natural fit for the home of the long-running juvenile classic. In the meantime, focus will be on the Bathurst RSL- sponsored Soldiers Saddle Series for C1/C2 emerging talent, with heats this week leading into next Wednesday’s semi-finals and a $15,900 final on Friday December 15. And then to that enormously popular Boxing Night celebration. As Luke himself might say, “Bling It On!” Terry Neil

Multiple Group-winning reinsman John McCarthy strengthened his feature race strike rate when landing a dream drive in an Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Final last Saturday night. McCarthy was handed the reins on the Craig Cross-trained Lucky Unlucky in the feature at Tabcorp Park Menangle as usual driver Luke McCarthy had commitments in Queensland. This drive gave McCarthy yet another Group win to his name as Lucky Unlucky took out the Group 2 two-year-old colts and geldings’ edition. McCarthy, who just earlier this season trained his 2000th winner, has now won more than 60 Group races as a driver. And a change of tactics to drive the gelding proved to be the winning move according to McCarthy. “He’s been, hence his name, a bit unlucky and been going back in the field and doesn’t seem to try so hard when he goes back,” McCarthy claimed. “I spoke to Craig and Luke before the race and they said see if you can go forward and try and find the front or sit outside the leader, he might try a lot harder for you and he certainly did.” Lucky Unlucky worked forward from gate six, led, and went on to record a personal best mile rate of 1:54.0. He was purchased at the Sydney Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sale for $20,000 by owner Vicki Rasmussen and has won $47,829 in prizemoney after 11 starts, two wins and five placings. The son of Roll With Joe is out of the Artsplace mare Specialize, who is a daughter of the former Grand Circuit mare Sabilize.   Amanda Rando  

Mach Doro is chasing his biggest payday in Queensland. The speedy pacer has arrived in the Sunshine State in readiness for a two race Brisbane winter carnival harness racing raid starting this weekend. Considered as the number two seed for the stable behind millionaire pacer Bling It On, Mach Doro gets an excellent opportunity to be the ‘main man’ following the injury setback to Bling It On suffered three weeks ago. Prepared by Craig Cross and driven by Luke McCarthy, the Mach Three gelding is chasing the big double, the Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint followed by next week’s Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake over the staying distance of 2680m. His biggest victory to date came via his first start, successful in the $20,000 Sapling Stakes at TABCORP Park, Melton three years ago. Mach Doro, raced by Dominic Martello and Doug Webster, has always shown enormous potential but is yet to snare a ‘big’ one. But he’s close. “For sheer speed, he’s right up with the very best that I’ve driven, he’s very quick and still underrated in part. The Brisbane campaign has been part of his plan for some time and he’ll be ready to showcase his talent, with an inch of luck he can cause some headaches.” Regular reinsman Luke McCarthy said. Originally prepared by astute Victorian based horseman Geoff Webster, the Australian Pacing Gold graduate won 10 of his 33 starts before being transferred to the Cross/McCarthy stable at Cobbity, near Sydney. A full brother to former juvenile star Fly Like An Eagle, Mach Doro struck instantly at TABCORP Park, Menangle before winning again at Bathurst at his next start. In 16 starts for his new stable, he has won 5 times while being a runner-up on a further 5 occasions. But mistakes this season have cost him dearly in the Gr.2 $53,000 Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst plus the Gr.1 $400,000 Victoria Cup and the Gr.1 $100,000 Bohemia Crystal FFA.   His past two efforts at Menangle have clearly demonstrated that he’s ready to take it to another level. Mach Doro was picked off late and narrowly behind Tiger Tara in the Gr.3 $31,800 Golden Mile followed by his second placed effort behind My Field Marshal in the Gr.1 $100,000 Len Smith Mile. “He’s gone two excellent races recently; he went within an inch of beating Tiger Tara in the Golden Mile but the photo result went the other way and we got beaten by a great drive last start in the Len Smith Mile by My Field Marshal and Ants (Anthony Butt – driver). “The style of racing in Brisbane will really suit this horse because they will go hard all the way in both races; I’ve just got to have him in the right spot at the right time. “He’s arrived in good order and has continued to train well so I’m looking forward to both races with him, they should be exciting races.” Mach Doro will renew his battle with the likes of My Field Marshal, Lennytheshark, Hectorjayjay and Tiger Tara among others over the next two weeks at Albion Park. McCarthy won the 2013 Blacks A Fake with Ideal Scott. The field for the Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint will be released later today (Tuesday). Chris Barsby

The racing future of Hunter Cup winner Bling It On remains uncertain after a nasty fall in his comeback race at Albion Park on Saturday night. A pick-up drive for Kiwi reinsman Mark Jones from a thrill to a nightmare when Bling It On was looming into the race on the final bend, but copped a check and crashed heavily to the track. It was an ugly fall and Bling It On appeared to land heavily on his knees. The Craig Cross-trained star was rushed to the Gatton University veterinary section where his legs, especially his knees, were cleaned and treated. “In short, he’s got two badly injured knees,” owner Peter O’Shea said. “The left knee is in a splint and the right one is heavily bandaged. He will spend at least the next two weeks at Gatton University recovering. “The vets think he will be ok as long as there is no infection.” Stable spokesman and regular driver Luke McCarthy said making Bling It On comfortable and giving him every chance to recover was the first priority. “He’s obviously out of the rest of the Winter Carnival, but beyond that time will tell as far as racing again,” he said. The race was Bling It On’s first start since the Miracle Mile at Menangle in late February. Bling It On’s crash was just one ingredient of a truly odd race. The first twist came when experienced driver Chris Petroff, aboard the leader Hokonui Ben, appeared to mistake the laps and go for home when there was still a lap to run. Stewards suspended him for six weeks. Petroff’s drive played a big part in the race being run upside down with a 57.7sec middle half, which suited grand old stayer Avonnova who simply out-toughed his rivals in a 60.1sec last half and 30.6sec closing quarter. The rising 11-year-old Avonnova has posted two wins and two seconds from four runs since being plucked out of retirement by trainer Ian Gurney. Adam Hamilton

With her famous sibling enjoying a spell, Fiore Stride grabbed the opportunity to bask in the harness racing spotlight at Tabcorp Park Menangle yesterday. By Art Major from Under The Mattress, the filly is a half-sister to Inter Dominion champion Smolda. Bred in Victoria, Smolda was purchased by clients of Mark Purdon through the Australian Pacing Gold Sales – the manner in which Fiore Stride was bought before heading to trainer Craig Cross. That sequence led to Fiore Stride capturing a heat of the APG race series, where she ironically beat a member of the Purdon stable! Driven by ace reinsman Luke McCarthy, Fiore Stride enjoyed the run of the race in the one-one before dashing to a two-and-a-half metre win from Just Makemine Diamonds, with Black Silhouette six metres away third. “She’s a lovely filly, which is getting better all the time,” Cross said. “We weren’t overly confident of beating Mark’s filly, which was a $1.10 favourite, but it worked out in our favour. “She’s got her share of high speed and will continue to improve as she gains experience. “She won’t do much between now and her semi-final, just be kept ticking along at home.” With the final 800 metres run in 56.7 seconds, the two-year-old covered the mile in 1:55.1, with her time four-tenths of a second slower than Callmequeenbee in the following qualifier. Trained and driven by Mat Rue, the daughter of Shadow Play caused a minor upset when accounting for Prophesy and Art Treasure. Further north, well-bred youngster Fame Assured finished along the sprint lane to annex her APG heat for trainer-driver Grant Dixon. Rating 1:57.7 for the 1660-metre trip, the daughter Mach Three scored from Bronski Mackenzie and Darby Brights. by APG Media

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