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Pint-sized pacer One Off continues to defy the believers. The former New Zealand pacer was bought for a ‘song’ after failing to win a race his native country but has turned his fortunes right around since arriving in Queensland. Leading owner Greg Mitchell took a punt on the McArdle – Jay Bee’s Gem gelding and placed him with his trainer, leading horseman Grant Dixon. Mitchell enjoyed good success with another of McArdle progeny several seasons ago, Only The Brave (28 wins - $268k) Since being based in the Sunshine State, One Off has never tasted defeat after winning a trial and then three racetrack triumphs. One Off scored a stylish victory in his Queensland debut when successful at Redcliffe on September 6 before conquering the Marburg to Albion Park heat/final series. Starting as a clear favourite despite an awkward second-line draw, One Off ($2.10) sat at the rear of the field before unleashing a powerful sprint with 500m left to run. In the end, he scored by a widening margin of 13.9m while rating 1:58.8 for the 2138m event. “He’s been a real surprise package for the stable, even after his trial victory I didn’t have any lofty ambitions for him but he’s continued to improve and strengthen each time we’ve taken him to the races. Obviously the pace was on but he let down nicely when I called on him going down the back straight, he’s headed in the right direction and will win more races.” Dixon said. But future plans remain unclear and Dixon is now scanning the calendar and weighing up his options. However, nothing is set in concrete at this stage. “Hopefully, we can find and target a few more of these heat/final series and keep him progressing through his grades at a nice rate. Like I said, he’s got some nice upside to him. “I like his versatility, in his three starts he’s proven he can race and adapt quickly so that’s a good thing going forward. “We’ll reassess the race and keep looking at what comes up but there aren’t really any solid plans.” Meanwhile, the Dixon/Mitchell combination struck in the Remembering Speed Ace Open Pace when Alleluia made it four straight victories. Backing-up from Monday, the Art Major gelding landed perfect one out/one back cover and proved too good in the straight holding out Bodhi Tree and Ohoka Punter in a time of 1:54.0. The perennial performer has claimed the current title as the best open class performer in the state given his recent form surge. “He’s a great old performer and his win streak is very satisfying, we’ve changed his work routine around and it’s obviously working while the track is a little softer at present and that’s playing a role. “We’ll just keep ticking him along but we’re likely to nominate for the Inter Dominion series given his current form.” The 2018 Inter Dominion series starts on December 1 and will be staged in Victoria this year. Chris Barsby

Jack Butler has made another flyer to the new season. Fresh from another century season during the 2017/18 term, his third straight, the former Bathurst horseman has jumped out of the blocks quickly and currently leads the way in the Sunshine State. Boasting 11 victories from his 34 starters to date, Butler is hungry to reach triple figures again. Butler has tallied seasons of 110, 119 and 111; he is now firmly established in the top bracket of trainers in Queensland. And he has a number of good chances again this weekend. Butler will take a team of 7 pacers to Albion Park this Saturday night. “If I was to nominate my best chance I would have to say Mandy Kriden, the mare is absolutely flying at presently and looks well suited against her opposition this weekend. Her past three wins have been really impressive in different ways so I’m confident she’ll race well again.” Butler said. Based at Logan Village on the south side of Brisbane, Butler has severely cut numbers with the change in season and is now working a team of 25. At one point last season, the numbers swelled to over 40. A season highlight last season was evergreen performer Markey Oh Markey taking the $20,630 Flashing Red Handicap at Albion Park; the stable stalwart is a last start winner and lines up in the Remembering Speed Ace Open this weekend. Markey Oh Markey takes on the likes of Ohoka Punter, Bodhi Tree, Glenferrie Hood and Alleluia in the 1660m event. “He’s a great old performer and he’s back in good form again, this week looks a lot tougher but he’s drawn the rail and can fill a place. When he won the Flashing Red, it was a great feeling because he’s been part of the stable ever since we made the permanent move up here. “The century probably took a little longer and was a little harder compared to previous seasons but we got there in the end and it’s very satisfying. Tara (wife) and Chloe (daughter) play such an integral part of my success while having Brendan (Barnes – driver) back is great because I believe in his ability. “I’m looking forward to the season ahead, it will be a challenge again and hopefully we can generate some new clients and stock and keep building on what we achieved so far. Chloe is likely to make her driving debut at some point this season which will be exciting, here’s hoping for another century.” Butler enjoyed good success with pacers and trotters last season and has a number of new trotters in his care. Chris Barsby

Some great stories will be re-lived at Albion Park tomorrow night. The Albion Park Harness Racing Club will celebrate 50 years of night trotting at 'The Creek'.  The first meeting under lights took place on Saturday 7 September 1968, in front of packed grandstands with an estimated crowd of 15,000 and over 60 bookmakers fielding at the meeting. Curly Adios won the opening race on the program while the feature event was taken out by star performer Stormy Water at a very short quote. Many that have played a role during that time will be present while other family members will also be represented; it’s a night of celebration and a great chance to reminisce. Ian Gurney has many fond memories of Albion Park, largely owing to the deeds of mighty pacer Avonnova, a triple Queensland Horse of the Year. The Chambers Flat horseman returns to the famed Breakfast Creek oval with a team of four pacers competing across two races. Smooth Showgirl and Ideal Scott will contest the Welcome Advice Open Pace over 1660m while Our Hi Jinx and Sparkling Cullect start in the Stanley Rio Pace over 1660m. The quartet are resuming from lengthy breaks. “It’s good to be back, I’ve had an ordinary time of it lately owing to viruses and other niggling setbacks in my team but we’re back amongst it. I’m happy with all of them but obviously they will improve with whatever they do this weekend.” Gurney said. All four runners have had a number of trials in recent weeks to be readied for their respective assignments and Gurney is hoping for some luck. Talented reinsmen Adam Sanderson (Smooth Showgirl & Our Hi Jinx) and Paul Diebert (Ideal Scott & Sparkling Cullect) will handle the team. “Most have been off the scene for 15 weeks or longer so it’s tough coming straight back into this grade but there’s no other options for them. All their work and preparation has been pleasing and now it’s just a matter of getting back out there and getting the miles into their legs. “Smooth Showgirl won her most recent trial on Tuesday night when leading most of the way; she’s got class and landed a good draw so I’m hopeful she will measure up. Ideal Scott has drawn a touch wide with some in-form runners drawn to his inside so he might require some luck. “Both Our Hi Jinx and Sparkling Cullect should prove competitive, their trial form is pretty good and the small field will suit both of them. It looks like being a good night and I’m happy to be part of it.” Gurney listed the victory of Avonnova in the Gr.1 $100,000 Sunshine Sprint back in 2015 as his best memory at the track while Our Hi Jinx deserves special mention following his triumph in the 2015 Gr.1 $200,000 Queensland Pacing Championship.   Chris Barsby

On Saturday, September 8, the Albion Park Harness Racing Club will celebrate 50 years of night trotting at 'The Creek'.  The first meeting under lights took place on Saturday 7 September 1968, with packed grandstands with an estimated crowd of 15,000 and close to 80 bookmakers.  Some legends of the sport both past and present will be in attendance to share their memories of the night, and to cheer on the current generation on the 10-race metropolitan program. In the lead-up to the meeting, we caught up with some people who have played a leading role in Albion Park over the past 50 years. Racing Queensland will have many more in next month's edition of PACE Magazine.  Kevin Thomas – former leading harness trainer/driver Kevin Thomas was the leading Australian driver for three seasons running, his most prolific being the 1976/77 season when he steered 174 winners. He is now well-known for his highly successful spelling and pre-training facility Washpool Lodge near Aratula, which has hosted champions such as Black Caviar, Buffering and Black Heart Bart. My favourite moment was probably finishing third in the 1977 Inter Dominion with Sporting Sun. He was owned by Victorian interests and they sent him here to Queensland to race with me. He was always a good horse but he really thrived here in Queensland. He ran third in the final that night and I can remember the stands were packed. They were the days when there was 40 bookmakers under the trees at Albion. Silks Restaurant was always full, you couldn’t get in there unless you booked. It was unbelievable, the crowds, the bookies and the competition very fierce. We had some really good trainers ... They had big teams of horses and were really competitive. Kevin Seymour AM – Lifelong harness fan, former APHRC committeeman and owner/Breeder Mr Seymour has bred and raced some of the greatest horses seen on Queensland race tracks. On opening night back in 1968, Mr Seymour was working at the club. He remembers the night fondly. And, despite the countless feature wins he has shared in over the years, one Albion Park winner stands above the rest. There was 15,000 people there on opening night and the club employed 110 staff and 79 bookmakers. The crowd was that big we had tractors with carriages towed behind them to bring customers from the infield across to where the stand was. The chair of the club was Sir Clive Uhr, who was also the chair of the Brisbane Amateur Turf Club at the time, and it was the first time that a trotting meeting had been held under lights. The first race was won by Curly Adios and was trained by Sam Zammit. It was a very popular result. I think there was eight races on the night and the (standard) prize money was about $775 per-race. That was pretty good prize money for the day, in relative terms. One win that stands out for me over the years was a horse I owned called Crazy Chief – I bought him with a deposit for a lounge suite that I was to buy for my wife. I went down and put $200 on the nose and he won at 10-1. He paid for himself right there and then. That’s what hooked me on harness racing and I’ve been hooked ever since. Brett Rail – Racing Queensland Harness Manager (Operations) Brett Rail has a lifelong love of harness racing, which has extended into a career in administration at both Harness Racing Queensland based at Albion Park and now at Racing Queensland. Once upon a time, Mr Rail was a keen owner and punter. This is just one of his favourite memories of Albion Park over the many years. I have many fond memories of Albion Park over the years not only with horses I owned that were successful at Albion Park such as The Power Of Chris, Lethal Reign, Cams Crusader, Tilman and The Demolition Man but memories of great wins such as Village Kid’s Interdominion, Thorate’s track record breaking win and Riverlea Jack’s Winter Cup win against an outstanding field in a closing quarter of 27 flat which was unheard of at the time. Importantly I also met my wife Amanda at Albion Park. Perhaps my greatest memory is a win by a horse called Sammy Batman. I spent about $10 on a multiple double with bookmaker Andy Pippos who was keen to take my money with Sammy Batman in the last leg at 25/1. Horses in my earlier legs had won and, if I remember correctly, two of them were Peppermint Pattie and Toura. The late Darrell Alexander celebrating a win in-front of a packed house at Albion Park. Coming into the last race my brother Craig Rail, who at the time was practising race calling into a hand-held recorder from the grandstand, declared Sammy Batman as no chance. In the straight Sammy Batman stormed home to win by a nose with Craig declaring “he’s won” in astonishment as they crossed the line. To this day I consider this his greatest ever race call. Needless to say, Andy Pippos was not overly happy in paying out the substantial sum won on the multiple double. Sammy Batman never won another race. Ron Wanless – former trainer, driver and owner Ron Wanless made his name across a variety of sports, but had a real love for harness racing. Son of the great trainer/driver Merv Wanless, who prepared the great Queensland champion Lucky Creed, Ron and his brothers Keith and Leigh were steadfast figures at Albion Park. There was one night at Albion Park that holds special memories for me. I had won the first 18 races for two-year-olds in Queensland in the 1981 season and it was the Sapling Stakes for two-year-olds. My horses ran first, second, third and fifth, but I can’t remember the fifth horse off the top of my head. It was a proud moment and I believe the first time anyone had trained the winning trifecta in a feature race in Queensland. Ron Wanless' father, Merv Wanless, prepared the great Lucky Creed.  The success of Albion Park trotting wouldn’t have been possible without Russell Hinze (former racing minister). I remember walking into Silks Restaurant during the 1980s and you’d see Russell and his wife Fay sitting there with his two Rottweilers in the corner – he was the only person allowed to bring dogs in. I trained horses for Russell, he was a good bloke. One day, he rang me and said, “Son, I’ve done it. I’ve got Albion Park for the trots.” I couldn’t quite believe it. That was a very special moment because we’d been fighting for years to get it. He loved trotting more than racehorses or greyhounds, although he did own a couple of successful thoroughbreds (notably Our Waverley Star).  Former Queensland Racing Minister Russell Hinze (right), with then Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.  I loved trotting because it was a family sport. My dad was a champion trainer. He reared me and my three brothers and sisters on trotting horses. What I loved was that you could own, train and drive your own horse. Damian Raedler – CEO Albion Park Harness Racing Club Damian Raedler has enjoyed a close association with ‘The Creek’ for 35 years. Mr Raedler was the club’s longest-serving CEO (1983-2003) before spending time as the CEO of HRNSW and as the Racing Operations Manager for Harness Racing Queensland and Racing Queensland. I was the CEO responsible for the conduct of three successful Inter Dominion Carnivals at Albion Park in 1986 (Village Kid), 1993 (Jack Morris) and 2001 (Yulestar). I was also heavily involved in the conduct of the 2009 series (won by Mr Feelgood USA) hosted by the APHRC at the Gold Coast. I’d have to say hosting all three at Albion Park was a real honour for me to successfully run and represent the club at an executive level. In those days the series was heavily covered by all of the publications in Queensland. Village Kid winning every heat and the final was a special memory. There was the best part of 20,000 people there on the night of the final, with a temporary grandstand and infrastructure placed in the Member’s carpark. During this time there was no SKY Racing Channel so I negotiated with the ABC to cover it. They produced a half-an-hour special, which showed the last lap of the heats and then an hour-long special on the night of the final.  Jack Morris’ win in 1993 holds both fond and sad memories. Jack Morris’ trainer Sean Harney, who I was close friends with, was suffering cancer and died soon after. This meeting was also covered by the ABC at a cost of $40,000.   RQ Media

With 12 days of the current season remaining, a question needs to be asked. Can Grant Dixon crack the 300 mark? As it stands, no trainer in Australian harness racing history has ever prepared more than 300 winners in a single season but that record is under immense pressure. Ironically, the current training record belongs to W.F Dixon, Grant’s father Bill, who prepared 299 winners during the 2010/11 season. But both Emma Stewart and Grant himself are rapidly closing in on that magical and somewhat mythical figure of 300, the Victorian based Stewart has trained 286 winners while Dixon has a tally of 284. Extraordinary numbers indeed. During the current term, harness fans and historians have witnessed champion reinsman Chris Alford break the record for most wins in a single season with his tally currently at 434 and still climbing. The previous mark belonged to Daryl Douglas at 388. Fair to say, the 2017/18 season has been a season of record breaking achievements. For Dixon, this current season will be his best as he will eclipse the mark he set last term when he prepared 286 winners. Since taking over from his father Bill at the commencement of the 2011/12 season, Grant has trained in excess over 200 winners every year since with figures of 265, 226, 260, 282, 246 and 286. During that time frame, Dixon has been the leading state trainer plus the leading trainer in the country! In fact, the Dixon name has sat atop of the National Premiership since the 2007/08 season. And during that reign, over 200 winners have been churned out each and every season. In the next 12 days, Dixon has 9 meetings in his home state while he will also compete at the Breeders Crown meeting at TABCORP Park, Melton this Saturday night. But he isn’t represented at tomorrow’s meeting at Albion Park while he has three runners engaged at Redcliffe on Wednesday night. And more are expected later this week. So, can he do it? Only time will tell but it’s quite remarkable given Queensland races only five times a week while the odd extra meeting is added here and there but most times the Dixon is not represented at those additional meetings. Many other states race seven days a week while at times, they stage 2 meetings per day. Bottom line, the Dixon numbers are very impressive. On nine occasions, he has prepared 5 or more winners at a meeting. And he’s achieved that feat on three occasions this season, twice at Albion Park (11/11/17 & 12/5/18) and once at Redcliffe (4/4/18). His best effort was 6 winners at a Gold Coast meeting back on June 14, 2013. The watch is on and time is ticking. Chris Barsby

It was a great weekend for Darrel Graham. But overall, it’s been a great year for his stable. The Fernvale horseman landed winners at each of the three meeting staged in the South East; Albion Park on Friday afternoon followed by Kilcoy on Saturday afternoon before backing up at Albion Park later that night. His winners came via Regal Rock, Franco Totem and Springbank Eden. A mixture of pacers and a trotter. Graham is a great supporter of grass track racing and provided plenty of support for the Kilcoy meeting with eight runners for the three events staged. When Franco Totem scored, he led home a first four result for the stable with Ruffalo, Tact Ollie and Itz Pleasurable filling the placings behind him. And it was the same again in the following race, My Mastercraftsman is prepared by Graham’s foreman Adam Sanderson, the talented performer defeated the Graham trained trio of Rory Mach, Mafuta Vautin and Drive The Dream. A quasi result for the Fernvale stable. “We had some luck and got some good results at Kilcoy, it’s always a great day and it’s something different for both horse and driver. It works really well in New Zealand and it’s a different spectacle compared to the traditional way of racing.” Graham said. The victories across the weekend have added to what is the best season for the respected horseman, his tally now sits at 143. Only Grant Dixon has prepared more winners in his home state while he is fourth in the national premiership race with Emma Stewart, Dixon and Kerryann Turner having prepared more winners. While Graham has driven more than 2000 winners, his training results have been equally impressive. Prior to the current term, his hauls have netted him figures of 107, 89, 125, 122 and 131. His best season came during the 2012/13 season before easily eclipsing that mark this year. With time ticking on the current season, can he break into the 150’s? “We’re close now so we’ll give it a go, it would be a major effort to train over 150 winners and there are a lot of people that have played a significant role in that success. You can’t achieve figures like this on your own so I’d like to thank everyone for their help. “Obviously my wife Linda and two daughters Brittany and Stephanie plus Adam (Sanderson) and Jacob (Wallace) have been the backstop; it’s really a team effort with the help of Fev and Dougie. “And the owners have been great too, Dean (Shannon), Jodie (Scott) and Adam (Sofoulis) among many others. As we know, without owners we have no industry.” And he capped his weekend by heading to the EKKA (Royal Queensland Show) with his family watching the trotting action on display. Darrel Graham has trained 2505 winners throughout his career to date. Chris Barsby

Kiwis Clive and Rona McKay have raced a long list of top horses, but Muscle Factory is potentially the best yet. Rona went a step further after Muscle Factory’s mind-blowing $100,000 Group 1 Australian Gold Brisbane Graduate final at Albion Park last night. “I’ve been waiting 80 years for this moment, for this horse to come into my life,” she beamed after the presentation. “This is so exciting. Did you see how easily he won it and the time he went?” Muscle Factory paced a smoking 1min53.1sec mile rate for 1660m capped by mesmerizing closing splits of 27.4 and 26.8sec. His winning margin was a whopping 37.9m, reviving Queensland memories of 1999 when Courage Under Fire won the Gold Coast Derby by 48.75m. “He’s still raw and has so much to learn. I can’t wait to get him out for a spell now and being him back as a three-year-old,” co-trainer Shane Tritton said. “I know this is a strong crop, but after a break I’ll be surprised if there are many better three-year-olds next season than him.” The McKay’s snared a large slice of Muscle Factory’s ownership following a conversation Rona had with Tritton on Miracle Mile night. “I told Shane and Lauren to buy us a nice two-year-old if they found one, but Clive said we already had enough horses,” Rona smiled. Adam Hamilton

ENJOYING Queensland’s pleasant weather this week, power couple Lauren and Shane Tritton are hoping for a warm reception at Albion Park on Saturday. The duo are set to contest the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale Final with Muscle Factory, which is the short-priced favourite from his wide draw. Winner of his heat at the same venue last weekend, Muscle Factory will begin from the outside of the front row. Despite the two-year-old’s tough starting position, Shane is positive Muscle Factory can add the Group One to his impressive record. The son of Roll With Joe has won four of his eight starts, with three placings also to his credit. “He has pulled up super from his heat and everything is moving along nicely,” Tritton said. “He needed that run in the heat as he hadn’t one in a while. “His work has been great this week and he will be better again in the Final., “We couldn’t be happier with him going into this race…it is the best he has been all season as he’s started to work out what it’s all about.” Citing Victorian filly For All We Know as the one to beat, Tritton expects Miss Moneybags to improve from a favourable draw. Prepared by Brett Bunfield, For All We Know also won her heat, which followed a second in the Qbred Final at her previous start. Triumphant in the nation-wide APG Consolation last April, the daughter of Art Major has drawn gate two. Fourth behind Muscle Factory in her qualifier, Miss Moneybags will begin from the pole to local horseman Grant Dixon. The daughter of Mach Three is one of four runners Dixon has engaged in the $100,000 feature. Dixon will also be represented by Saint Kilda Beach, Sea Hawke and Bettor Because. “For All We Know is a nice filly, which has proven she is Group One class against girls, is the one to beat here,” Tritton said. “The saying tells us ‘a good colt will beat a good filly’ but For All We Know has to be given respect. “Miss Moneybags has been thereabouts all season and gets her chance from the pole.” APG Media

VICTORIAN filly For All We Know is in a solid position to register an overdue Group One triumph at Albion Park on Saturday night. Winner of her heat last weekend, For All We Know is engaged in the Australian Pacing Gold Brisbane Sale Final where she has drawn barrier two for trainer Brett Bunfield. Triumphant in the nation-wide APG Consolation last April, the daughter of Art Major went into the series fresh from her second in the Qbred Triad Final. “She has done a top job since making her debut and deserves to add a major to her name,” Bunfield said. “Drawing two is great, but there is a lot of speed outside her. “I will have a discussion with Luke (McCarthy, driver) later in the week and decide what’s the best way to go. “Brad’s (Chisholm) been up there looking after her and is very happy with her condition, so it’s full steam ahead.” Selecting Muscle Factory as the one to beat, Bunfield admits the task ahead is a daunting one, but isn’t prepared to concede defeat. Also successful in his qualifier, Muscle Factory is a short-priced favourite despite drawing the outside of the front row. “Muscle Factory will work his way forward I would imagine, which will make him very hard to beat,” Bunfield said. “He’s been the favourite all along, and deserves to be, but favourites do get beaten. “It’s fair to say whoever beats him will be the winner and hopefully it’ll be us.”   APG Media

Team Frisby is flying! Literally and figuratively. The father/son combination of Chris and Anthony Frisby have enjoyed their best season to date, the Bathurst based combination have enjoyed great results in their home state while their annual Queensland winter campaign has netted stunning results. And that was evident on Friday night with quality pacer Our Uncle Sam dominating his rivals to claim the final feature of the 2018 Queensland winter carnival, the Listed $25,450 Chris Garrard’s Patrons Purse at Redcliffe. Starting as a clear punters elect, the Sportswriter four-year-old raced without cover for the bulk of the 2280m feature after starting from a second-line draw before holding Anychance and My Mastercraftsman in a time of 2:00.3. It was his second feature triumph during his northern campaign after claiming the Listed $25,540 Lucky Creed Open at Albion Park on June 23. Our Uncle Sam has also established a new personal best time of 1:52.6 at Albion Park when scoring first-up on June 9. “It’s easily been our best season, our previous best was 32 which came last season and when we passed that mark, Dad said let’s get to 40 and now we’re over 50 so it’s very satisfying and rewarding.” Anthony Frisby said. The Frisby combination has raced nine individual horses during their Queensland stint and all have won race/s during their time in the warmer climate. Queensland Oaks runner-up Major Occasion was the latest winner when successful at Albion Park on Saturday night and it was only her second start in the state. Currently based on the border at Tweed Heads, there’s a small community of New South Wales trainers at the same venue and they prepare over 30 horses as they escape the winter chills. “It’s been great; we have Dean & Rikki Cernovskis, Scott Hewitt, Dennis Picker and Katie Jenner and we’ve all had some success which is great. We’re based at the Tweed Heads Pony Club and we got permission to build our own jog track and the horses have thrived during their time up here. “We’re more than pleased with the way our time has performed up here and most have been multiple winners. We planned for some time prior to the trip making sure we had the right horses and we’ve worked the handicapping system to our advantage. “I’d say we’ll be here for another week or two before heading home, hopefully things are starting to warm up a little back home.” Team Frisby have three runners engaged at tomorrow’s (Tuesday) Albion Park meeting. Chris Barsby

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

The 2018 Albion Park winter carnival came to dramatic finale last night (Saturday). With great fields of racing, solid prizemoney and cash bonuses up for grabs, rival connections were keen to get amongst the action. And it paved the way for a sensational night of harness racing. The Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship was the main event, the final leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season, a classy field of competitors were chasing the riches on offer. Champion trainer Tim Butt claimed the event with rising star Let It Ride who scored easily defeating Atomic Red and Alleluia in the 2680m feature. Aided by a gun drive by star reinsman Dexter Dunn, Let It Ride gained a perfect trail before unleashing a powerful finishing burst to score by a widening margin. The winning mile rate of 1:54.8 established a new track record, slicing .2 seconds of the previous mark of 1:55.0 held by Our Hi Jinx. In the Gr.1 $100,540 QBRED Triad 2yo Finals, First String ran down favourite Regulus in the colts and geldings feature rating 1:56.4. Prepared by Craig Cross, the Roll With Joe colt was handled perfectly by Luke McCarthy. Smart As Camm Be defeated southern raider For All We Know to claim the fillies feature in a thrilling home stretch battle. Trained and driven by Kylie Rasmussen, the Cammibest filly has firmly established herself as the best juvenile in the state with a pair of feature race victories. Victorian horseman Mattie Craven landed the Gr.2 $75,540 AQWA Constructions Queensland Derby when former New Zealand pacer Master Moonlite nailed local star Colt Thirty One right on the line while filly Fame Assured finished a creditable third in the blue riband classic. Raced by a large team of owners, Master Moonlite rated 1:57.3 for the 2680m event. In winning the event, Craven landed himself a $20,000 trainer’s cash bonus after scoring a victory in the Gr.2 Queensland Trotters Cup a week earlier. The Gr.3 $30,540 Ted and Edna Badcock Memorial 4yo Championship was taken out by race favourite Our Triple Play who led throughout defeating Conviction and Our Uncle Sam in a time of 1:54.5 for the 2138m. Prepared by Brad Hewitt, the Shadow Play gelding gave his astute young mentor his second victory in the event after scoring with Sweet Molly Oshea two years ago. Local trotter Spud proved too classy taking the Gr.3 $20,630 Haras De Trotteurs Marathon when running down Gee Up Neddy and Our Dreamlover. Spud rated 2:04.7 for the 3157m event. Trained by John Edmunds and handled by Nathan Dawson, the Tennotrump gelding recorded his 13th career victory. The APHRC would like to extend their heartiest congratulations to all of the winners during the three week carnival and thank all of the interstate trainers who made their way to the Sunshine State to be part of another successful carnival.   Racing Queensland    

The biggest night of the Albion park harness racing calendar is finally here and the competition looks as fierce as ever. Tomorrow night we will honour the famed pacer Blacks A Fake, who earnt over $4.5mil with 72 wins under his belt. Trained & driven by Natalie Rasmussen, he won the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 Inter Dominion Championships - making him the only four-time winner of Australasia's premier harness race. Other achievements include wins in the Queensland Winter Cup (3 times), Victoria Cup, Hunter Cup and three Australian Horse of the Year titles. The $200,000 grand circuit event, the "UBET Blacks A Fake" starts as race 8 on the program at 8.40pm. Race favourite, Atomic Red lines up against last week’s Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint winner, Tact Tate as well as the likes of Let It Ride, My Field Marshall, Cruz Bromac and Glenferrie Hood. Additional group races on the program include the G1 QBred Triad Finals for the two year olds, G2 AQWA Constructions Queensland Derby, G3 Ted & Edna Badcock Memorial 4YO Championship and G3 Haras Des Trotteurs Marathon. The program also highlights Australasia’s most talented drivers in the Garrard’s Horse & Hound Drivers Invitation Pace with New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn joining Queensland drivers Nathan Dawson, Grant Dixon, Pete McMullen, Gary Whitaker and Kelli Dawson alongside interstate competitors Luke McCarthy, Chris Geary, Amanda Turnbull, Anthony Butt, Matthew Craven and Rob Morris. For the meetings full form analysis and selections refer to Racing Queensland harness racing specialist Darren Clayton’s deliberations on the meeting: http://www.harness.org.au/punting/punters-corner/form-analysis/?keyNum=221470 The race meeting has a number of exquisite betting propositions courtesy of wagering service provider UBET. Headlining these offers is a $25K First 4 jackpot pool on race 1 scheduled for 5:08pm EST. This is complimented by a $5K First 4 jackpot pool on race 8, the UBET Blacks A Fake. Additionally, a $2.5K Quadrella jackpot is listed for races 2 to 5 with the first leg due at 5:42pm EST which is complimented by $2K jackpot Trifectas on races 3 to 6. The first race of an action packed 10 event card begins at 5.08pm EST. For further information contact the Club on 07 3262 2577 or info@aphrc.com.au Racing Queensland

The final leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit takes place this weekend. And the destination is Brisbane. The Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship will conclude the eight leg series and global superstar Lazarus will be crowned Grand Circuit champion following a shocking injury to Soho Tribeca last weekend. Heading into the final leg, Lazarus held a 99 point lead over Soho Tribeca but victory for the latter would’ve secured a thrilling victory but, unfortunately, a leg fracture sustained in the Sunshine Sprint has wiped out any chance of securing the title. So, with Lazarus guaranteed the title of Grand Circuit champion for the second straight year, the door has been left open for others to improve their position on the leaderboard or even perhaps, get on the leaderboard for the first time this season. The Sunshine State feature named after the greatest champion of all-time is staged over the 2680m and features some very richly talented pacers including last week’s feature race winner Tact Tate. The Amanda Turnbull trained and driven gelding scorched around the Breakfast Creek oval in a time of 1:53.0 taking the sprint feature and now looks to complete the Brisbane feature race double. In recent times, Hectorjayjay (2017) and Im Themightyquinn (2014) have completed the Queensland double and Tact Tate has a terrific chance of joining that exclusive club. Possessing blinding gate speed, Tact Tate will start from gate 6 and looks a great chance of finding the pegs early again. A major threat for Tact Tate could come from within with Atomic Red, prepared by Amanda’s father Steve; the ultra-talented four-year-old produced an eye-catching effort last week behind Tact Tate when fifth after starting from a nasty second-line draw. The rise in distance will suit Atomic Red and the ideal front-line draw (4) is another major plus. With the Turnbull name synonymous in harness racing, the father/daughter combination have filled a top two finish on many occasion but are yet to achieve the feat in a Grand Circuit event. Can they etch their names into the record books this weekend? Champion trainer Tim Butt is no stranger to Grand Circuit glory and is represented by a pair of outstanding chances with My Field Marshal and Let It Ride. My Field Marshal (1:46.9), the fastest pacer in Australasia, is looking to bounce back following a flop performance last week in the Sunshine Sprint when finishing at the rear of the field after racing three-wide throughout. A runner-up in this event last year, My Field Marshal will start from gate 11 with Anthony Butt taking the drive. Let It Ride, a proven Gr.1 winner, will start from gate 3 with Dexter Dunn booked to drive. A winner of his past five starts, Let It Ride makes his debut at the Grand Circuit level but looks ready following his victory at the track last week. Victorian trainer Dean Braun is chasing his maiden Grand Circuit victory with classy mare Carlas Pixel, the Gr.1 Ladyship Mile winner must overcome gate 13 – the outside of the second-line. The regally bred mare will again have the services of star reinsman Luke McCarthy. Cruz Bromac, a winner of the Gr.1 Len Smith Mile two starts ago makes his Albion Park debut and faces a second-line draw after landing gate 10. The Kevin Pizzuto trained gelding disappointed last start at Menangle when finishing 7th. Perennial Albion Park performer Ultimate Art returns to Brisbane and tackles the staying feature following some strong efforts of late at Menangle. Under the care of Queensland born but Sydney based Shane Sanderson while regular trainer Michael Formosa holidays in Malta, Ultimate Art will start from gate 9. Ultimate Art finished third in this race back in 2016 behind Ohoka Punter and Hectorjayjay. Young Cameron Hart takes the drive. Another Sydney trained runner is Celestial Arden for Kerryann Turner and Robbie Morris, the talented gelding has drawn poorly in gate 7 – the outside of the front-line. Celestial Arden was a runner-up last week behind Tact Tate in the Sunshine Sprint. Leading trainer Grant Dixon is duly represented by Alleluia (gate 1) and 2016 winner Ohoka Punter (gate 12). Both pacers are racing in excellent form. Proven Albion Park feature race winner Glenferrie Hood starts in his second Blacks A Fake (9th in 2016) and will start from gate 5. Pete McMullen takes the drive for trainer Wayne Graham. Bodhi Tree tackles his biggest challenge to date the injury prone pacer continues to defy the odds and boasts outstanding recent form. Prepared by Peter Greig and Patrice Madden, the Blissfull Hall gelding will start from gate 2. Giant former New Zealand gelding Hughie Green is listed as the emergency (gate 8). In total, the 13 runners have won 265 races while amassing more than $5.48 million in stakes. The UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is scheduled as race 8 and listed to start at 8.40pm local time.   Chris Barsby

Pint-sized pocket rocket Tact Tate is in the box seat. The dual Group One winner landed a knockout punch when he rattled along the Albion Park sprint lane last Saturday night to secure the Gr.2 $50,540 Garrards Sunshine Sprint defeating Celestial Arden and Ohoka Punter in 1:53.0. This weekend, he will take his place in the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship and look to complete the big Sunshine State double. And recent history is on his side. Twelve months ago, millionaire pacer Hectorjayjay landed both features while champion pacer Im Themightyquinn also did the double back in 2014. Im Themightyquinn set a track record of 1:50.4 when successful in the Sunshine Sprint, the record still stands. “The Albion Park Harness Racing Club has a proud and rich history; the names on the rolls of honor are a clear indication of the champion qualities required to succeed at this high level. The fact that Tact Tate has the chance to complete the double only adds to the excitement of the night.” APHRC Chairman David Fowler said. The feature this week will be staged over the staying distance of 2680m and Tact Tate boasts strong credentials at the distance range. Prepared by Amanda Turnbull, the McArdle gelding scored a great victory in the Gr.1 $100,000 Bohemia Crystal FFA at TABCORP Park, Menangle over the distance of 2400m while he also scored a victory in the Gr.2 $50,000 Treuer Memorial at Bankstown over the distance of 2540m last year. If successful, connections will pocket an extra $50,000 while a $15,000 bonus will be paid out if he is placed second or third courtesy of Racing Queensland and UBET. Following the barrier draw, Tact Tate will start from gate six and looks the likely early leader again after crossing from the outside gate last week. Gambling giant UBET has installed Tact Tate as a $4.80 chance. The Steve Turnbull trained Atomic Red is listed as the punters elect at $3.20.   Chris Barsby

Group 2 Sunshine Sprint winner Tact Tate has drawn barrier six for Saturday’s $200,000 Group 1 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park. The barriers were drawn at a function hosted by the Albion Park Harness Racing Club tonight in Brisbane, which can be viewed at the UBET, Racing Queensland or Puntersland Facebook pages. UBET installed Atomic Red as the $3.20 favourite after drawing barrier 4, with Tact Tate ($4.80) and Let It Ride ($7.50) holding down the second and third lines of betting. In what is the flagship race meeting of the 2018 UBET Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival, Albion Park will host three Group 1 races among six black-type events on Saturday night. The meeting also acts as a final chance for participants to share in $120,000 in UBET Grand Slam bonuses, with the connections of Tact Tate in line to earn $50,000 if the gelding can complete the Sunshine Sprint/Blacks A Fake double. Racing Queensland Harness Manager David Brick said the bonuses had helped attract some of Australia’s best horses and participants, leading to heightened interest from punters nationwide. “Punters have responded to the quality racing on offer, with Racing Queensland recording wagering growth of close to 20% for the carnival to date,” Mr Brick said. “With enhanced promotions via social and traditional media platforms in the lead-up to this weekend’s $500,000 race night, Racing Queensland will aim for that trend to continue.” Horse Barrier UBET Odds Alleluia 1 $26 Atomic Red 4 $3.20 Bodhi Tree 2 $101 Carlas Pixel 13 $8 Celestial Arden NZ 7 $34 Cruz Bromac NZ 10 $8 Glenferrie Hood NZ 5 $71 Hughie Green NZ (Emergency) 8 $51 Let It Ride NZ 3 $7.50 My Field Marshal NZ 11 $8 Ohoka Punter NZ 12 $12 Tact Tate NZ 6 $4.80 Ultimate Art 9 $12 2018 UBET Blacks A Fake Night – Albion Park – Saturday 21 July 2018   $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake (Group 1)   $100,000 QBRED Triad 2YO Fillies (Group 1)   $100,000 QBRED Triad 2YO Colts + Geldings (Group 1)   $75,000 Queensland Derby (Group 2)   $30,000 Four-year-old Championship (Group 2)   $20,000 Trotters Marathon (Group 3)   $20,000 Drivers Invitation Race   About the $120,000 UBET Grand Slam Bonuses   UBET’s generous sponsorship of the 2018 Queensland Winter Harness Racing Carnival has allowed Racing Queensland to offer up to $120,000 in bonuses, including:   $50,000 UBET Grand Slam Bonus  - Offered to the connections of any horses that can win both the Garrard’s Sunshine Sprint (July 14) and the UBET Blacks A Fake (July 21).   $15,000 UBET Slam Bonus – Available to the connections of any horse that can place in both the Blacks A Fake and Sunshine Sprint, or, win one and place in the other.   $20,000 Trainers’ Slam Bonus – Available to any trainer who wins two or more of the following feature races:   Queensland Derby UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Oaks Queensland Trotters Cup   Racing Queensland

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