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Newcastle Mile winner The Black Prince and former Tasmanian pacer Ignatius were the biggest harness racing winners when the marbles were drawn for next weekend's $1m Garrards Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Black Prince's chances were enhanced when he drew barrier one for Australasia's biggest sprint race while Ignatius, a prolific winner at Menangle during his two and three-year-old years, suddenly became a serious chance in the race after drawing gate two. King Of Swing drew gate six but will probably come from gate five when the second emergency One Change comes out of the race. Had King Of Swing drawn closer to the pegs he would have almost certainly started a long odds-on favourite in the race but may now have to work a little harder to exert his superiority. With the revamped market he was listed as a $1.40 favourite. Tonight's Ladyship Mile winner, Kiwi mare Stylish Memphis will again have to come from near the tail of the field after drawing the outside of the front line, gate 10, but should come into eight when the reserves are taken out. The final draw is: The Black Prince (Bettors Delight - It's My Style - McArdle) $21 Ignatius (Roll With Joe - Ashkalini - Art Major) $11 One Change 2nd em (Bettors Delight - Changedown - Falcon Seelster) $51 Expensive Ego (Rock N Roll Heaven - Art Start - Perfect Art) $6.50 Alta Orlando (Courage Under Fire - La Ja Joconde - Totally Western) $14 King Of Swing (Rocknroll Hanover - Twist And Twirl - Artsplace) $1.40 Wolf Stride (Rock N Roll Heaven - Lilic Stride - Art Major) $11 Mach Shard 1st em (Mach Three - Sly Shard - Panorama) $41 Out To Play (Art Major - Play Bill - Presidential Ball) $41 Stylish Memphis (Bettors Delight - Memphis Melody - Badlands Hanover) $12   by Mandy Madern Club Menangle

The three heats of tonight's NSW Derby didn't really bring any surprises as the harness racing favourites secured their spots in next weekend's Group I New South Wales Derby final. Some talented three-year-olds were at Tabcorp Park Menangle to do battle - and they took no-nonsense approaches as they went on their winning ways. Patsbeachstorm won the first heat as an odds-on favourite and his win made up for a horror week for trainer-driver David Moran, who was forced to miss the Miracle Mile with his stable star Lochinvar Art. Patsbeachstorm settled three back on the pegs behind Act Now and Watts Up Sunshine and when nothing came up to box him in, Moran was able to make his run exactly when it suited him as Patsbeachstorm downed Act Now and Watts Up Sunshine in a 1:53.5 mile rate. To watch Patsbeachstorm win click here. And fellow Victorian Clayton Tonkin looked to have a future star to take the place of his injured superstar Ride High when Idyllic cruised around in the second heat in a leisurely 1:57.4 mile to secure his spot in next week's $200,000 NSW Derby final. The fact they were almost four seconds slower than the first heat was irrelevant, Idyllic did the job in style and that was all that mattered. "He's quite casual, I was tapping him along," said reinsman Luke McCarthy, who took the reins for Tonkin. "The best he travelled was when Amanda Turnbull [Lyrical Genius] came up beside him and he grabbed the bit and finished the race off really nicely then. "You could feel he was travelling well and had the horse outside him covered so I didn't bother pulling the blind, so we have that up his sleeve for next week's final." To watch Idyllic win click here. The third heat saw yet another favourite, local hope Tasty Delight for Brian Portelli take the lead and run them along as he pleased before cruising home in a 1:55.9 mile rate to beat Kashed Up and Jacks Hawks, just ahead of Kimble. After a first half of his last mile in 60.4 seconds (splits of 31.3 and 29.1), Portelli was able to up the ante going up the back straight and he was never in danger of being run down as he crossed the line with six and three-quarter metres to spare from the runner-up Kashed Up who shot through on the inside to nail second right on the line. To watch Tasty Delight win click here. With the three short-priced favourites all through to next week's finale, the barrier draw should be all important with Tasty Delight bound to be well-fancied to add another feature to his resume. Mandy Madern

Australia's most improved pacer Wolf Stride 'strode' into the $1m Miracle Mile tonight with a stunning harness racing victory in the Allied Express Logistics Sprint at Tabcorp Park Menangle. In a driving finish Wolf Stride (Rock N Roll Heaven - Lilac Stride - Art Major) got up in the last few bounds to beat front-runner Alta Orlando (Luke McCarthy) and rails-hugging former Kiwi Mach Shard (John McCarthy), who just edged out Turn It Up (Shane Graham) for third place. Last week's Terang Cup winner travelled up perfectly to Sydney, according to his trainer-driver Anthony Butt who admitted the horse had come a long way in a fairly short time for owners, harness racing fanatics Emilio and Mary Rosati. "This horse has always stepped up when we've asked him to . . . he just keeps getting better and better," said Butt. "Pre-race he can be a bit of a boy but when the starter says 'go' he knows what to do and he's actually a lovely horse to drive in a race. "This should stand him in good stead for the next 12 months. "Often the hardest thing to do is to get into the Miracle Mile. "Now we've done that we can enjoy it and hope for the best on the big night." The action came thick and fast with Alta Orlando (Luke McCarthy) and Kowalski Analysis tackled each other for the early lead with Alta Orlando prevailing. Wolf Stride settled back in about sixth spot and showed his true colours with a mighty finish in the straight to nail his rivals and win by a head in a scintillating 1:49. That alone was enough to ensure he'll be one of the toughest to beat in next Saturday's $1m Garrards Miracle Mile. To watch the video replay of Wolf Stride winning click here.  The second Miracle Mile qualifier saw King Of Swing (Rocknroll Hanover - Twist And Twirl - Artsplace) do exactly what everybody expected, cruising to an almost casual 1:49.5 win, defeating Out To Play (Greg Sugars) and One Change (Shane Graham) with the plucky Ignatius a close fourth. "He felt really good tonight and that run should get him just perfect for next week's big one," said winning reinsman Luke McCarthy. "I'm relieved and happy to qualify. "He's naturally quick out so I let him get there and he raced nicely after that - and he just felt super in the run." To watch the video replay of King Of Swing winning click here. That ensured six more automatic qualifiers for the Miracle Mile: Wolf Stride (Rock N Roll Heaven), Alta Orlando (Courage Under Fire) and Mach Shard (Mach Three) from the first qualifying sprint; King Of Swing (Rocknroll Hanover), Out To Play (Art Major) and One Change (Bettors Delight) from the second sprint with those horses joining The Black Prince (Bettors Delight) and Expensive Ego (Rock N Roll Heaven) in the big one with two more choices to come. For full results of tonight's program click here. Mandy Madern

Gun young former Kiwi harness racing reinsman Jack Trainor declared star mare Stylish Memphis could do no more to thrust her name into contention for a Miracle Mile spot after a stunning win in tonight's $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle.  Mark Jones showed a lot of faith in me sending this horse to me to prepare for this race and now we've done it," said Trainor after Stylish Memphis rated 1:49.2 to beat outsider Miss McGonagall and Bettor Enforce in Australasia's richest mares' race. "I've been telling them all week to save a spot for me for the Miracle Mile," grinned Trainor. "She's done nothing wrong since she's been here and this win tonight was just awesome. "I'll be looking for the Club Menangle racing manager David Wonson now so I can push our case. Hopefully she's done enough to get an invitation into the big race. "I would just love to be there and she certainly deserves to be." As usual Stylish Memphis was given plenty of time to find her feet while No Win No Feed found the front and took a trail behind Maajida with Pelosi settling further back on the pegs and favourite Bettor Enforce landing a one-one trail when Rocknroll Angel made an early move to race outside the leader. Still the earlier efforts took their toll and with a closing half of 53.8 (splits of 26.8 and 27s) Stylish Memphis always looked to have her rivals covered as she scored by two and three-quarter lengths. To watch Stylish Memphis win tonight click on this link. Earlier in the evening the Group 2 Pink Bonnet went 'west' when Bathurst battler Tony Higgs saw his youngster Silk Cloud score the easiest of wins in one of the first two-year-old fillies' features of the year. Cut loose on the home turn, Silk Cloud tore away to annihilate her rivals, beating Martini Stride by nine and a quarter metres, with Finery a further one and a half metres further back in third place. Reinsman Luke McCarthy was delighted to be offered the drive from a trainer her had known since his early days as a young reinsman at Bathurst. "I've known 'Higgsy' my whole life and it's a big thrill to win a race like this for such good people who are friends as well," said McCarthy. "I was happy enough to take a sit and to her credit she really got going and found the line in style." Later it was revealed that Higgs' wife Danielle had been badly injured in an accident in previous years and the win expected to be a great tonic for her. Higgs earlier joked that he feared he might get 'lost' on the big stretches of Menangle and he'd be silly not to use someone of McCarthy's expertise. He might now feel compelled to offer McCarthy the drive in Bathurst's feature, the much sought-after Gold Tiara next month. "I'd be mad if I knocked back that drive now," grinned McCarthy. To watch Silk Cloud win tonight click on this link. For full results of tonight's program click on this link. Mandy Madern

Harness racing driver Jack Trainor admitted he'd be waking up with a headache on Sunday morning after scoring his second Group 1 victory within an hour as he took out tonight's $200,000 Group One NSW Oaks at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The David Thorn trained filly Anntonia set a new world record for three-year-old girls with a two-metre win over Rogue Wave (Greg Sugars) and Beach Music (David Moran) in a 1:52.9 mile rate. With the possible exception of Luke McCarthy, no-one has been driving with the consistency of Jack Trainor in recent months and his win with Anntonia had to be seen to be believed. With the battle for early supremacy over the 2400m a hectic one, Trainor had to be content to settle three-back on the pegs and bide his time over the longer journey until they were turning for home. Anntonia had to jag across the tails of a few tiring runners and once she did she knuckled down and quickly put paid to her rivals to add to a night that Trainor says he'll "long remember". "This is what it's all about, winning races like this just makes all the hard work worthwhile," said the young reinsman, who made a big move from New Zealand to establish himself in Sydney and after working with leading horseman Blake Fitzpatrick for a couple of years decided to branch out and train on his own, sharing stables at the Menangle Training Centre with Jason Grimson. "It's a credit to the horse the way she finished this race off and got to the line so well, she is something special," he said. "I was putting her into gaps I wasn't sure she'd want to go, but to her credit she never shirked the task. "Winning the Ladyship Mile with Stylish Memphis was something special and now to win the Oaks with Anntonia . . . well, it just doesn't get much better, does it?" Yes, it does Jack, because Stylish Memphis has also been invited to compete in next week's $1m Garrards Miracle Mile against some of the best pacers in Australasia. "She deserves that. Wow, what a night," said Trainor. Club Menangle

TALENTED Sydney-based reinsman Cameron Hart will head to Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night chasing his first Group 1 winner. It is “Ladies night” at the state’s premier track where Hart will have five drives, three of which are in Group 1 races. “I have had some good luck with barrier draws in all three features,” said Hart, who conceded that he would be facing some stiff opposition. “Crunch Time has drawn perfectly in gate one for the $100,000 Schweppes Sprint with star pacer King Of Swing drawn right next to us in barrier two.  “My bloke has brilliant gate speed so I will be able to ensure that I gain the trail behind the favourite, which is our best hope to qualify for the Miracle Mile. “I have the drive on Rocknroll Angel in the Ladyship Mile and if the reserves come out, we will start from barrier four.  “I rate her run to finish second in the Robin Dundee last week as probably the best run of any horse I have ever driven. “She was caught three wide for the first half of the race before facing the breeze, only to be beaten by a half head - and they rated 1.50.3 for the mile. “I should be able to gain a more economical run from the draw and if she can repeat that effort, she will be hard to beat.”  Hart will drive Chrissy Chic in the $200,000 John Gibson Memorial NSW Oaks, a filly that won four on the bounce before running second in her qualifier. “This filly has plenty of speed off the arm and we will look to try and pinch the Oaks from the front,” he said. “I am really excited over my drives on Saturday night as feel I am driving horses that can win without surprising.” Hart has five drives at Penrith tonight, his most favoured runner being King Corey in Race 6. “I rate all of the horses that I am driving tonight as each-way hopes but feel that Napoli Nights (Race 1) is my best chance,” he said. “From gate seven he follows out a fast beginner and should run home well while Panacias Seal (Race 2) has drawn wide but is racing well and should also be hard to beat.”   HRNSW MEDIA | MICHAEL DUMESNY

There was mixed fortunes during Tuesday morning's barrier draws for Victorian-trained hopes chasing Group 1 glory at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. The Allied Express Logistics Sprint and Schweppes Sprint are direct qualifiers for the Miracle Mile on March 6, with the first two horses across the line in both races gaining automatic qualification into the $1million feature the following week. Two wildcard horses can then be drawn into the field of eight, which already includes Expensive Ego (Chariots of Fire winner) and The Black Prince (Newcastle Mile winner). The Ladyship Mile and NSW Oaks are the other major highlights on Saturday night's Menangle card, which is also expected to see David Moran-trained star Lochinvar Art trial between races in order to prove his fitness for consideration in the Miracle Mile. ALLIED EXPRESS LOGISTICS SPRINT (GROUP 1) CLICK HERE FOR THE TAB MARKET 1            82677   MACH SHARD NZ Belinda McCarthy 2            33115   TURN IT UP Vicki Rasmussen 3            33s11    MAX DELIGHT David Aiken 4            31341   WOLF STRIDE A M Butt, S L Smith 5            10551   CRUZ NZ Belinda McCarthy 6            29212   ALTA ORLANDO NZ Belinda McCarthy 7            06642   DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (Em 1) Harry Martin 8            12851   BURNHAM BOY NZ Kevin Pizzuto 9            25323   KOWALSKI ANALYSIS Matthew Craven 10          21623   BALRAJ NZ Belinda McCarthy 11          2s127    STAR GALLERIA NZ Belinda McCarthy 12          11756   PITCH PERFECT NZ (Em 2) Roy Roots Jnr   SCHWEPPES SPRINT (GROUP 1) CLICK HERE FOR THE TAB MARKET 1            11s40    CRUNCH TIME Rickie Alchin 2            11113   KING OF SWING NZ Belinda McCarthy 3            51119   ONE CHANGE NZ Vicki Rasmussen 4            06642   DOUBLE ENCOUNTER (Em 1) Harry Martin 5            41562   MACH DA VINCI NZ Peter Hanson 6            11025   OUT TO PLAY Clayton Tonkin 7            93134   MAFUTA VAUTIN Belinda McCarthy 8            11756   PITCH PERFECT NZ (Em 2) Roy Roots Jnr 9            82413   BRIGHT ENERGY Belinda McCarthy 10          33322   WESTERN SONADOR S J O'Donoghue, R K Bartley 11          12413   IGNATIUS Todd Rattray 12          10146   CASH N FLOW NZ Belinda McCarthy   PRYDE'S EASIFEED LADYSHIP MILE (GROUP 1) CLICK HERE FOR THE TAB MARKET 1            25547   CHEVRONS REWARD NZ (Em 2) Clayton Harmey 2            67236   PELOSI Anna Woodmansey 3            74360   JUSTALITTLE TORQUE (Em 1) Wayne Graham 4            11242   NO WIN NO FEED Belinda McCarthy 5            11111   MAAJIDA Emma Stewart 6            8s102    ROCKNROLL ANGEL Jason Grimson 7            11124   BETTOR ENFORCE NZ Belinda McCarthy 8            24543   MISS MCGONAGALL Stephen Clarke 9            23214   STYLISH MEMPHIS NZ Mark Jones 10          21395   MAKE MINE HEAVEN Bernie Hewitt 11          92556   ARMA HOTSHOT David Thorn 12          13284   DRACARYS NZ Belinda McCarthy   JOHN GIBSON MEMORIAL NSW OAKS (GROUP 1) CLICK HERE FOR THE TAB MARKET 1            12s12    ANNTONIA David Thorn 2            11112   CHRISSY CHIC Jason Grimson 3            1s744    SOVIET STUNNER NZ Narelle McCarthy 4            74614   CELESTIALFRAGRANCE (Em 1) Brooke Wilkins 5            3s223    ARMA RENEGADE Brad Hewitt 6            81554   WHOS MY MOTHER NZ (Em 2) Amanda Turnbull 7            34531   BEACH MUSIC Emma Stewart 8            1s143    PRESTIGE STRIDE NZ A M Butt, S L Smith 9            52141   JOANNA Emma Stewart 10          12111   TOUGH TILLY Emma Stewart 11          33323   ROGUE WAVE Emma Stewart 12          92912   PLATINUM SPARKLE Emma Stewart

EXCITING former Kiwi pacer Minstrel has handled a chaotic week superbly and is primed for his next big challenge in Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle. The son of Rocknroll Hanover is coming off a powerhouse win in the Group 1 Golden Nugget last Friday night and then a flight from Perth to Sydney on Monday night. “He couldn’t have come through it all better,” co-trainer Greg Bond said. “I’m looking at him now. He’s a cool dude, he looks right at home here (Luke and Belinda McCarthy’s stables). “I’m not bothered about the quick back-up or the travel or even the quality of horses he’s taking on this week. I know he’s up to it. “My only query is that we’ve trained him to run that strong 2500m of the Nugget last week and now he’s coming back to a mile and a very tempo race where it’ll be on right from the start. “There’s no qualms about his ability. I’ve said I think he’s up with the best we’ve had.” Minstrel raced 10 times for David and Catherine Butt in NZ for four wins, four seconds and a third before being sold to Bond. Many of those runs were in elite company including a third to Copy That and One Change in the Group 2 Flying Stakes and a second to It’s All About Faith at his final NZ start on September 4, last year. Bond said Minstrel’s talent was obvious from the day he arrived, but he had his quirks. “Skye (Bond’s wife) deserves the credit for him. He’s been like a project for her,” he said. “She played around with how we train him, changed his shoeing, changed his bit and it’s all come together,” he said. “He put the writing on the wall with that big run behind Magnificent Storm two runs back then really showed he’d arrived in he Nugget. “That Nugget win was pretty special I thought. He was three-wide in a quick lead time, sat parked and still ran home in 55.7sec. They took a full second off the race record and I think the horse he beat is exceptional (Magnificent Storm).”  Bond is sure Minstrel has plenty of gate speed, but will leave the decision on whether to use it and all tactics to driver Robbie Morris.  “I’m thrilled to have got a top local like Robbie. He knows the form, knows the track and know how to drive them at Menangle,” he said.  "At first you think barrier nine isn’t great, but he’ll come into seven if the emergencies come out and the upside is two of his biggest dangers Expensive Ego (11) and Stylish Memphis (12) have drawn outside him.” Minstrel has been crunched from $7 into $5 on the Aussie TAB since Tuesday’s barrier draw, while Expensive Ego is the easing favourite ($2.50 to $3.10).   by Adam Hamilton

THE announcement of the Horse of the Year awards in New South Wales was met with a great deal of joy from champion horseman, Anthony Butt and his partner Sonya Smith as two of their stable stars were recognised. Now based at Melton in Victoria and currently training around 30 horses, the former New Zealander has won a multitude of feature races in both his home country and here in Australia but having horses he trains recognised as being the best of their year is something he describes as being pretty special. “We feel it is a huge honour for not only Sonya and I, but also for the owners and the horses themselves,” an excited Butt said. New South Wales and Victorian Derby winner Line Up was named Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding Pacer Of The Year after gaining 80 per cent of the vote while classy New South Wales Trotters Derby winner Elite Stride polled even higher with 90 per cent of the vote to claim the Three-Year-Old Trotter of the Year title. “Line Up has had a good break but unfortunately after a few minor setbacks with leg injures he will miss some of the good races coming up,” said Butt.  “I will now have to set a new path for him, but I’m hoping that he will be back at the track by the middle of the year. “He is only a four-year-old and barring any further bad luck, I feel he can go on to brighter things in the future.” Butt continued his praise of his stable stars by highlighting the efforts of his smart trotter Elite Stride. “Elite had a super season, picking up a number of feature races, he was so dominant,” he said. “In all, he won nine races and almost $119,000, which is quite healthy for a trotter.  “Emilio and Mary Rosati own both these horses and they are a great asset to the sport.  “It is nice to see them rewarded for what they contribute to the industry.”  Butt said that Elite Stride was given a long spell and had come back looking a picture.  “He is probably two months away from a return to racing and I am very excited to see how he will measure up against the top open-class trotters currently racing in Australia,” he said.    HRNSW MEDIA | Michael Dumesny

DESPITE his proven success in harness racing Bathurst horseman Nathan Turnbull would be the first to admit that he has been overshadowed by his younger sister Amanda, who is now recognised as being in the top echelon of trainer-drivers across Australasia. When he left school, the eldest son of champion horseman Steve Turnbull was immediately propelled into the role as stable foreman at Radiant Lodge as the family were riding high on the back of the success of their then star gelding Smooth Satin, who won a plethora of feature races, including the Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile at the famed Harold Park. In the years following, Nathan followed a checkered path that saw him take a complete break from the sport and shortly after returning to the fold, he suffered a nasty and debilitating broken leg. Turnbull trains his team out of The Lagoon and has met with good success with his best-performed pacer being metropolitan winner Power Of Red. Tonight, at his home track of Bathurst, Nathan gets his chance to add another feature race win to his record when he drives exciting prospect Allset in the $16,700 Bedwells Feed Barn Star Trek Final.  He is driving the gelding for sister Amanda, who qualified three horses for the final. Amanda will drive race favourite Bundoran while her stable foreman, Isobel Ross takes the drive on Wattlebank Lass. In fact, the Turnbull family appear to have a stranglehold on the Star Trek with Steve qualifying two runners and Josh one. “Amanda asked me if I would drive Allset for her and I never hesitated,” said Nathan. “I went over and had a drive on him in trackwork and he gave me a great feel, I think he is the makings of a very nice horse. “The horse Amanda is driving is going to be very hard to beat but Allset has the better draw so I should be in front of Bundoran from the start and hopefully I can steal a break on them.  “The Star Trek is a race I would love to win. “I have a couple racing later in the night and think that Red Envy is going well enough to win.  “She is having her second run for David and Chrissy Ford from Dubbo and her first-up fourth impressed me.”    HRNSW MEDIA | MICHAEL DUMESNY

When the Changeover gelding Motu Gatecrasher outsprinted his rivals at Menangle on Saturday night (January), he sent his stake earnings to beyond $250,000 and became his sire’s sith richest performer. The gelding clocked 1:51.5 for the mile – a new lifetime mark. Watch the race click here! Changeover was represented by winners in three different countries last week. Promising four-year-old The Mustang posted his 13th success from 36 starts with a career-best 1:55.2 winning effort at Bathurst, while Dragontown won for the eighth time at Mildura. Changeover produced two winners on the grass at Blenheim, New Zealand in Jazelle and Givemewhatineed as well as the 1:57.1 Invercargill victor Deus Ex. In North America, Changeover’s winners included Sudden Change NZ (1:52.6), Risk NZ (1:53) and Glenferrie Bronte NZ (1:55.2). Changeover, the former champion Kiwi pacer, stands at Burwood Stud in Queensland’s rich Darling Downs.   By Peter Wharton

Knockawarwon, a younger full brother to the 2019 USA harness racing 'Horse of the Year' and New Zealand's fastest pacer ever Shartin 1:46.8 ($2.5 million), was a very impressive winner at his first public appearance at the Menangle trials on Wednesday (January 13). A member of Tim Butt's Camden South team, the four-year-old gelding, with Jack Trainor at the helm, pinged straight to the front and reeled off sectionals of 29.1, 29.3, 28.1 and 27.8. He covered the 1609 metres in 1:54.9 - the second fastest time of the day. To watch the trial click here. Bred by Cantabrian breeder Grant Crabbe, Knockawarwon is a son of the Breeders Crown champion Tintin In America 1:53.2 ($906,422), who is now standing at Yirribee Pacing Stud in NSW, out of the Live Or Die mare Bagdarin (1:57.7). By Peter Wharton  

One of New Zealand’s best pacing mares is heading off-shore and trainer Mark Jones admits he doesn’t know when to expect her back. Jones is sending Stylish Memphis to Sydney to be trained by former Kiwi horseman Jack Trainor, who trains alongside Jason Grimson at Menangle. The plan was hatched when it became clear the All Stars runners Amazing Dream and Beyond Words were not heading across the Tasman, with trainer Hayden Cullen set to have no Aussie reps for the summer. “With Amazing Dream in particular not going the Sydney races like the Ladyship Mile become very attractive,” says Jones. “Not just because she won’t be there but because it also means she will be here and that makes the Addington mares races here so much harder, especially with Beyond Words also being here. “So Sydney is the best place for her and Jack had been hassling me for a while to send her over and now is the time.” It is not the first time Jones has sent Stylish Memphis to another trainer to maximise her potential, with Mark Purdon himself training the filly to win last season’s NSW Oaks after being a huge second in the Victoria Oaks. “It is about placing them where they are best suited and can make the most money,” explains Jones. “After those two mares races here at Addington she has no real mares opportunities until the Jewels and even that could mean taking on Amazing Dream again. “I don’t think we have enough good mares races here and after the two coming up she has to race the likes of Copy That and Self Assured. “Whereas at Menangle she has two A$50,000 mares races before the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile and then can races in mares races every second week.” While Jones and his owners are leaving the option of Stylish Memphis returning for the Jewels open she could also possibly head to North America. “That is another option for her because of all the mares races and the times she can get for her future broodmare career.” Stylish Memphis won’t be the only former Jones-trained good pacer plying her trade at Menangle soon, with Burnham Boy having already started his career there with a win two weeks ago after a two-third share in him was sold to big-time US owners Gordon Banks and Marc Hanover.   By Michael Guerin

THE resurrection of classy former Kiwi trotter McLovin has created a “good” problem for Kate Gath. With a string of major trotting races looming, most notably the Great Southern Star on February 6, Gath will inevitably have to choose between McLovin, rising star Majestuoso and long-time stable star Tornado Valley as her drive. McLovin showed he was right when he sat parked and scored arguably the best win of his career in the Group 1 Maori Mile at Bendigo on Saturday night. Despite doing all the work outside the leader, McLovin clocked a 1min54.2sec mile – just 0.1sec outside Tornado Valley’s race and track record. McLovin ran past star mare Red Hot Tooth who led and held-off another glamour mare, Dance Craze, along the sprint lane, to win by a head in closing splits of 55.7 and 27.6sec. The win gave Team Gath their third successive win in the Maori Mile with Tornado Valley having won the past two. “It was a huge run, his form over the short trip is super. I won’t say I was confident of winning knowing we’d have to sit parked, but I was confident he’d run a great race,” Kate Gath said. “He’s really in the zone at the moment, his work at home this time in has been fantastic.” Majestuoso was scratched from the race after hanging in trackwork and not pleasing the stable during the week, but he’s got time on his side of the upcoming features. Kate Gath confirmed Tornado Valley was close to a return. “He’s almost ready. He’s getting older and time will tell if he’s still right up with the very best of them,” she said. Asked if she had a preference to drive when they clash, Gath said: “Hopefully they are all going well at the time and then it’ll be a matter of choosing then, but McLovin is right there with them at the moment.” _________________________________________________________________________________________ EMERGING star Wolf Stride bounced-back from a couple of costly defeats to impressively win the Group 2 Bendigo Cup and effectively snare a Hunter Cup berth in the process. And the win in Saturday night’s feature was the first “major” in Victoria for the training partnership of Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith. Butt touted Wolf Stride as a budding Grand Circuit player early last year and it’s all starting to come together. It was a big effort to come from an outside back row draw, three (albeit with cover) for the last 1300m and still power home to win. Wolf Stride enjoyed the genuinely run affair with a mile rate of 1min55.8sec for the long 2650m trip, just 0.9sec outside the record Cody Bailey set in the Cup last year. The rejuvenated Fourbigmen ran a fantastic race for second for Emma Stewart and Kate Gath and his run served to underline the strength of the form around Lochinvar Art. Fourbigmen’s previous run was second to Lochinvar Art – beaten 30.5m – in the Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final on New Year’s Eve. _________________________________________________________________________________________ GIFTED pacer Bletchley Park is starting to emerge in his own right. Long known as the baby brother of superstar performer Bling It On, Bletchley Park blazed his way to a 16th career win, this time at Group 2 level in the $50,000 Village Kid Sprint at Gloucester Park last Friday night. It took his earnings past $310,000 and underlined the training genius of hobbyis Stephen Reed, who took on Bletchley Park from his father Mike at the end of 2019. Stephen Reed is best known for rejuvenating Lovers Delight to run second to Lennytheshark in a Perth Inter Dominion final, but Bletchley Park represents the best opportunity he’s had yet given he is still just a five-year-old. Bletchley Park had to burn through a 26.6sec opening quarter to hold the lead from gate two for Lindsay Harper and a scocrging 54.8sec first half, but kept finding to beat WA Cup hero Vultan Tin by 3.3m in a 1min52.4sec mile rate for 1720m. The 1min52.4sec mile rate was just 0.8sec outside Chicago Bull’s track record. Owner Albert Walmsley praised Reed’s work with Bletchley Park. “All credit to Stephen Reed for improving Bletchley Park with beach work at Bunbury. He has blossomed since we transferred to Stephen las year,” Walmsley told the West Australian newspaper. “He thrives on being kept in a paddock most of the time.” Walmsley ruled-out a Hunter Cup or Miracle Mile tilt in coming weeks,. “We’ll keep him racing in Perth racing even if the border restrictions are lifted. He’s suited at Gloucester Park and can continue winning here.” Bletchley Park’s dam, Alldatglittersisgold, has had eight foals to race, all winners with Bling It On (49 wins and $1.88mil) and Miracle Mile winner Baby Bling (21 wins, $854,490) being star performers. _________________________________________________________________________________________ RECENT Kiwi import The Croupier snared a Group 3 win for Craig Cross, but upstaged one of his stable “glamour boys” in the process. Chariots Of Fire favourite Expensive Ego was $1.25 favourite to make it four wins from as many starts for Cross, but did a power of work from a wide draw and was nosed-out by The Croupier right on the wire. It was an improved effort by the $61 outsider who could only manage fourth in his heat of the Group 3 Agnes Bank Equine series a week earlier. The son of Roll With Joe, who won four of his 25 NZ runs, has raced five times in NSW for Cross for two wins, a second and a third. Expensive Ego lost no admirers after working three-wide from the outside draw then eventually sitting parked and fighting hard late in a slick 1min50.9sec mile.   by Adam Hamilton

Australia's pacing big guns are trading blows from afar at the moment. Just over a week ago, Lochinvar Art blazed his way to a 30-metre win in he Group 1 Vicbred 4YO final at Melton. This week it was King Of Swing’s turn to return from a freshen-up and scorch closing splits of 52.9 and 25.7sec to win as he liked by 9.6m over classy stablemate Alta Orlando at Menangle on Saturday night. King Of Swing, who hadn’t raced since winning the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on December 12, looks bigger and better than ever. But so does Lochinvar Art. The pair will meet again in the $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 6. King Of Swing holds a 2-1 edge through wins in last year’s Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile, but Lochinvar Art did win their last clash emphatically in the Victoria Cup on October 10. It’s Lochinvar Art’s turn to strut his stuff again next weekend when he heads to his hometown the $70,000 Group 2 Shepparton Gold Cup. “He had a couple of quiet days after the Vicbred, but he’s on target for Shepparton and then it’s on to Ballarat (January 23),” Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran said. Luke McCarthy was thrilled with how King Of Swing felt Saturday night and confirmed he would have just one more lead-up run before the Hunter Cup. “He did that so well. I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s as good or maybe even better than we’ve ever had him,” he said. “There’s another Menangle race for him on Saturday week (January 23) and that’ll top him off nicely.” So both King Of Swing and Lochinvar Art will run on January 23, but in different states with Lochinvar Art at the Ballarat Cup. With the Kiwi stars out of the Hunter Cup, it looks a two-horse race with the Aussie TAB having Lochinvar Art a surprisingly short $1.70 favourite and King Of Swing at $3. WA’s best pacer Chicago Bull is $9 third elect, but he’s far from certain to come. “He won’t be going unless these (Covid) travel restrictions are lifted in time,” trainer Gary Hall Sr said.   by Adam Hamilton

Former NZ champion Changeover, who is now standing at Burwood Stud in Queensland, sired multiple harness racing winners on both sides of the Tasman this week. He has sired the winners of $1.84 million in Australia to date this season. Heading the vanguard were the Menangle winners La Bella Vita NZ, who won in 1:53.5 at her first start on Australian soil, and Controversial NZ (1:54.4), who notched win No 32 and advanced his bankroll to $255,000. Changeover was also represented by a winning double at Horsham with Jaccka Ted NZ (1:58.6) and El Banco (1:59.2), while Loch Ness Franco NZ captured the Golden Girls at Launceston, her fourth win from eight starts in Oz. Changeover led in three winners in New Zealand this week in Szybka Lane (1:59.8, Ashburton), Southerly Change (Rangiora) and Jacks N Jazz (Dunedin). Szybka Lane winning at Ashburton   by Peter Wharton

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