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Spankem has run out of time to qualify for the Chariots of Fire and returns to New Zealand to prepare for the Taylor Mile and Messenger Championship. “Spankem has a foot abscess and treatment is not having a quick enough effect to allow him to race in the Chariots qualifier on Saturday night. So we have decided to cut his campaign short here and set him for those features in Auckland instead. The rest of the team has travelled from Sydney well. It is very hot here still. But the horses all seem to have settled in ok. The only concern at this stage is Thefixer who underwent a blood test yesterday. “I haven’t got the results back yet but we hope it is nothing serious. It is probably the effects of a hard race “ Mark felt that while Cruz Bromac and Thefixer seemed really ready for the Hunter Cup the run of the race held surprises. “They seemed to take a long time to get up on the pace, longer than we expecxted and Thefixer was out in the open a long time. I know they went a record but they are good enough to match up to getting on the pace easily enough so we will have to see,” Both horses will run in the Miracle Mile Qualifier on February 23, the Cordova and Allied Sprints over one mile so have time to recuperate. Mark expects CHASE AUCKLAND to strip a much fitter horse in the Paleface Adios this week. “It was an ideal leadup. Luke looked after him really well making sure he ran for the public money but avoiding giving him too tough a race so he should be good to go this week. He certainly seems well enough” ALL U NEED IS FAITH is not in quite such a top position having missed his first lead up race two weeks ago. “You have to be tight and hard running at this level the way they run the races here and he was just missing that edge last week. He will need to pick it up quickly as far as the Chariots is concerned because it is his last chance” "Natalie will be heading home Sunday to prepare the team for the Addington meeting while I stay with the Sydney team”   Courtesy of All Stars Website  

The following letter was sent to Harnesslink Sunday, February 3.  Dear Harnesslink Editor, Please be advised that a recent article advertised on the Harnesslink Website regarding Harness Racing in Ireland is grossly inaccurate, misleading and damaging to our sport both nationally and internationally. The Irish Harness Racing Association (IHRA) is the internationally recognised Governing Body of Harness Racing for the Island of Ireland and as such licenses all race tracks and personnel who compete under rules. The IHRA has worked hard over the last five years in particular to move our sport to a professional level which includes a report commissioned by our Department of Agriculture which was compiled by International Consultants Indecon and clearly identifies the strategic roadmap for this development. A five year Strategic Plan has been compiled by an independent Consultancy firm as part of the Indecon Report and this plan has been signed off by Department of Agriculture Officials and is currently with the Minister for Agriculture for evaluation and funding of our industry. To date the IHRA has no application to license any new race track in Northern Ireland and any racing activity that may take place at the suggested venue will happen outside of any official rules and governance. Any suggestion that our counterparts in Great Britain the British Harness Racing Club would license any tracks or individuals on the island of Ireland are without foundation. Yours in Sport, The Board of Directors IHRA  In response to his story that appeared on Harnesslink, click here, author Thomas Bennett offered the following reply.  My article is factually correct and accurate. Racetime Raceway is located in Great Britain/United Kingdom and the IHRA have no jurisdiction over Racetime Raceway, who will seek affiliation to the Governing Body in that jurisdiction - the British Harness Racing Club BHRC....Thomas Bennett More will be forthcoming on this situation in Ireland.   

February 6, 2019 - Today’s 6/1 Angle Of Attack (7g Scarlet Knight-Magyare Turgot) won the Q+ race of the day, the Prix de L’ille-et-Vilaine (purse 48,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 18 European starters), timed in 1.11.7kr for harness racing reinsman Gabriele Gelormini. The winner scored for the first time in two starts in France, for trainer Robert Bergh and owner Roland Wiksten. His career earnings are now 191,668€. The 4/5 favorite Bryssel (7m Ready Cash-Spacelane) was second with trainer Bjorn Goop up. Third was 7.4/1 Coalinga City (7g Coktail Jet-Mamaora) for Jean Michel Bazire for trainer Frederic Senet. The top five was completed by 9/1 Mellby Drake (g Viking Kronos) with Alexandre Abrivard up for trainer Bergh, and 18/1 Bayokos Atout (8g Goetmals Wood-New York Jet) for Mathieu Mottier. The 2€ Quinte+ exact order wager paid 945.60€ to 471 winning ticket holders. The total wager on the Q+ this day was 3.69€ million and over 8€ million was wagered on the Q+ race (all bets). Angle Of Attack Replay: https://www.letrot.com/fr/replay-courses/2019-02-06/7500/1 On today’s card was also the Prix de Bourg-en-Bresse (purse 52,000€, 2850 meters distance handicap, 13 starters) with that victory to the 4/5 favorite Darling Berry (6f Prince Gede-Osaka Berry) for the owner/trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire. It was the winner’s ninth life victory in 30 appearances, now for 207,290€ earned, and she overcame a 25 meter handicap. The 9/2 odds Digeudor (6f Mage de la Merite) took second with Franck Ouvrie the pilot for trainer Christophe Ecalard. 6.8/1 Diva du Granit (6f Prodigious) took third for teamster Anthony Barrier. Darling Berry Five year olds contested the 47,000€ purse Prix de Juvigny (2850 meters, 13 European starters) with longshots at the top of the results sheet. 65/1 Vacino Mec (5m Ghiaccio del Nord-Dance Speed) scored timed in 1.15.1kr in this his first appearance in France. Gennaro Casillo trains the invader from Italy and Antonio Di Nardo was aboard. Vacino Mec now has life earnings for 112,530€ after today’s 21,150€ first prize. 23/1Pelle Barosso (5m Explosive Matter-Madam Lavec) took second for Eric Raffin and third was 19/1 Elvis d’Evron (5g Defi d’Aunou) handled by Anthony Barrier. The 3/5 favorite Portland was a dq. Sunday’s Grand Prix de France field has been trimmed to 12 and it still includes the top international trotting stars. C4 - GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE 350 000€ Thomas H. Hicks

Anette Lorentzon shares a special connection with Ultimate Shopper, and it goes beyond winning races and money. The 6-year-old harness racing mare, who competes Friday in the Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley for trotters at Miami Valley Raceway, was one of two yearlings Lorentzon bought at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale after being diagnosed with cancer. Lorentzon, who has overcome bone cancer and last year posted career highs for training wins and purses, purchased Ultimate Shopper for $140,000. She was familiar with the horse's family, having conditioned Ultimate Shopper's dam, Adelaide Hall, who finished third behind Possess The Magic and Pampered Princess in the 2006 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters. Adelaide Hall was injured while preparing for her 3-year-old season and never raced again. Her third foal was Ultimate Shopper, a full sister to stakes-winner All Laid Out. Ultimate Shopper has won 15 of 73 career starts and earned $351,515 for Lorentzon, who owns the mare with her family's ACL Stuteri and Kjell Johansson. "She means quite a bit to me and my family," Lorentzon said. "When they found out I had cancer, life changed in a heartbeat. I picked (Ultimate Shopper) out when I was going through my treatments. We didn't know what was going to happen. You never know how it's going to go when you get cancer. It might be the last thing you do. Luckily it didn't turn out that way." Lorentzon had femur replacement surgery as a result of her cancer. In December, she underwent a second operation to correct an issue with the first. She will be on crutches for a while, but is otherwise good. "The cancer has not been back," Lorentzon said. "Coming back after (the surgery) is what drives me crazy. I have to take it easy. I'm at the barn and checking on everything, but it's kind of tough because you really want to be out there. But in this case you've got to do what you've got to do." Lorentzon has nearly 70 horses in her stable, with 13 in New Jersey and the remainder in Kentucky. Last year, the stable produced 154 wins and earned $2.24 million. So far this season, it has 13 victories and $155,680. "The year has started out well on the track," Lorentzon said. "We just have to hope to keep it that way." Ultimate Shopper, who has won two of three starts this year, will try to do her part. The mare slumped after winning the Open Handicap at Northfield Park last August, but has returned refreshed after a two-month respite. She won a conditioned class by 10-1/4 lengths on Jan. 8 at Miami Valley, finished third in her next start, and after a bridle change bounced back with another victory. "She dropped in class when she was out of form," Lorentzon said. "If she didn't drop in class I might not have tried her back; we might have just bred her. I said to the owners that I wanted to give her a break and then try her and play it by ear. We do the breeding, but it is a lot of fun to have the good horses racing. That's what you want. As long as she is racing good she will be racing." Ultimate Shopper, who was a Grand Circuit winner at age 2, will start from post four in the first of two $12,500 opening-round divisions of the Beissinger. She will be driven by Elliott Deaton and is 7-2 on the morning line. Deweyknowigotit, with Brett Miller driving for Derek Watiker, is the 5-2 favorite. The races in the first round of the Beissinger Memorial Medley will be contested at five-eighths of a mile. The second-round will be contested at one mile and the final at 1-1/4 miles. The same format will be used in the Bill Dailey Memorial Medley for pacers, which will have two $12,500 opening-round divisions on Saturday. "I don't know what to think," Lorentzon said about the multiple-distances format. "I don't know how good she will be over the five-eighths (distance); I don't know how quick she is over five-eighths. I'm hoping she can be OK. She can leave the gate and all that, so that's why I'm hoping she will be OK. I think she will be better for the second week when we are racing the more normal distance. "But this (format) is the right thing, to try something new. There is nothing wrong with that. Hopefully she is all good and tight and ready to go." For Friday's complete Miami Valley entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Harness racing trainers Margot Nyhan and Peter Davis are recovering in hospital after their horse float was involved in a serious high speed collision while they were transporting their racing team to the Amberley races yesterday morning. Nyhan and Davis were on their way to Rangiora with several horses on board when there were hit by a car at the intersection of Newtons Road and Dawson Road in the Christchurch suburb of Templeton. The pair have both sustained broken ribs in the accident, while their 3 win pacer Game Changer had to be euthanised at the scene. Other horses travelling on the float have also received injuries in the incident.   More updates to follow.   Harnesslink Media

Tiffany Murray, a young, brave mother who lost a short battle with illness in October, 2011, was a fighter to the end. A harness racing event named in Tiffany’s memory will be hotly contested by six determined female drivers when it’s again staged during the Echuca Cup meeting this Friday night. “This is a race that is very close to my heart and I would give anything to win it,” Stacey Towers, of Shepparton, said. “Tiffany was a lovely person and became a real friend,” she said. “She was down to earth and full of life.” The Tiffany Murray Memorial race was first staged in 2012, and Towers said it was a race that carried significance for all of the invited contestants. Towers will be joined in the feature by Bec Bartley, Ellen Tormey, Monique Burnett, Donna Castles and Tania Ward – all of whom were great friends of Tiffany, a concession driver before being tragically struck down by cancer. “I’ve had absolutely no joy in this race over the past few years. I even drew my own horse on one occasion, and thought I had some chance, but he dropped out and went terrible,” Towers said. “While I’m desperate to do well, I know all the other girls are just as keen and want to win. So there’s going to be plenty of fireworks.” Tiffany Murray’s battle with cancer captured the support of not only the harness racing industry, but anyone who learnt of her battle. She was initially flown to Melbourne after collapsing with a migraine and doctors discovered a blood clot and tumor on her brain. It was her third time encounter with life-threatening illness – first as a one-year-old when she was diagnosed with a rare cancer, only to have it removed and to return seven years later. When Tiffany was just 17, her mother died from cancer. But despite the diagnosis and with her fiancé Leigh Sutton, and daughter Milla, by her side, Tiffany refused to remain anything else but positive, because “there’s no point in being negative”. In her final weeks of life, she said “she had to be determined, otherwise there is no point – I think if you’re not going to have a crack, then why bother?”. The attitude and determination of a remarkable young lady inspired those who knew her, others who had followed her career – but just as many who didn’t know her at all. Sutton, who is now based at Menangle, will also be centre stage at the Echuca meeting, driving Tamworth trained pacer Gottashopearly in the $35,000 Cup. The pair combined to finish a close-up sixth in the recent Goulburn Cup. Prior to that, Gottashopearly gave trainer Richard Williams victory in his hometown cup worth $12,000. Sutton will also take the reins for Williams in the c3 to c5 event with Midnight Montana. In the co race, Sutton will drive Cozza Grin for young trainer Jake Mitchell. While Tiffany Murray will be remembered fondly by all at the meeting, emotions are sure to be running high. “I think there’s going to be a big number of family members of both Leigh and Tiffany attending – we’ve heard it’s going to be one big family catch-up,” Stacey Towers said. “There’s always a bit of sadness, but it will be fun and plenty of laughs; just the way Tiffany would have wanted!” Terry Gange

East Rutherford, NJ - As the purse subsidy bill (Senate Bill 2992) awaits the signature of Governor Murphy, The Meadowlands is finalizing live racing and stakes purse details for this season. Although it is clear in the language of the bill that the subsidy money is to be used for overnight races, a number of breeders who have previously helped to fund Meadowlands Grand Circuit races over the past few seasons vis sponsorships have declined to continue their contributions for 2019, creating a shortfall in the stakes account. As a result of this shortfall the Governor's Cup 2 year-old colt pace and Three Diamonds 2 year-old filly pace will have to be cancelled for 2019 without the sponsor contributions. "The breeders had another record breaking year at the sales and seem to think that the pressure is now off at The Meadowlands with the purse subsidy, but it's far from off," said Meadowlands CEO Jeff Gural. "I am adding a minimum of $1 million from sports betting to the $6 million subsidy for overnight purses. The language is clear that the subsidy is not for use in our Grand Circuit stakes, so nothing has changed so far as funding those. If we get sufficient sponsors for these races we can reinstate them, if not they will be cancelled for 2019." It's important to realize that while the bill passed contains language to continue the $20 million in total to the horse racing industry for five years with $6 million directed to Meadowlands purses, it also requires the track to demonstrate that the funds are in fact improving the racing industry in New Jersey. The parameters set out by legislators include impact on handle, the number of horses in races, the success of the New Jersey bred horse in their home state and increased attendance and revenue at the tracks.  The overnight purses will be increased immediately after the bill is signed. Another increase will come in late March or early April, when the competition for horses increases. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

Experienced Victorian harness racing trainer Ron Francis has a sneaky feeling that three-year-old filly Hecs Elect (Auckland Reactor-Shes Elegant (Safely Kept) could just be the horse he’s long been looking for. Hecs Elect became Auckland Reactor's 73rd individual winner, with his oldest crop just four-year-olds. Francis, based at Woodstock, near Yan Yean, has been a hobby trainer pottering around with a small team for more than 40 years. During that time, he has had his fair amount of success with such pacers as Tibur Power (who finished with a wonderful record of 17 wins for $110,000); the injury-plagued Pacesetter (a winner of 12 races, eight of these at the old Victorian Moonee Valley headquarters); Ringtripleowe had 13 wins and 60 placings for $94,000 and Somedreamsomewhere (12 wins, 23 placings for nearly $75,000). “We do think Hecs Elect has the potential to perhaps be our best horse,” Francis said. “She is very strong and can peel off some excitingly quick quarters.” And Hecs Elect gave an exhilarating display of her capabilities on Monday night at Tabcorp Park Melton, with a last-to-first win in the Melton Toyota 3yo pace. After being eased out from her front barrier alley by master reinsman Gavin Lang, the filly sat at the rear before being asked for an effort going down the back straight for the final time. The Auckland Reactor-sired youngster dashed around three wide to be outside the leader and race favorite Allspark on the final turn. Given a bit of rein, Hecs Elect sprinted nicely to score from Final Chapter by 10.5m, with Allspark ($1.70 fav) a further 3.2m back in third spot in a handy 1.56-3 mile rate. To watch the video replay of this race click on this link. While pleased by the win, Francis has been patient in waiting for his horse to show her true ability. “She is the quickest pacer I’ve had over the years.  I decided a while ago in a fast work hit-out to let her quicken up each quarter and the times she was doing were just crazy,” he said. “We’ve had a few glitches along the way as she kept growing and couldn’t handle her speed and then she started tossing her head all over the place. “I’m lucky I’ve got some experienced people in Gavin Lang and Greg Sugars who have driven her, to give me the best feedback and advice.” Francis said the first five times Hecs Elect faced the starter, she was racing in the top-class group. “At her latest effort she was probably in a lower division of her class, but I have to agree with Gavin who said afterwards that there are just no easy races now,” he said. Hecs Elect was purchased for only $7000 at the APG sales.  Her owners previously enjoyed racing her half-sister Somedreamsomewhere (now in foal to Yankee Rockstar), and from all indications, they are in for some more fun. Also, on the breeding side, Hecs Elect has a half-brother in Tightrope who posted 22 wins and 50 placings from 196 starts for $196,000. “We haven’t any big plans in mind at the moment and she will probably go around next week at Cranbourne. Hopefully she brings her best game along again.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The adrenaline kicked in, the hand kept going up and Tom Hogan walked away the much-coveted sale topper, whose talented family inspired the late bidding frenzy. The hammer dropped at $130,000 on lot 229 at Sunday’s Australian Pacing Gold Melbourne sale, when 250 lots were offered and sales averaged $32,713, up 16 per cent on the 2018 staging. It was a full-brother to brilliant Victorian filly Petacular who prompted the bidding war, the Durham Park bred Somebeachsomewhere colt catching the eye of Hogan and Clayton Tonkin, partner of trainer Emma Stewart. “Breeding was the main thing,” Hogan said. “Clayton and I had look at him, walked him up many times with his farrier and vet, and then went back and had another look at him. They couldn’t fault him. “His breeding, he has great conformation, he’s a yearling but you could have passed him off as a two-year-old. He was the clear pick of the sale. Clayton had no hesitation in recommending him.” His full-sister, Petacular, sadly had to be euthanised in November 2017 after breaking a cannon bone while spelling, prematurely ending a career that yielded 19 wins and $454,083 in stakes for trainer-driver Michael Stanley. “Petacular and Miss Graceland had some battles but she was number one,” Hogan said. “If she didn’t break down she would still be number one. It’s unfortunate she is gone early, she was going to be a household name. “We went overboard (at the sale), but that can happen when you are waiting two and a half hours. The adrenalin gets you going. I’m hoping for a big two-year-old season, because the family and friends are not going to be happy with me if I’m wrong.” His partner, Sue Murray, will hold 20 per cent of the horse while her brothers-in-law and their three sons will also grab a slice, the first time the latter trio have ventured into trots ownership. Hogan said former Bulldogs footballer Mark Hunter, Maori Time’s owner Fred Crews, Darryl Edwards, Russell Condie and John Wilkins would also be among those sharing in the colt’s career. “I’ve been going for the last 10 or 12 years and buying horses at the APG for family and friends and fitting them in and they all get a kick out of it,” Hogan said. “I’m really happy. All of the owners are excited, in footy terms they’ve walked away with a number one draft pick.” For a more modest $35,000 Hogan also snapped up a Bettors Delight colt by The Waratah, having the previous year brought his half-brother, who was sired by Art Major. “His brother will trial in three weeks and he goes all right,” Hogan said. “He’s the pick of the two two-year-olds we bought last year.” Durham Park also delivered the sales topping filly courtesy of an Art Major yearling out of dam Hawiian Hottie, a full-sister to gun two-year-old Kualoa ($176,760), who fetched $120,000. They stole the headlines but there were many dreams pursued on Sunday as owners chased the next big thing only a day after watching Tiger Tara claim the Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup. A Somebeachsomewhere colt out of Dreams Of Heaven drew $95,000, with his new owners hoping a similar career to full-brother Menin Gate, winner of $574,758. David Moran and Laura Crossland’s in-form stable was prolific purchasing four, including a $70,000 Captaintreacherous colt out of Always Target, a half-sister to Milly Perez, and a $50,000 Rock N Roll Heaven colt out of Timely Loch. The latter is a half-sister to Just Irish Lock, the dam of Rock N Roll Heaven filly Shez All Rock ($426,350), who had a breathtaking three-year-old season. 2016-17 Victorian VHRSC owner of the year Danny Zavitsanos swelled his stable with two purchases, including snapping up a Durham Park filly for $40,000. She is by American Ideal out of Camluck dam Magic Z Tam, a half-brother to Tam Major ($125,500). He also topped the bidding at $50,000 for a two-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere, who was the second foal out of Repelem, a half-sister to three-year-old Revolt. Fellow owner Kevin Riseley has enjoyed plenty of good horses and was drawn to Alabar’s Bettors Delight filly, who he purchased for $30,000. She is the second foal out of lightly raced Maid For You Lombo, a Sportswriter mare who’s dam was none other than Tailamade Lombo, winner of $1.3 million The Go Racing Syndicate, which has the likes of Cant Refuse, Hectorjayjay and King Of Swing among its number, put the hand up for a Rock N Roll Heaven filly whose dam, Manellira, is out of Amarillen. The latter’s foals include Nostra Beach ($236,080), Miss Graceland ($224,458), Villagem ($626,585) and Pixel Perfect. While Pixel Perfect was unraced, all five of her foals produced six-figure stakes including Soho Tribecca ($1,103,374) and Carlas Pixel ($475,128). Justin Baker was again prolific at the sales, with his purchases including $80,000 for a Somebeachsomewhere filly out of Perfect Life. Part of Peter Gleeson and Bruce and Craig Cameron’s lines, the filly was a half-sister to two-time Southern Cross Series winner That’s Perfect. The dam, Perfect Life, is a half to Beauty Secret ($425,921) and Major Secret ($464,872). Barker also paid $75,000 for an American Ideal colt out of Smouldering Desire, with the dam a half-sister to Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup winner Smolda. Also prominent were New South Wales based trainers, with Tim Butt, Rickie Alchin, John McCarthy, Blake Fitzpatrick and James Rattray each snapping up lots sired by Captaintreacherous among their purchases. Rhiannon Park mare Slip Slop Slap produced reigning Victorian Horse of the Year Jilliby Kung Fu ($526,710) in 2012 and so her Captaintreacherous colt attracted $70,000. A key juvenile rival of Jilliby Kung Fu was Our Little General whose half-sister, Someone To Love, had A Rockndoll Dance colt sell for $44,000. Florida-based Victorian trots owner Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks purchased lots 130 ($41,000) and 135 ($78,000), the latter a Captaintreacherous colt out of The Baggy Green, a winner of $108,700 in race stakes, whose dam was multiple Breeders Crown winner Lady Waratah. The Kiwis were also prevalent. Mark Purdon snapped up a Bettors Delight colt, out of Arivee, for $45,000 and an Art Major filly, out of Almihata, for $25,000. And Cran Dalgety spent $60,000 on a Bettors Delight colt, out of Breeze On Bronski, and $70,000 on a Bettors Delight filly out of Glenferrie Diva, who is a half-sister to Foreclosure ($807,746).   Michael Howard for Trots Media

Logan Village horseman, Peter Greig, doesn’t expect his purple patch of form to continue at Redcliffe Paceway this week, but thought his Mr Feelgood mare, Mahalo, had the ability to surprise. Greig, who trained last season's Queensland Aged Pacer-of-the-Year, Bodhi Tree, was the state's fifth best trainer in 2017-2018. That’s when he racked up 65 winners and 146 place-getters ($332,855) from 437 starters, and in a career spanning almost 50 years, Greig has conditioned 910 winners and netted just over $4 million in stakes. But the 65-year-old has warned punters not to get too carried away when assessing his three prospects at Redcliffe on Wednesday and Thursday. “All three work well, but their form-line has been down recently and they haven’t produced the same on race-day. At their best they could figure in the photo finish. I know they are capable of turning their form-line around,” Greig said. He has just Mahalo lining up in the hands of Trent Moffat from barrier eight in the first event on Wednesday afternoon.  “Her work has picked up and if there was one was to surprise it could be her," he said. On Thursday he will start Gotta Go Ralphie and Mo Jarney in races three and six. They will be driven by Trent Moffat and Nathan Dawson respectively. "They've both drawn four and could get a nice run. They also have what it takes to be competitive," Greig said. The multiple Group-winning reinsman still drives a bit, but these days prefers to put more of his energy into training. "It's a little bit less stressful and this job is done over more time. I had a good season last year because I had more city (Albion Park) type horses," he said. "Patrice and I have always been involved in harness racing from way back. I first got involved 50 years ago when I was 15. I’ve had my driver’s licence for 48 years. “I’ll still have the occasional drive, but I also like to give others a turn now." Greig said he wished this interview had taken place when some of his better horses like Bodhi Tree, I’m Norma Jean, Corey William, and Parisian Rockstar were up and running. “They would be my best four. I haven't got a large team, but I try and keep quality. That’s why I did so well last season – and am going all right again this year. The job is more enjoyable when your team does well,” Greig said. Bodhi Tree, a nine-year-old Blissfull Hall gelding has now won 23 races and $155,817, including two of his last four starts at Albion Park. I’m Norma Jean has won 14 races and $151,183, including the Listed $25,000 Golden Guitar Final at Tamworth on January 24. Corey William, the winner of 15 races ($79,385), including his last two at Albion Park; and Parisian Rockstar, who has nailed 19 wins and $113,509. He's won his last three starts since January 18 at Albion Park. “We (Patrice) love harness racing industry. We enjoy racing at Redcliffe and Albion Park and the really like people involved. Like I said earlier we have both been in the game for what seems ‘forever’,” Greig said.   by Duane Ranger for Racing Queensland

I have been involved with harness racing since the late 1980’s, and  I have to admit it’s a love/hate relationship. My love of horses came early as a child. I would do anything to ride a horse. My neighbor friend was lucky enough to have a horse, but she detested cleaning the stalls, which was a requirement her parents had for her.  I, of course, volunteered with the condition that I could ride Patches whenever I wanted. It was a while before her parents found out and stopped my job. They allowed me to continue riding but eventually Ruthie got tired of cleaning the stalls and her parents found a new home for Patches. Even though I was bitten by a horse, which required 150 stitches, fell off my fair share of them, and had a few visits to hospitals, my love of horses never weaned. Most of my adult life I showed/rode Arabian horses.  I also love the competition of racing, but find myself questioning some people’s motives in the business. A few years ago, my ex-husband Richard Young and I purchased a horse at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Her name was Elequent Diva. She was a beautiful animal and an extremely sweet horse to be around.  She was purchased with the full intent to race her one day.  I fell in love with her the day she arrived at our farm in Pennsylvania after we found out that racing was not to be in her future. Diva didn’t know how very sick she was, which looking back brings some comfort.  She was born with a rare congenital heart defect, one that would preclude her from racing or breeding. When we learned from the specialist’s at New Bolton that her life was considered guarded, we contacted the breeders/sellers, David and Brian Legge in Canada. We also contacted Standardbred Horse Sales Company. We told them that we would not be paying for the horse as she would never be able to race.   SHSC agreed that we should not pay for the horse. We never received an invoice. The breeders however, along with their consignment company, Preferred Equine, thought we should pay because we signed a contract that said the horse was being sold “as is”. I won’t get into the specifics of the contract as it is very complicated. Suffice to say they (SHSC) should one day reword their contract to include the “Diva Clause” which would protect all buyers of horses that have a congenital defect which effects their racing/breeding capabilities. We did offer to pay the Legges a very generous sum of money as to avoid possible litigation. That proved fruitless. The Legge’s did sue us first in Canada first but the judge said it was the wrong jurisdiction. They then got SHSC to assigns their rights, (SHSC didn’t want to be sued by them, but that is another story) which made it possible for the Legges’s to file a complaint against us in the US. This all could have been avoided if the Legges’s and David Reed would have just listened to reason and taken our generous offer. Realistically we didn’t have to offer them anything and could have shipped the horse either back to Harrisburg or to the Legges farm in Canada. In this conundrum we decided to keep Diva and try and make her life as comfortable as possible. Everything is not always about money. Sometimes we all need to just do the right thing. In this case what was important was a very sick beautiful horse deserving as good a life here on earth as we could provide. Looking back on the case it was so easy for everyone if they only had the best interest of Diva in mind. I have sold many show horses in my life and each time I would tell the buyer to take the horse home, ride him/her, get to know him/her and if you decide they will make a great horse for you then send me the check. If not, please bring them home to me.   The reason I do this is because it is the best thing to do for the horse and I also want the purchasers to be happy.  I am very thorough about the purchaser also. They need to pass the Joanne test.  I want to be sure my horse is going to the best possible home. If only more people cared about the animal and less about the dollars the horse industry would not have some of the problems they have today. I understand Diva was purchased at auction which is very different than a private purchase. That is why there should be protection for the buyers, sellers and most importantly for the horse. The trial lasted 4 days and after deliberating for less than 20 minutes the jury wanted to know how much they could award us. Needless to say, the Legges were less than thrilled with this question. The jury came back 10 minutes later and found we were not in breach of contract, meaning the “as is” clause in their contract did not mean that a horse with a congenital defect had to be paid for. We won, or did we. Certainly we felt vindicated, but no one really won. Much money, time, and stress won. Oh, and the attorney’s won too. But we did win one thing and that is we had Diva for a short time. As Diva exited Chris Ryder’s horse trailer that sunny June day in 2014, she quickly had a look around and decided this was going to be okay for a new home. We put her in the pasture with my elderly Arabian mare, Makkessa. That turned out to not be a great idea as Makkessa was almost completely blind and Diva was young and full of herself. Diva wanted to play, Makkessa wanted to barely move. We then decided to put her out with “the boys” which are a half Arabian gelding and a Dutch warmblood. Chase and Shane quickly fell in love with Diva and they all spent many great days running, eating and just being horses.  I actually had her at our farm for about a year and then my friend Katie took care of Diva. Katie didn’t own Diva but she treated her as if she did. Diva lived in Northern Florida with Katie because we thought it was better to not ship her up and down the east coast; as I lived in Pennsylvania during the summer and back in Florida in the winter. We thought it best to keep her in a mild climate. Diva lived with Katie for almost 2 years. Katie quickly got use to Diva’s voice when she wanted a treat or attention. She had to be fed first, after all she was the Diva! Katie rode Diva a bit, walking her down winding trails behind her home in the warm Florida sunshine until it proved too much for her ailing heart. Diva munched grass in lush pastures with her horse friends. People that came to the barn always heard Diva’s call for treats which they were kind enough to oblige her.  As time went on Diva’s heart was showing the signs we all feared. I remember one day Katie calling and we talked about what to do. The vet had her comfortable on medication. I told Katie to put her out with her friends in the pasture if she wanted to be with them. So on June 3, 2017  Katie put Diva out for the evening in the pasture she had frolicked in, where she ate the warm strands of Florida grasses, and enjoyed being with her buddies for the last time. In the morning Katie found Diva laying under the oak tree. She had passed away during the evening to the  sound of crickets. There was no sign of distress or movement, she just as the good girl she always was,  just laid down and went to sleep. I can’t help but cry as I write these words. Diva was a very special horse and I would not change a thing about the way she came into our lives. She taught us that all living creatures are valuable to the soul. She reminded us of what we should all strive to be, better people. Diva showed us that there is more to a life than the numbers in a bank account.   by Joanne Roy-Young   

Goshen, NY -- Jack Parker, Jr.'s open trotting mare NF Happenstance 4,1:52:2f ($661,321) has been retired from harness racing for the second time and has been sent to Olive Branch Farm in North Carolina. The Breeders Crown elimination winner begins her second stint at motherhood after returning to the races in 2018 from the broodmare ranks to become the 4th richest older trotting mare in North America. During her second stint on the racetrack, the daughter of SJ's Caviar competed against the best mares in her division and earned over $361,000 in the last season...and she was in very good company. Only three trotting mares earned more that NF Happenstance in 2018: Dan Patch champion Ariana G, Breeders Crown champion Emoticon Hanover and 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover. Jack Parker, Jr., the 63-year-old veteran horseman bought her for the second time, in foal to Sebastian K at the 2016 Harrisburg sale. "I thought she would make a nice horse. As it turned out, she was much better than that." "My buddy Chip [Moore] owned her the first time around. We raced her with some success. She made some money and broke some track records. But then she started to make breaks so we sold her to Hall of Famer Bill Weaver. When he passed away, the mare was sold in-foal as part of his dispersal. We were excited to get her back," noted the Meadowlands hey-day regular. "As soon as Chris Coyle weaned that filly we put her back in training," Parker continued. "The mare never missed a beat once she got going again." A model of consistency, she was first or second in 24 of 36 starts with 13 wins. In fact, she only missed a check in a single start, or as her trainer would say, "She has exceeded all of our expectations." Her 2017 Sebastian K filly named Pure Happenstance is now stabled at Pinehurst and is enrolled in Gordon Corey's Institute of Equine Erudition. The Maine-native known for his talent for breaking babies and his no-nonsense demeanor stated that she was a, "typical filly with some rusty edges in the beginning but making good progress in smoothing those out." "Enthusiastic and ambitious, she makes good progress in her trotting attributes. She is pleasant to work with and intelligent on the track, despite her early filly traits." Perhaps Pure Happenstance will be sharp enough to participate in the annual Spring Matinee at Pinehurst Harness Track on Saturday, April 6, 2019. Meanwhile, her dam, NF Happenstance has a date for the 2019 breeding season with Diamond Creek Farm's Father Patrick. by Chris Tully for Olive Branch Farm

The popular veteran of Victoria’s northern region harness racing region, Wrinkle Knutt, has again given his younger rivals a pacing lesson with another win on his home track. Courtesy of a gem of a drive by leading reinswoman Kerryn Manning, the 13-year-old scored by two metres at Mildura – a result that blew most punters out of the water! Wrinkle Knutt (Safely Kept-Styx Mistress (In The Pocket USA) won at 50/1 in the Tenderprint Australia Pace last Friday, his 17th victory in a racing career now spanning more than a decade. Trainer Jason McGinty said the veteran, with a total of 323 starts (17 wins and 66 placings for $120,000) beside his name, just loves going to the races. “We actually decided to retire him a while ago and he went around in the double-seated sulky exhibition events at Mildura for a win and a third,” McGinty said. “I hadn’t changed his daily routine – he was still getting fed, trained and shod the same as when he was racing,” he said. “I was still preparing him as a race-horse, and one day just out of the blue I decided to nominate him for a Mildura meeting. I got into trouble with my wife Natasha, because she’d thought his time was up when we made the decision, and he’d only been retired a few weeks! “But he hasn’t any issues at all and thoroughly enjoys competing and Natasha’s happy to have him back at the races. “He’s such a lovely old fella and I really like him probably because he’s no fuss – each day he just does whatever I ask of him in his training and then he happily goes back in his paddock.” Wrinkle Knutt is owned by Natasha and sons Josh, Sam and Wil. The McGinty family has raced Wrinkle Knutt in all but 15 starts of his career starts. “Ballarat trainer Rob McCartney had him early on and after running five placings from 15 starts, he decided to sell him. I think we paid $3000 or $4000 for him so he’s certainly paid his way,” McGinty said. The Victorian “drop back rule”, which allows horses to go back a class if they don’t win in 10 starts, has undoubtedly enabled Wrinkle Knutt’s extended racing career. “He put two or three wins together a few years ago and was down to a C5 so that would have nearly ended him, but the drop back rule has been the greatest thing for longevity of horses,” McGinty said. “We have had a few milestones set for his retirement, like $100,000 in stakes and 300 race starts – but we’ve passed both of those, so we’ll keep plodding along while he’s fit and healthy.” Over the years, of the many drivers engaged to drive Wrinkle Knutt, the most successful has been Ellen Tormey, of Bendigo, with six wins; followed by McGinty with four; Bec Bartley and Jake Kerridge two apiece, and Josh Puckeridge, Andrew Vozlic and now Kerryn Manning with one win each. “As for a long-term investment, he’s been a damn good one...we just wish a few more like him would come along!” McGinty said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

DEFENDING champion Majordan has opened as the favourite for Friday night’s Group 1 AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile.  The Kevin Pizzuto-trained pacer is the $1.80 elect with TAB Fixed Odds over stablemate Picard at $2.20. Both pacers have drawn beside each other with Majordan in three and Picard in four. Driver Chris Geary is pleased with Majordan’s starting position. “It’s really good, he comes out of barrier two with the removal of the first emergency so hopefully he can push forward and be handy,” said Geary. “It looks a pretty suitable race for him.” Majordan set the track record at Newcastle when winning last year’s Newcastle Mile clocking 1:51.4. This edition of the Newcastle Mile received a major prizemoney boost and will carry a purse of $100,000 making it the only Group 1 race in the Hunter Region in all three racing codes. The winner will also receive an automatic invitation to the $1million Miracle Mile on March 2. AVE Technologies Newcastle Mile – GROUP 1 (1609m) 1   Little Rascal 2   Yayas Hot Spot (EM1) 3   Majordan 4   Picard 5   Loorrim Creek 6   Maximan 7   Rakarolla 8   Lombo Kotakinabalu (EM2) 9   Mattgregor 10            Ultimate Art     AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (02) 9722 6600 •  arando@hrnsw.com.au •  @Amanda_Rando

It might be grist for the mill over a few frothies – but comparing the greats of different eras, particularly harness racing, is a notoriously difficult business. Tiger Tara’s incredible improvement this season is nothing short of extraordinary, and a credit to the attention and professionalism of Kevin Pizzutto and his team.  That the sport’s paid promoters are making much of Tiger Tara’s utter dominance, particularly with a Miracle Mile still ahead, is both understandable and serviceable.  Tiger Tara is, without question, the supreme pacer of the current time – by a very long margin. His shredding of Saturday night’s Hunter Cup field spoke for itself.  But to extrapolate the performance and compare it favourably to the deeds of Tiger Tara’s greatest rival Lazarus, as some did, is perhaps best left in the heady moments of post-race. Whenever the two met on the big stage, history shows the ledger fell clearly in favor of the now-retired Lazarus.  Whether Tiger Tara’s improvement has been to the extent that the tables would now be turned is a tantalising racing conundrum that can never be answered. Federer v Sampras; Woods v Nicklaus; Michael Jordan v LeBron James. The debates are endless. In the equine world, the academics have extended the analysis of the Winx v Black Caviar rivalry to heart-beat, lung capacity and length of stride! But there are some salient points to consider around the relative quality of Saturday night’s Hunter Cup field that provide some context for comparing these two greats of harness racing.  Lazarus winning the New Zealand Cup Lazarus was among 9 Group 1 winning performers prior to the 2018 Hunter Cup – who’d won a combined $13,264,003.  They had won 40 Group 1 races between them. Saturday night’s field had 6 Group One winners for a combined total of $5,512,551 in earnings. They had won 14 Group 1 races between them.  Both Lazarus and Tiger Tara have met on 10 occasions, with Lazarus beating home Tiger Tara in 7 of those races. Let us look at both the 2018 and 2019 Hunter Cup fields that Lazarus and Tiger Tara started in and you be the judge. Please note - These statistics are taken prior to the time each race was run. Lazarus winning the Hunter Cup Hunter Cup field 2018 - Lazarus 1st - Lazarus - $3,663,438 - 45 starts, 35 wins, 5 seconds and 1 third. (Group 1 wins - 14 ) 2nd - Soho Tribeca - $957,674 - 51 starts, 19 wins, 16 seconds and 5 thirds. (Group 1 wins - 3) 3rd - Heaven Rocks - $419,818 - 25 starts, 12 wins, 3 seconds and 2 thirds. (Group 1 wins - 4) 4th - Lennytheshark - $2,937,585 - 77 starts, 39 wins, 18 seconds and 12 thirds. (Group 1 wins - 7) 5th - Ameretto - $465,919 - 69 starts - 25 wins, 15 seconds and 3 thirds.  6th - Tiger Tara - $1,265,410 - 81 starts, 26 wins, 18 seconds and 12 thirds. (Group 1 wins - 3) All in New Zealand 7th - San Carlo - $214,048 - 29 starts, 21 wins and 4 thirds  8th - Moonrock - $181,222 - 36 starts, 12 wins, 5 seconds and 5 thirds. 9th - Bling It On - $1,647,956 - 83 starts, 45 wins, 12 seconds and 8 thirds. (Group 1 wins - 5) 10th - Yayas Hot Spot - $443,492 - 81 starts, 23 wins, 18 seconds and 10 thirds.  11th - Messini - $682,961 - 88 starts, 25 wins, 14 seconds and 12 thirds. (Group 1 wins - 2) 12th - Shadow Sax - $382,480 - 26 starts, 17 wins, 4 seconds and 3 thirds. (Group 1 wins - 2) Total earnings on the day before the 2018 Hunter Cup was $13,264,003 Here is the 2018 Hunter Cup Tiger Tara after winning the Interdominion Final Hunter Cup field 2019 - Tiger Tara 1st - Tiger Tara - $1,985,315 - 101 starts, 34 wins, 24 seconds and 13 thirds. (Group 1 wins - 6) 2nd - Our Uncle Sam - $250,126 - 56 starts, 15 wins, 9 seconds and 5 thirds.  3rd - San Carlo - $355,998 - 43 starts, 25 wins, 3 seconds and 5 thirds. 4th - Flaming Flutter - $746,635 - 102 starts, 23 wins, 19 seconds and 19 thirds. (Group 1 wins - 2) 5th - Buster Brady - $235,635 - 44 starts, 12 wins, 4 seconds and 3 thirds. 6th - Wrappers Delight - $375,234 - 48 starts, 17 wins, 6 seconds and 8 thirds. (Group 1 win - 1) 7th - Thefixer - $608,165 - 18 starts, 11 wins, 1 second and 1 third. (Group 1 wins - 2)  8th - Cruz Bromac - $392,043 - 39 starts, 20 wins, 4 seconds and 3 thirds. (Group 1 wins - 2) 9th - Star Galleria - $345,465 - 32 starts, 13 wins, 7 seconds and 2 thirds.  10th - Raukapuka Ruler - $217,935 - 25 starts, 8 wins and 3 seconds. (Group 1 win - 1) Total earnings on the day before the 2019 Hunter Cup totals $5,512,551 Tiger Tara winning the Hunter Cup Here is the 2019 Hunter Cup Tiger Tara - Gross Time: 3.14.2                    Lazarus - Gross Time 3:15.7                     Mile Rate: 1:53.2                                        Mile Rate: 1:54.1                     First Quarter (last mile) 28.9                      First Quarter (last mile) 29.4                                     Second Quarter 28.9                                  Second Quarter 28.6                     Third Quarter 27.2                                      Third Quarter 27                     Fourth Quarter 28                                       Fourth Quarter 28 History may tell the tale – but more likely it’s an argument that will still be doing the rounds in a decade. For harness racing’s sake, let’s hope so! Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

“SHE’S got a bit of ability” could be an understatement from trainer Greg Rogers. Registering her eighth victory from 12 starts when triumphant at Globe Derby yesterday, Kitsilano boasts an average winning margin of 30-and-a-half metres. With two seconds also to her credit, Kitsilano has been a cut above her local rivals. As such, Rogers is planning another interstate trip with the daughter of Armbro Variable – one he hopes will be blessed with better fortune than last season. During her previous Victorian campaign Kitsilano finished a handy fourth in a Vicbred heat before an unplaced effort in the Final. “She seems to handle them here alright,” Rogers said. “The next step is to take on the fillies in Victoria and see how we can go. “There is a fillies’ race in Melton in a fortnight we will head to. We might come home with our tail between legs, but you don’t know if you don’t go. “Last time she didn’t travel well, had just gotten over a cold, and everything went wrong. “For the Final we had trouble with the float, so she was on the road longer than expected and I think she’d had enough for the day by the time she raced.” Driven by Rogers’ son, Ken, during her latest win, Kitsilano was eased away from the pole to settle midfield as Lilirene led from barrier two. Angled three-wide during the middle stages, the filly dashed to the lead on her way to an effortless 13-and-a-half metre win from Naked Majesty, with Stuey D four-and-a-half metres away third in 2:03.4 over 1800 metres. “He did it very easily,” Rogers said. “Ken never moved on her or pull the plugs. “She works as good as the pacers at home, but she’s just got to take it to the races. That said, her point-to-point speed is incredible. “Ken said as soon as she was broken in she would be one out of the box and she’s just gone on from there. “At the moment it’s just about keeping her balanced in her races as she gains experience.” Harness Racing SA

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