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Saturday's Australian Pacing Gold (APG) Brisbane Graduates Final for the first time has been granted harness racing Group 1 status featuring stakes of $100,000. The APG initiative, supported by Racing Queensland, was introduced to incentivise purchases at the Brisbane Sale.  The decision has been a winner providing buyers with an achievable target in their own state in addition to the main APG finals for $350,000 and breeders with increased sales prices.  In 2014, prior to the introduction of the race, the sales average was $11,147, in 2017 this grew by 68% to just under $19,000. To-date the Fillies have had the wood on the colts with Georgia Grace victorious in 2015, and Jossie James in 2016. The early market from UBET suggests this trend could well continue, with the James Rattray-trained Arts Treasure the $1.90 favourite.  Form analysist Darren Clayton concurs with the market placing Arts Treasure on top following her recent win in the QBRED Fillies final with the Mark Dux trained Pinup Boy his second elect. FULL PREVIEW OF THE ALBION PARK MEETING HERE The field for this year’s final including purchase price is outlined below;   Horse Sire Dam Purchase Price ($) Pinup Boy  Sportswriter Victree Bette $30,000 Gone Bust Grinfromeartoear The Third Category $13,000 Ark Patrol Grinfromeartoear Ark De Jeanne $28,000 (Reserve - Passed in) Arts Treasure Roll With Joe Art Start $21,000 Sister Feelgood Mr Feelgood Likeness $13,000 Mickee Cullen Christian Cullen English Elegance $60,000 Zindel Mr Feelgood Girl Of The Moment $15,000 Miss Costalot Lanercost Manhattan Montana $24,500 Kathleen Grace Mr Feelgood Magic In Motion $15,000 Digby Diva Shadow Play Evelyn Dee $8,000 (Reserve - Passed In) Naughtynheaven Rock N Roll Heaven My King Of Girl $22,000   The APG Brisbane Graduate Final is race 6 (8.10pm) of a strong 10-race card which commences at 5.43pm. Racing Queensland Fields for Albion Park, Saturday 12 August 2017 Form guide for Albion Park, Saturday 12 August 2017 Race programme for Albion Park, Saturday 12 August 2017

Let's hope it's the promised sunny day. What better warm conditions for a trip to the Marburg trots. Catch today's harness racing action close up on the 700 metre show ground circuit. It's country trotting at its best, with the "pick the card" jackpot standing at $1150 and lucky gate prize of $100 free bet with Marburg's bookie to cater for those who like a punt. For the fun lovers who still like a flutter, there is a multi prize raffle, The "Funny Money" bookie and associated auction after the last. Admission is adults $5, pensioners and students $3 and race books $3. Under the radar success Publicity and recognition in harness racing are strange things. Some avoid it, some court it and others, no matter what they do, never seem to get it. Sometimes onlookers wonder why this third category exists and ponder the reasons for such a situation. Meanwhile, a number of highly competent trainers soldier on. Their week in, week out efforts hardly raise a ripple. Steven Cini, born in 1966 and learning his trade from his late father, the charismatic Lou Cini, was first licenced in the 1984/85 season. If numbers were all that told the story, his start was impressive, having only three runners in his first two years, all of which were successful. Time has rolled on since. His team has slowly and steadily increased in numbers. No acknowledged stars but a succession fit pacers carried the black jacket, white sleeves and red maltese cross to regular cheques. The lifetime stats some 32 years on are impressive. Starters 11,498, winners 1337, seconds 1371, thirds 1329 with the bank balance at $2,830,273 and the all important "return per starter" sitting at $246.15. The graph is upward and steep these days with the season drawing to a close, showing figures of 377 runners and income of $336,916. Every time a Steve Cini horse goes round, from a statistical perspective, $893.67 jumps in. "All the world loves a winner". It's true enough but I stopped reading a high profile Trots publication years ago on the grounds that anyone reading it as their source of information could be excused for assuming that, Australia wide, there were probably no more than 20 people training and driving light harness horses. At that time, this country boasted something in the order of 8,000 licencees. Who the vast majority were, and what they achieved, we were never told. Steve Cini falls in that category. He kicks goals every week, but the selectors don't want to know. Redwood celebration FANS of the traditional, diagonal gaited trotter might want to find a Sky Channel screen from 11.30am tomorrow. It is the annual celebration of the trotter, "Redwood Day" at Maryborough in Victoria. There will even be a special events train, carrying 200 fans to the track. This additional crowd boost will further ensure the success of the 32nd staging of the carnival, which started in 1985. It features the Group 1 Seelite Windows & Doors $50,000 Redwood Classic for 2yo's at 2.44pm on Sunday, followed by the $75,000 Group 1 Seelite Windows & Doors Victoria Trotters Derby at 3.54pm. Neither feature carries a fortune in prize money by today's standards, but the prestige conveyed by a win in either event is "a pearl without price." Calvert-based Ray Cross will have last start Ballarat winner Honey Please engaged in Race 2. We wish him the best. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Box trifecta 1-4-8: Withalotofluck (C. Cini)- Philanderer (M. Neilson)- Village Witch (N. McMullen). R2: E/w 2: Strawberry Courage (G. Dwyer). R3: Quinella 2-6: Mafuta Vautin (A. Sanderson) and Polished Rocks (M. Neilson). R4: E/w 3: Pompidou (G. Dixon). R5: Box trifecta 2-3-6: Royal Jacquard (N. Dawson)- Ichon Blue (D. Cernovskis)- Drive The Dream (A. Sanderson). R6: E/w 3: Major Kiwi (T. Moffat). R7: E/w 1: Drifting Away (S. Graham). R8: Box trifecta 2-3-4: Majestic Major (G. Dixon)- Ohoka Colorado (S. Graham)-Major Cam (M. Neilson). R9: Box trifecta in four 1-2-6-8: I'm Not Eyre (J. Rattray)- Four Shares More Beers (G. Dixon)- Justabitnoisy (D. Lee)-Monorail (R. Jenkins). Marburg picks: R1 - 2-5-3. R2: 4-5-7. R3: 1-3-7. R4: 1-3-5. R5: 5-1-8. R6: 3-2-1. Honour board CONSISTENCY is the key word on the board this week with the lower Brisbane Valley to the fore. Darrell Graham (Fernvale) notched six winners for the week, including a Saturday night treble. A stone's throw away at Glamorganvale, Nathan Dawson rang up five winning drives to edge out his cousin Narissa McMullen on four. All three stars posted trebles. Most pleasing was Adam Richardson steering Franco Totem to an easy win on Wednesday night at Redcliffe. Albion Park, July 28: Illdoitwhenimready (Chantal Turpin); None Bettor (Nathan Dawson for Donny Smith); Tuesdays Fella (Nathan Dawson for Trevor Lambourn); Vande Velde (Nathan Dawson for Jason Mackrill); Wattlebank Flyer (Hayden Barnes for Chantal Turpin). Albion Park, July 29: Montana Falcon (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Culley Backy (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Broadway Playboy (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham). Albion Park, August 1: Northern Muscle (Denis Smith); Fakerocknroll (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Corey ODonohue (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Magnussen (Lachie Manzelmann for Darrell Graham); Oceans Predator (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins). Redcliffe, August 2: Gidup Spanish Red (Nathan Dawson for Donny Smith); Ima Top Tycoon (Nathan Dawson for Ryan Veivers); My Ultimate Falcon (Lachie Manzelmann for Darrell Graham); Franco Totem (Adam Richardson for Darrell Graham). Redcliffe, August 3: Turbo Tufftalk (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Diamantina Devil (Narissa McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Coast Warning (Narissa McMullen); The Endeavour (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen); Ruato Bay (Chris Petroff for Ron Sallis). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith   Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

The battle lines are being drawn up between the Albion Park Harness Racing Club and racing control body Racing Queensland. Like most wars, it is a dispute over territory - that territory being the Albion Park harness and dog racing complex. Like all such disputes, there will be artillery in the form of barristers and solicitors, the ammunition will be words both, verbal and written, and there will be several referees. The time frame at this point is anybody's guess. The ultimate cost, like all wars, will be staggering. The end bearers of that cost will be the harness racing participants in general and the hobbyists in particular. The greyhounds will also experience negatives from a financial aspect. Albion Park has fired the first shot with a full page advertisement in last Saturday's Courier Mail and the Brisbane City Council has made that shot more effective by rejecting RQ's current development application which does not include a racing facility. From the Sunday Mail (July 16): "In rejecting the application on Friday 14/07, BCC planning Chairman, Julian Simmonds said: 'The entire Queensland racing fraternity needs to speak as one voice on the future of Albion Park.'' The only way that racing participants will come up with a majority decision will be if the practice of full disclosure applies. At this point, "Joe Average” harness participant does not know who owns Albion Park, much less the benefits which might accrue from this current power struggle. We wait for the Minister and the Premier to supply this information. ............................................... Whip rules proposal ON a different but apparently equally taboo subject of whips, another gathering was held last week in NSW under the auspices of HRNSW. The following is taken from an interview with John Dumesny, CEO of that body. He believes that the road forward is tightening the way the whip is used, rather than an overall ban. "We have to be aware of the public and community standards about the whip and its use,” Dumesny said. "The whip itself is not cruel, it is the way it is used that can be seen to be cruel. "The drivers see it as a safety and integrity issue for the sport, and it is important to wagering and punters' confidence. We need to modify the rules to move with community expectations, but at the same time maintain safety and integrity concerns.'' A whip convention last week, with drivers, trainers and administrators from every state attending, worked towards a set of rules acceptable to all. Dumesny said consistency was the most important factor in whip rules, so they could be applied across every meeting in Australia. "We have told HRA that the whip will be continued . . . in NSW, but we don't want to get to the stage where there are different rules in different states,'' he said. "What we are looking towards is what is called a wrist-only method of using the whip. We held the convention last week, where there was a consensus that we need to work on the whip rules. It was a very good discussion from everyone involved from around the country. In the afternoon session the drivers got in a gig and showed their whip action as it is now, and how they would see it under changes to the rules. "We feel we have the support of the other states and continue to work with them, and there will be another meeting this week to get the right outcomes. "The main thing we want to work towards is something that is easily understandable and enforced by stewards.” The sad part is that for all the positive vibes coming from this move by NSW, none of the more vociferous supporters of cruelty free racing in the Sunshine State would have been aware of this particular convention, much less be invited to contribute to the discussion. Well managed THE late Tony Price was often the source of accurate comment. At a Botra meeting some years back, the "Big Fella” stated that Queensland was the easiest state for a horse to win $100,000. A quick check of stats for Darrell Graham's cash cow, Montana Falcon, indicate that lifetime earnings from 163 starts, stand at $209,995. The super impressive factor is that Montanta Falcon is still assessed at M0. That's well managed. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Quinella 4-12: Only The Brave (T. Dixon) and Montana Falcon (D. Graham). R2: Box trifecta 2-5-10: Any chance (D. Weeks)-Timmo Time (A.Sanderson)-Bettor Be Lucky (M. Neilson). R3: Box trifecta 1-8-10: Munroe (NA)-Written In Red (P. Diebert)-Lancelot Bromac (N. Dawson). R4: E/w 2: Philanderer (M. Neilson). R5: Quinella 1-3: Bettor Promise (M. Neilson) and Always Prompt (T. Dixon). R6: Quinella 4-6: Jerrys Jet (R. Thurlow) and Verdot (D. Cernovskis). R7: Box trifecta 1-4-7-9: Shardons Sheralee (J. Rattray)-Counterfeit Cash (G.Dixon)-Wicked Time (S. Graham)-Spare The Price (A. Frisby). R8: Box trifecta 3-1-6: Comply Or Die (N. Dawson)-Lombo Ranmiles (G. Whitaker)-Threo (C. Turpin). R9: Box trifecta 4-5-6: Majestic Major (G Dixon)-Majestic Mach (I Ross)-Alleluia (T Dixon). Honour board Tess Neaves, Chantal Turpin, and Trevor Lambourn led the way with two winners apiece. Nathan Dawson and Gary Whitaker shared driving honours posting thee winners each. Most pleasing was Tess Neaves' double at Albion Park on Thursday. Albion Park, July 14: Threo (Chantal Turpin); Heavens Hint (Nathan Dawson for Stewie Dickson); Lighting Colony (Gary Whitaker for Donny Smith); Nolonga Your Choice (Trevor Lambourn); Ashton K (Gary Whitaker for Trevor Lambourn); Village Cruiser (Adam Richardson for Dave Russell). Albion Park, July 18: Tygar (Adam Sanderson for Joe Taafe); Destreos (Kelli Dawson for Kenny Rattray); I'm The Golden Child (Dean Cernovskis for Megan Cockburn); Montana Falcon (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham). Redcliffe, July 19: Weedons Express (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Cheers Kathy (Brittany Graham for Darrell Graham); Slippery Jade (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Mach Torque (Chantal Turpin). Albion Park, July 20: Princess Jessica (Nathan Dawson for Doug Lee); Hammerhoff (Nathan Dawson for Narissa McMullen); Riverleigh Jeff (Steve Doherty for Tess Neaves); Call Me Yours (Steve Doherty for Tess Neaves); Gallymont Sport (Trent Dawson); Surface To Air (Greg Elkins). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

Racing Queensland has announced prizemoney increases of $3.2 million for next financial year across the three codes of racing. RQ chief executive Eliot Forbes said the injection was a result of better-than-forecast returns from wagering. He said that while the control body will still post a financial loss this year, the board was mindful of “enhancing participants’ returns.” It is the first increase in prizemoney for Queensland racing since the Tracking to Sustainability reforms made cuts across the board last year. The thoroughbred code has been allocated $2.28 million of the boost, with a ninth race, valued at $30,000, set to be added to all Saturday metropolitan programs and provincial prizemoney at the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Ipswich boosted to $16,000 (excluding maidens). Harness racing will receive an additional $505,000, with an allocation boosting Redcliffe’s Wednesday and Thursday programs to have five races at $4450 and three at $3450. Greyhound racing will receive $415,000 in extra money, with increases of $40-$80 to all short course non-metropolitan class TAB meetings. “Improved wagering turnover and changes to the Race Information Fee (RIF) framework have enhanced revenue and a continued focus on costs will lead to a much-improved financial result for 2016/17,” Forbes said. “RQ has a strategic goal over the next three years to boost prize money in a sustainable manner and to continue to invest in significant infrastructure projects across all three codes, while working with clubs to improve attendance and commercial returns.” By Nathan Exelby Reprinted with permission of The Courier-Mail  

Boom pacer San Carlo is on trial for the Queensland harness racing winter carnival. The outstanding Victorian gelding, fresh from his success last weekend at Bendigo, is being considered for the final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit season – the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake on July 15. It’s the biggest event staged in Queensland, the 2680m mobile start feature takes place at Albion Park. And co-trainers Steve O’Donoghue and Rebecca Bartley are very interested in dipping their toe in the water with their rising star. A winner of 14 races from 16 starts, the Mach Three six-year-old gelding made a massive statement when he demoralised his rivals last Saturday night at Lords Paceway after sitting wide throughout before racing clear over the concluding stages. San Carlo scored easily by 5m while rating 1:55.4 for the 2150m. “That was a big step forward into making Brisbane a reality, he performed in such a great manner and Steve thinks the Blacks A Fake is a good target for him but he’s got to prove himself once more before any decision is made.” Bartley said. And that next assignment comes up next Thursday (June 22). San Carlo will start in the Leo Crameri at Maryborough, a race that has historically produced plenty of high quality performers. The event will be staged over 2190m. “That’s his next target and it’s likely he will meet plenty of classy rivals but it will also tell us if Brisbane is one or off. A victory will go a long way in making the northern trip a reality, Brisbane will be tough but it looks a good opportunity for him. “I don’t think he shocked us in anyway last week because we’ve known for some time how good he really is but to do it in the manner in which he did was the best part. He was really strong. “And that’s his best asset; he’s a very strong horse.” O’Donoghue, the boss of Morley Park (of Classic Garry fame), believes San Carlo is the best horse he has worked with and rates him higher than Barclay Court (23 wins – $99k) and Triple Vance (20 wins - $182k). San Carlo is raced by John Eichhorn. Chris Barsby

IT was great news for the Ipswich Turf Club securing a $13 million grant to enable vital reconstruction to the racing surface and provide upgrades to the infrastructure. Completion of the proposed projects should put the ITC on the highway to self sufficiency for the foreseeable future. The Gold Coast Turf Club is also said to be in the pipeline for major funding, with a view to a similar happy conclusion. Meanwhile, in the world of harness, a battle rages between rival interests as to the future of Albion Park. On one side, we have self made property and share tycoon Mr Kevin Seymour considered a "demi-god" by some harness participants, and something rather different by others, taking up the cudgels on the part of Albion Park Harness Racing Club. He is treasurer. In the other corner is Racing Queensland, currently holding a healthy $63 million of infrastructure funding to be applied to the immediate needs of harness and greyhounds. Both contestants, we are told, are seeking the same end result as the two gallops clubs mentioned above. Unfortunately, the battle can not be decided in one encounter as it is somewhat complex in nature. At this point in time, we must not consider the greyhounds. They have considerable and genuine claims to a large slab of the $63 million as they are the only racing code in profit and expanding steadily. Their presence in the Albion Park debate would only muddy the waters. It seems there will be some form of development on the site. Seymour proposes that the development consist of a world class racing facility supported by a housing development and a "Racino" (gaming machines, bars and a return of Silks restaurant, which vanished when WATPAC demolished the main grandstand at the venue seven years ago). Racing Queensland favours a commercial, residential and retail development aimed at maximising non-racing revenue. The first matter to be decided however is who owns Albion Park. Seymour claims that "harness racing has the moral high ground because it owned the venue until the merger of the three codes in 2010". It is time that the Minister and the Premier became involved in this. They should call for all the documents relating to transfers of the title of Albion Park over the past 30 years, and make a determination of ownership based solely on that documentation. A time frame of one week should be sufficient for that process. Starting from any other point guarantees failure of the enterprise and a waste of valuable dollars. Marburg place to be TODAY'S Marburg trot meeting offers a great afternoon's racing to escape the hustle bustle of daily life. The action starts about 11am with trials, where racegoers can grab a burger and coffee or a beer and kick back to enjoy harness racing on the up-close and visual 700 metre Marburg Showground circuit. Racing begins at noon with seven races to be run. A lucky gate prize of a $100 bet is on offer on the local trots, with multiple prize raffles and a Fast Work Horse Supplies "pick the card'' competition with $1050 for someone clever enough, or lucky enough to pick the card. Entry is $5, with pensioners and students in for $3. The magic race book for $3 contains the pick the card entry. Everyone is welcome. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: E/w 1: Our Millwood Maizie (M. Neilson). R2: Quinella 1-2: A Good Chance (C. Petroff) and My Master Craftsman) A. Sanderson). R3: Quinella 1-3: Deano Robyn (G. Dixon) and Gallymont Sport (T. Dawson). R4: Quinella 1- 2: Remember Ruby (G. Dixon) and War Dan Appollo (T. Moffat). R5: E/w 2: Border Cross (S. Graham). R6: E/w 3: Rory Mach (D. Graham). R7: E/w 4: Waste Of Time (D. McMullen). R8: Quinella 4-12: Fire One (G. Dixon) and The Charging Moa (S. Graham). R9: E/w 3: Cheers Kathy (D. Graham). R10: Box trifecta in four 1-4-8-10: Dr Hook (T. Gillespie)-Four Shares More Beers (G. Dixon)-Melpark Royal Son (J. Cremin)-Our Dainty Lady (D. Graham). Marburg selections for today: Race 1 - 2-8-1. Race 2: 7-2-3. Race 3: 1-3-4. Race 4: 1-2-3. Race 5: 1-6-3. Race 6: 1-2-3. Race 7: 3-4-5. Honour board Narissa McMullen scored on four occasions in the sulky this week. Chantal Turpin led in a trio of winners for the barn at Patrick Estate. Redcliffe, June 2: The Shady One (Trevor Lambourn); Hokonui Ben (Chris Petroff for Trevor Lambourn); Sicilian Slumber Narissa McMullen for Chantal Turpin). Albion Park, June 3: Lancelot Bromac (Danielle McMullen for Stewie Dickson); Timmo Time (Adam Sanderson for Shawn Grimsey); Our Leonardo (Kelli Dawson for Ray Law); Supaliner (Darrell Graham); Village Switch (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Our Dainty Lady (Darrell Graham). Albion Park, June 6: El Swavo (Clint Sneddon for Frank Bennett); Well Disguised (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Bull Market (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin). Redcliffe, June 7: Stayintowntonight (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Havetogetawaymore (Al Barnes); Precious M (Lachie Manzelmann for Ron Sallis). Redcliffe, June 8: Riene Des Gitans (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Flashing Good Time (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen); Phantom Rockstar (Gary Whitaker for Kevin Joiner). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times.

Harness racing benefactor and property tycoon Kevin Seymour has unveiled plans to develop Brisbane’s Albion Park racetrack into a “world-class facility”. The proposed development would not require any monetary input from Racing Queensland. Albion Park Harness Racing Club would bear the costs of the work which would include high-end housing development, a new stand, a first-class gaming facility, community hub and football field in the centre of the track. The move is the latest in the battle between RQ and the harness industry over the prized property, with both parties at odds over who is the legal owner of the land. Mr Seymour is convinced the club is the rightful owner of the venue and the deal is contingent on RQ agreeing to this. He believes harness racing has the moral high ground because it owned the venue until the merger of the three codes in 2010. His proposal comes only weeks after the club claimed it was blindsided by RQ over their plans to demolish the racetrack and build a commercial, residential and retail hub on the site worth an estimated $100 million. RQ chief executive Dr Eliot Forbes last month said RQ’s plan to redevelop the site was needed to provide another revenue stream for the cash-strapped body. “The ongoing sustainability and growth of racing in Queensland depends on the generation of non-racing revenue and the full realisation of commercial opportunities,” he said. Mr Seymour disagreed, saying his proposed development would “launch harness racing into the next century”. He said there would be numerous revenue streams from the housing development and gaming machines, along with the return of the famous Silks restaurant and bar turnover. “If you build facilities that are as good, if not better than other things in the area, people will come to it,” he said. “Any money raised at the facility would be put back into harness racing, making it stronger. “The big thing is the Harness Racing Club is not asking for any money. It’s a no brainier for harness racing in Queensland.” Breeders, Owners, Trainers & ­Reinspersons Association president Dan Costello described such a development as equivalent to that of Eagle Farm recently for thoroughbreds. “It’s great for the industry and it’s clear this sort of development will secure a future for harness racing,” he said. The plan is on an American model where race clubs with poker machines are able to pay twice the prize money for racing than those without them. Proposed also in the development is the construction of a new RQ headquarters, allowing them to move out of the dated Deagon facility. Mr Seymour insists his development plan will pass all local government and planning requirements. The track was first constructed in 1893 before it was bought out by underworld figure John Wren in 1910. Trenton Akers, The Courier-Mail Reprinted with permission of The Courier Mail

IT has been said that there is no Nana like a proud Nana. If this is the case, Beryl Dawson is this week's proudest. When three of your grandchildren drive seven of the 10 winners on a Saturday night Albion Park program it is time to feel puffed up. Even better is when the two sisters, Narissa and Danielle McMullen, each owned and trained one leg of their respective doubles. Cousin Nathan Dawson secured a treble to let us know that this was just part of a very good week for him. At last count, 11 of Beryl's direct descendants held harness licences. That's some effort Nana. I hope they take you to dinner on the strength of it. Concerning statistics LAST week I promised some frightening statistics. Here is just a segment of the problems which face harness in this country today and are as relevant to Queensland as to any other state. It is what happens to any business when the managers are not minding the shop. Future of harness racing - strategic planning research "Harness racing's viable future in Australia is at present almost totally dependant upon wagering revenue. Currently HRA and industry participant attention is focussed upon alternative handicapping/ programming initiatives that will create larger and more evenly balanced fields in order to maximize wagering turnover and revenue. No modelling exists that establishes the levels of increased wagering turnover and resultant revenue gains that will be needed to maintain and grow the sport into the future. However basic strategic planning research (non existent in HRA) clearly provides the basis to model the gap that exists between the product (racing stock) needed compared with the projected product availability over the next decade and resultant wagering increases that will be necessary. Using the official HRA statistics comparing the ten year period between seasons 2005/2006 and 2015/16 demonstrates the enormity of the task ahead.'' Total mares served 05/06 was 8,942, dropping to 5,443 in 15/16. Shortfall: 3,499. Percentage drop -39.1. Horses named in 05/06 plus overseas imports 6,118, dropping to 3,401 in 15/16. Shortfall -2717. Percentage drop -44.4. Number of individual starters in 05/06, 12,949, dropping to 10,724 in 15/16. Shortfall -2,225. Percentage drop -17.2. Number of races run in 05/06, 15,666, dropping to 14,225 in 15/16. Shortfall -1,441. Percentage drop -9.2. All four of the 15/16 figures are categorised as "the lowest ever''. The above has been collated by marketing and pedigree matching expert Ray Chaplin. Great benefits? OVER the past week, we have heard of a new and exciting future for harness in Queensland. This latest kite is flying on the back of the reported "gifting'' of the harness portion of the controversial Yatala site to the Yatala Harness Racing Club. Benefactor Kevin Seymour also mentioned the great benefits which would flow to harness from the merger of the major Tote operators with Ubet. The subject of turnover also got a mention with Seymour adamant that harness was putting a steady 12% into the tri-code turnover, rather than the 10% claimed by Racing Queensland. Of more interest to the people who can't up stakes and re-locate to Sydney or Melbourne should harness in Queensland go belly up in the near future, would be some comparison figures on the subject of distribution versus revenue. Consider the following hypothesis. If harness distributes $100 in prize money, and Racing Queensland receives only $61 in revenue from the combined turnover income streams, then, surely, harness is a basket case. These are the figures which should concern us, accompanied by practical strategies to correct the situation. One thing is certain. The new concept of a ratings system will not help us should it be adopted. The punters have not been able to handle "mobile conditioned'' from the day of its appearance. What will they do with a system which will be adjusted on a daily or weekly basis by supposed experts? Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Box trifecta 1-5-10: Dabeers Zargon (G. Whitaker-Countdown (N. Dawson)-Flaming Hero (M. Elkins). R2: box trifecta 4-5-12: Bettor Promise (A. Sanderson)-Cherish The Moment (T. Dixon)-Watch Pulp Fiction (P. McMullen). R3: Quinella 1-8: Sweet As Candy (M. Elkins) and A Good Chance (C. Petroff). R4: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Im The Smoocha (G. Dixon)-Our Millwood Maizie (G. Dixon)-Remember Them (N. Dawson). R5: E/w 1: Always Prompt (G. Dixon). R6: Quinella 3-10: Mini Cam and Only In Rome (P. McMullen). R7: Quinella 1-2: Border Cross (S. Graham) and War Dan Appollo (T. Moffat). R8: Quinella 3-7: Illawong Dreamtime (Brittany Graham) and Clarkey (A. Sanderson). R9: Quinella 5-6: Hughie Green (J. Cremin) and Avonnova (S. Graham). R10: E/w 2: Annas Best (P. McMullen). Honour board It was a one-set affair this week for the drivers with Nathan Dawson taking Adam Sanderson off the pinnacle at six wins to four. Darrell Graham re-asserted himself as top trainer with a solid four winners for the term. Most of the serious winning was concentrated in the lower Brisbane Valley at Fernvale and Glamorganvale. Nathan Dawson's treble at Albion Park were all trained by Greg Elkins and Greg Franklin. Albion Park, May 19: Ice Crusher (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Rory Mach (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Crowning Glory (Isobel Ross for Greg Elkins); Top Trio (Lachie Manzelmann for Grant Dixon); Mini Cam (Stacey Weidemann for Rachel Scott); Bubbaloobah (Lola Weidemann for Dave Russell). Albion Park, May 20: Tijuana Bromac (Narissa McMullen); Countdown (Nathan Dawson for Greg Franklin); The Space Invader (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Motu Real Style (Danielle McMullen); Flaming Hero (Nathan Dawson for Greg Elkins); Remember Them (Nathan Dawson for Greg Franklin); Constantly Sideways (Danielle McMullen for Bill Crosby); Sweet As Candy (Matt Elkins for Vic Frost). Albion Park, May 23: Sicilian Slumber (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Bettor Promise (Adam Sanderson for Shannon Price); Queen Zenobia (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Exceptional Mach (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin). Redcliffe, May 24: Red Luck (Brittany Graham for Darrell Graham); Datsgood (Gary Whitaker for Donny Smith). Redcliffe, May 25: Acer Animus (Ricky Gordon for Bob Hanrahan); Live In Style (Trent Moffat for Gregg Minns); Jimmy Nga (Gary Whitaker for Lacey Hinze); Ballator Thor (Nathan Dawson for John McMullen); Heavens Hint (Nathan Dawson for Stewie Dickson); Precious Cullen (Nathan Dawson for Graeme White). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

Racing Queensland (RQ) and tenants of Albion Park Raceway are in a Mexican standoff over grandiose plans for the historic harness racing course. Last weekend RQ revealed an extravagant proposal to finance construction of new tracks for the harness and greyhound codes in growth corridors to the south and west of the city through the sale of Albion Park. The Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club is happy with the RQ proposal, with the club’s chief executive Luke Gatehouse confirming the club would move “with a moment’s notice” if a new, metropolitan standard course comprising two tracks, one of which would be a straight, was constructed. “We’ve wanted our own stand-alone complex for a long time,” Mr Gatehouse said. Albion Park Harness Racing Club chairman David Fowler insists Albion Park was harness racing’s best advocate. He said he was “most reluctant” to leave the track which has been a spiritual home for harness racing since the late 1960s. “There can be no denying turnover is the lifeblood of the racing industries and the bedrock for this is metropolitan racing,” Mr Fowler said. “Albion Park has undeniable brand awareness whether it’s for harness racing or the greyhounds. “This complex hosts seven meetings a week and is the busiest of any metropolitan course in the country. “What RQ does about new tracks is out of our hands. But we need new facilities at Albion Park and that will boost this industry, because we are doing it tough and our customers have endured substandard facilities for far too long.” The Brisbane City Council has previously declared its wish that Albion Park, valued at up to $100 million, be retained for sport and recreation purposes. That was despite numerous rumours it would be developed for residential and retail use. By Alan Welburn, Quest Newspapers Reprinted with permission of Quest Newspapers  

Queensland's racing landscape is set for its biggest shake-up in decades as the sport’s governing body plans to close the gates to greyhounds and trotters at historic Albion Park and turn the site into a showpiece development. The project still faces significant hurdles but Racing Queensland has approached the Brisbane City Council and begun exploring plans for the prime Albion venue, which has hosted races for more than 120 years. RQ chief executive officer Eliot Forbes said the potential development was needed to generate significant non-racing revenue to prop up the struggling sport. “The options include possible commercial, residential and retail developments all geared to deliver a commercial return to RQ thereby protecting the balance sheet for racing into the future,” he said. “The ongoing sustainability and growth of racing in Queensland depends on the generation of non-racing revenue and the full realisation of commercial opportunities.” To realise the maximum financial gain from the site, the club has applied to the council for any development application to be considered under a superseded planning scheme. “If Council agrees to allow an application under the old scheme and RQ lodges an application, significant community and stakeholder consultation will be undertaken to help inform the range of uses, design and development outcomes on the site,” Mr Forbes said. The State Government would also need to approve any application and yesterday Racing Minister Grace Grace said no decisions about possible future uses of the site had been made. “RQ has a fiduciary duty to protect the asset value of Albion Park and I’m confident they’re meeting this obligation,” she said. “In line with this fiduciary duty and following recent changes to the local area plan, RQ has lodged a request for development application over this site under the superseded scheme. “The sole purpose of this application is to protect the asset and maintain RQ’s balance sheet. An artist’s impression of a proposed redevelopment of the Albion Park site, which might include residential and retail space. “RQ has met with Albion Park Harness Racing Club representatives to inform them of their actions.” The Sunday Mail understands the club is strongly opposed to moving harness racing from the site however representatives failed yesterday to respond to a request for comment. The fate of racing at Albion Park was sealed recently when the results of an independent study into the infrastructure needs of the two codes in southeast Queensland highlighted widespread dissatisfaction with the site. The greyhound industry was nearly unanimous in its condemnation of Albion Park and the need to find new stand-alone venues for the sport with contemporary, single-turn tracks. Harness industry participants in the study were not as united in the need to leave Albion Park and are still negotiating with RQ about their infrastructure needs. But the move from Albion Park took a step forward yesterday when RQ launched an expression of interest process to identify suitable sites in Brisbane’s southern and western corridors for new greyhound and harness racing venues. It is understood the Gold Coast and Ipswich are the preferred locations for greyhound tracks. The massive overhaul of facilities is part of RQ’s broader infrastructure program, which is being funded from the $63 million Racing Infrastructure Fund. A further $61 million is expected to be injected into the fund before 2023 from a gambling agreement. By Michael Wray, The Courier-Mail Reprinted with permission of The Courier-Mail

A Warwick man has been arrested in relation to what authorities have called a "loose cartel" of harness racing drivers and trainers involved in race fixing in Queensland. Trainer-driver Dayl March, 46 from Warwick, was this week arrested and charged with race fixing. It relates to Race 2 at Albion Park on November 12 last year, where it will be alleged March organised corruptly the outcome of that race. The 46-year-old was arrested following search warrants carried out by detectives from the Queensland Racing Crime Squad, attached to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission. In a press conference this morning, Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker said March has had his licence suspended and was due to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 10. "This is the first time an arrest has been made in relation to race fixing in harness racing in Queensland and further arrests are expected to be made," he said. "Once a person is charged with an offence relating to match fixing, their licence is automatically suspended. "The commission then has the power to suspend their licence for life." The maximum penalty for race fixing - a recent addition to the Queensland Criminal Code - is 10 years imprisonment. In the past week, police have visited properties of five harness racing participants in Warwick, The Gap, Logan Village, Redcliffe and Limestone Ridges as part of the joint investigation between the QRIC, Crime and Corruption Commission and Queensland Police. Detectives seized mobile phones, computers, documents and clothing that will now be forensically examined. Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said the investigation started just weeks after the commission was formed in July last year. "This has been a long- running investigation that highlights the importance of inter-agency co-operation," Mr Barnett said. "The investigation has identified a loose cartel of drivers and trainers involved in systemic race fixing ... who decide who will win the race and how they will win it. "We are not talking every race or even every race meeting, but certainly more than one race - it is more frequent than it is rare." Mr Barnett said there was no suggestion there was any involvement of stewards in race fixing and urged anyone aware of misconduct to come forward.  Darling Downs Harness Racing Club president Anthony Collins declined to comment.  Warwick Turf Club president Phil Grant said it was a shock to learn of the arrest this morning. "Though harness racing is separate to the thoroughbred racing, it's definitely not something we want to see Warwick in the news for," Mr Grant said. "It's not something I've ever seen before - I can't think of the last time there's been an allegation (of race fixing) in the thoroughbred industry.  "Racing Queensland brought in the commission to enforce the regulation and ensure no one is able to fix a race so now it's up to the courts to decide whether he's done the wrong thing." Mr Barnett said the commission ultimately hoped to improve confidence in the racing industry as a result of the investigation. "We think this could have a short term negative impact on confidence in the sport but in the long-term I believe this will be of benefit to the industry," he said. "This is solely the fault of the greedy and corrupt people who have participated in match fixing who have damaged the sport they participate in and claim to love. "I believe dealing with these issues will eventually lead to increased wagering confidence in the industry." Sophie Lester Reprinted with permission of  The Warick Daily News

Team Dixon dominated the feature card of harness racing at Albion Park tonight (Saturday). The powerhouse stable took both feature events, the $20,000 Wayne Wilson Memorial Paleface Adios Classic and the $20,000 Jim McNeil Memorial Trotting Championship Final. Red Charmer ($16.90) stormed down the outside to claim victory in the juvenile event defeating Well Disguised ($18.30) and Datsgood ($1.60 fav) in a time of 1:57.4. The Mr Feelgood – Rhapsody In Red filly is raced by her breeders, Kevin and Kay Seymour. It was start number two tonight for Red Charmer and her maiden success. It was proved a great result for Mr Feelgood, siring the winner and the third placegetter which is a timely boost with the Queensland yearling sales starting next week. The stable was heavily fancied to win the event with Colt Thirty One but he was a late scratching earlier in the day. Former New Zealand trotter Foursharesmorebeers ($4.40) scored a thrilling victory in the Jim McNeil Memorial Trotting Championship Final defeating Scorched ($2.70) by a nose margin while Illdoitwhenimready ($5.90) finished a further 8m away in third. The time was 3:27.2 which gave Foursharesmorebeers a mile rate of 2:05.5 for the 2647m stand-start feature. Foursharesmorebeers is raced by Greg Mitchell. First staged in 2011, it is the first time the Dixon stable has won the Jim McNeil Memorial Trotting Championship Final. Team Dixon won 5 of the 10 races staged tonight including both features while Monarkmac, The Black Assassin and Joys A Babe also proved triumphant. Trista Dixon took driving honours with a treble after partnering Monarkmac, Joys A Babe and Red Charmer. And given her excellent form in recent weeks, Trista now moves into outright second in the metropolitan driver’s premiership trailing Grant by 6 wins. Grant has driven 32 metro winners while Trista sits second with 26 winners. Team Dixon leads the National Trainers Premiership also and hold a healthy lead over Perth based husband and wife team of Greg and Skye Bond while Bathurst horseman Steve Turnbull sits third. Racing Queensland

IF you are given the opportunity to disburse $53 million in varying amounts to Queensland racing clubs for capital investment in long-term infrastructure, you must be very confident of your abilities in this area, or you seek advice. The decision-makers at Racing Queensland, mindful of the need to "get it right", have played the "advice card" and engaged the services of Deloitte Brisbane in a consultative and advisory capacity. The following impressive statement is taken from the Deloitte Brisbane website. It indicates a reassuring level of self confidence in the company's ability to meet RQ's requirements. "With a well-connected and professional team of more than 480 people and over 50 partners, we are leading providers of assurance, advisory, taxation and consulting services. Ours is a high performance culture that thrives on the strength and success of its people. It's a culture that sets us apart from the rest. Represented by the Deloitte Seven Signals, we take pride in the 'way we do business,' and it shows." Feedback from a teleconference last Monday between members of the Marburg Pacing Association executive and the Deloitte team appears to support a belief that the "wizards" want all the facts, before formulating any opinions or offering any advice. Mattgregor worth watching INTEREST is at Menangle tonight when the up and coming Mattgregor, from the McMullen-Turpin team, goes around against older horses in the $100,000 Bohemia Crystal Free For All. Among the field are last year's Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me, Tiger Tara, Major Crocker and Tac Tate. With eight wins from 14 outings and a loose assessment of C5-M0, Mattgregor has shown exceptional ability from the start of his career. Connections feel that he will acquit himself well in top company. After tonight, the gelded son of Rob Roy Mattgregor will head home to Patrick Estate for a break before being set for the Winter Carnival at Albion Park. Lodge for sale AFTER a career in harness racing covering 64 of his 79 years, Bernie Wilson has put Runnymede Lodge on the market. Wilson, who in his younger days in Sydney put the polish on NSW Oaks winner and later good producing broodmare Negro Dancer, cites the depressed state of harness racing in Queensland at the present time. The veteran further believes that there is little light evident at the end of the current tunnel. Runnymede Lodge is on 50 acres with an irrigation licence on Warrill Creek and has accommodation for a minimum of 40 horses plus a huge list of harness and associated horse equipment. Ring Bernie on 5464 3349 for a yarn about better days. Some earn big dollars I KNOW times are tough, but not for all of us. Having spent considerable time in the belief that Thursday at Redcliffe, with its current prize money set at just short of $3000, was a meeting set aside for the moderate horse and the hobbyist trainer, I was amazed to see an Albion Park Saturday night field go round this Thursday in a lowly R4 and better event. The winner, Forever Texas, stopped the clock at 1-57.4. The seven runners have career earnings of $942,697 at an average of $134,671. Only one runner had earnings less than $100,000. It is debacles such as this which lead to the exodus of the battlers. When will enough be enough for the top 10%? Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Box trifecta 1-3-5: Forty Seven Flash (M.Elkins)- Monarkmac (T. Dixon)- Always Prompt (G. Dixon). R2: Quinella 1-8: Supaliner and Itsallaboutlu (S. Graham). R3: Quinella 1-8: Stawbs Ideal Act and Days End (Madi Dux). R4: Quinella 1-8: The Duke Downunder (S. Doherty) and Sams Cam (S. Graham). R5: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Fours Enuf Tas (L.Weidemann)-Sports Chaton (G. Dixon)-Real Social (N. Dawson). R6: Box trifecta 1-7-8: Alleluia (G. Dixon)-The Space Invader (Madi Dux)-Polished Rocks (M. Neilson). R7: Quinella 1-2: Ivegotalife and Joys A Babe (T. Dixon). R8: E/w 5: Im Jack Black (G. Whitaker). R9: E/w 5: Shezabonnygem (G. Dixon). Honour board A new face on the trainer's side of the leader board this week with Purga-based Steve Bunz taking the honours with three winners. They included a Sunday outing to Tamworth, NSW. King of the drivers was Nathan Dawson who landed four for the term, three of which were for Steve Bunz. The most pleasing was five drivers on two winners apiece. Albion Park, February 17: Real Social (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz); Sicilian Slumber (Hayden Barnes for Chantal Turpin). Albion Park, February 18: Zac Mac (Danielle McMullen for Darren Hooper); Reservation Road (Narissa McMullen); Sweet As Candy (Matt Elkins for Vic Frost). Tamworth, February 19: Change the Nation (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz); Emargee (Ricky Gordon). Albion Park, February 21: Rock With Sam (Barty Cockburn for Mick Butler); Abitgoingonhere (Barty Cockburn for Mick Butler); Real Social (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz). Redcliffe, February 22: Projectile (Matt Elkins for Kerry Smith); Ima Sea Storm (Nathan Dawson for Graham White); Royal Taz (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen); Trentleigh (Hayden Barnes for D.R. Pollock). Redcliffe, February 23: Our Champion (Gary Whitaker for Mal Charlton); Soi Cowboy (Gary Whitaker for Ken Belford). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

You can be excused for thinking Saturday night’s meeting at Tabcorp Park Menangle is in fact an Albion Park card of harness racing. In recent weeks, the banana benders have been competing regularly at Sydney’s metropolitan venue but they take it to a whole new level this weekend. Heading south today (Wednesday) are trainers Grant Dixon, Ian Gurney, Shawn Grimsey plus Shannon Price and Scott Miller. Already based in Sydney are Chantal Turpin and Pete McMullen, Cristina Monte and Charlie Cini while Shane Sanderson and Darren McCall both call Sydney home nowadays. Leading reinsman Shane Graham heads to Sydney on Saturday for a full book of drives. With the Miracle Mile carnival in full-swing, a number of Queenslanders are eyeing off the riches on offer and aiming their trusted performers at upcoming features. Last week, quality four-year-old Mattgregor qualified for the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire on February 11 after coming from last to be beaten narrowly behind Dashofluck in a time of 1:50 in the Paleface Adios Stakes. In the opening race at Menangle on Saturday night, half the field is made-up of Queensland trained performers including Epaulette, Max Richter, Leos Best, Watch Pulp Fiction, Bells Beach House and Sparkling Cullect. Furthermore, the trio of Change Of Mind, Quick Turn and Im Cool Harry has all spent considerable time in the sunshine state. Trainer Ian Gurney has four runners starting this weekend including Epaulette, Sparkling Cullect, Smooth Showgirl and Clarkey. Gurney is hoping to qualify Smooth Showgirl for the Gr.1 $200,000 Ladyship Mile on February 25. Shannon Price and Scott Miller are also aiming their pair of quality mares Bettor Promise and Bettorthanspecial for the mares feature later this month while Three Of The Best is being prepared for the NSW Derby. Both mares start in the same event this weekend, the Orangeville Meat Co Ladyship Pace. The state’s leading trainer Grant Dixon has a trio of representatives this weekend including Max Richter, Leos Best and talented trotter Our Overanova. Progressive three-year-old filly Eleniark is being set for the NSW Oaks. And trainer Shawn Grimsey is also aiming for the NSW Oaks with his filly Western Jewels who starts in the Harness Breeders NSW Pink Diamond. The Turpin/McMullen partnership has seven horses competing while the Monte/Cini duo has four horses starting. Young trainer Ryan Veivers has recently sent his handy performer Vader to Sydney. Chris Barsby

Grant Dixon has carved himself another piece of Queensland harness racing history. The proud Queenslander steered Leos Best to victory at Albion Park today (Tuesday) in the Burwood Stud Pace but it was a win of significance. In doing so, Dixon registered career victory no. 4000 while becoming the first banana bender to achieve the feat. He joins Gavin Lang, Chris Alford, Daryl Douglas and Chris Lewis as the only Australian reinsmen to sit in this elite club. And that club is the significant factor that gives Dixon full perspective of his latest achievement. “When you look at those names and realise what they’ve all achieved in this sport, it gives you great satisfaction and a proper understanding of how hard it is to join this group. It’s quite surreal to think that I’m up with these guys.” A typically humble Dixon said. While Dixon was fully aware the milestone moment looming, he actually forgot as he approached the finishing line and therefore, never acknowledged the feat. Not that Dixon is known for showing emotion; certain moments have got the better of him just like the night he won the final event at the now defunct Parklands complex on the Gold Coast when he sailed down the outside to snatch victory with Lionsixchristiansnil back in 2013. “It’s not in my makeup and it’s not really my thing but sometimes I’ve allowed the moment to get the better of me but I completely forgot today and was focused on winning the race. It wasn’t till after the race when everyone started congratulating me that I’d brought up the milestone. “Thinking back about the Gold Coast, it was my favourite track and it’s where I kick started my career, my first drive and first winner came at that track and I’ve got plenty of fond memories of that track, it’s such a shame it no longer exists.” But since the closure of Parklands, the winners have continued to flow for Dixon and he’s happy to drive as many winners as possible. Because back in July, 2012, the record breaking horseman was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML), a cancer of the blood cells, mainly affecting adults which usually grows slowly at first. Following extensive treatment, Dixon regained full strength and kept working at his craft. “It was tough, no doubt about it but I had a great support team around me and I couldn’t thank them enough because it made a huge difference. “My wife Trista is my backbone and for the whole stable for that matter, I had to keep fighting for her and my two boys, Thomas and Jai. “I love working with the horses and I enjoy competing so I just worked my way back into it, I’m fortunate to be in that position.” Since commencing his career during the 1988/89 season, he is the winner of the Queensland premiership more times than anyone else and his record haul currently sits at 11. His nearest rival is renowned horseman and now retired, Kevin Thomas with 9. During the 2009/10 season, Dixon enjoyed his best season in the sulky with 242winners. On six occasions, he has driven 5 winners at a single meeting – 4 times at the now defunct Parklands complex and twice at Redcliffe. He has driven 9 Group One winners. The best horse that Dixon has partnered is the incomparable Blacks A Fake, the greatest champion this country has ever produced. Dixon has represented his state as a junior where he dead heated with Tasmanian representative Ricky Duggan back in 1993 while a decade later; he represented his country in the World Drivers Championship in Canada. Last season, Dixon won the Australian Drivers Championship series in Tasmania. “I’ve made lifelong friendships from all of those series that I’ve been lucky enough to compete in, they’re great fun and play a role in the sport. “When I was in Canada, I was competing with Jody Jamieson and it gave me a great buzz when I got him to drive one of my horses during the World Drivers Championship in Sydney a few years ago. “He’s a top guy Jody and it’s one of my regrets in not driving a winner in Canada all those years ago but it was great to have that friendship initiated.” Dixon, 43, is still working the biggest stable in Queensland with Trista where they set the benchmark in the country for winners. Over the past nine years, Team Dixon has led the way throughout the country. And Dixon shows no signs of slowing down. “We’re working a big team and we’re hopeful of another productive season, especially with the younger stock because we were a little quiet last season. “Having horses like Alleluia, Majestic Major and Our Overanova in the team are a big thrill, no champions but very tough performers who keep the stable ticking.” And Dixon will keep the winners’ ticking too, that’s what he does best. by Chris Barsby

Shane Graham and Pete McMullen have been selected to represent Queensland in the Australian Drivers Championship to be held on October 22 at Globe Derby in Adelaide with each driver aspiring to not only take the 2016 title but continue Queensland’s unbeaten run in the harness racing series. The inaugural Australian Driving Championship was conducted in 2014 with Pete McMullen claiming victory while in 2015 Grant Dixon took the honours and Shane Graham finished third. Each driver was presented with their driving attire for the series by the Racing Queensland Harness Racing Board Member Margaret Reynolds and Racing Queensland CEO Dr Eliot Forbes at a special presentation at Albion Park on Saturday October 15. Shane and Pete earned their selections by finishing first and second respectively in the 2015/16 State Driving Premiership.  Shane finished second in the 2015/16 National Drivers Premiership behind Victorian reinsman Chris Alford while Pete McMullen finished fifth nationally with a career best 198 winners. Best wishes to both Shane Graham and Pete McMullen for a safe and successful campaign. The fields for the Australian Drivers Championship Series will be declared Tuesday afternoon October 18 by Harness Racing South Australia. Racing Queensland

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