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It was paint by numbers simple for the three Kiwi trio using yesterday's low-key Menangle meeting as a lead-in to the Breeders Crown. All three - Show Gait, Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece - led and won their their Australian debuts easily before they head to Victoria next week for the rich Breeders Crown finals on August 25. Both Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece are Harness Jewels winners so it was no surprise they were able to win without being extended but trainer-driver Mark Purdon was thrilled with how they came through their first proper races in two months. "They were both really good without being asked for their best, which is ideal for this stage of the preparation," said Purdon. "Before we loaded Another Masterpiece on the float to come home he was really full of himself so I think he is in a good place," said Purdon. Both juvenile pacers will have to contest semifinals of the Breeders Crown at Bendigo on Saturday week, where finishing in the top half of the field will get them into the final. Show Gait won't have to contest a semi for her three-year-old trotters division at the Crown, with heat winners straight into the final. She took on the older horses yesterday and also worked to the front easily, with Purdon doing the driving for young Canterbury trainer Regan Todd, who is travelling with the Purdon-Rasmussen runners. Purdon had to shake Show Gait up inside the last 50m to keep her mind on the job.   Michael Guerin

The first four races at Menangle on a quiet Tuesday afternoon usually slip by without a lot of interest on this side of the Tasman. But then again, they rarely contain two Harness Jewels winners and a Sales Series Trot star. So today's mid-afternoon Sydney harness should not only be worth a watch but also prove a valuable guide to the rich Breeders Crown in Victoria on August 25. The meeting is headlined by unbeaten juvenile pacing filly Princess Tiffany (race three) and fellow Jewels winner Another Masterpiece (four). Princess Tiffany meets some handy two-year-old rivals but is so brilliant, anything but a victory would be disappointing, especially as trainer Mark Purdon has been thrilled with her preparation. Rivals like Regulus have shown themselves to be good 1m 55s mile juveniles but Princess Tiffany came from last to win her Jewels untouched in 1m 54.2s, suggesting she will remain unbeaten. To split his pair, Purdon has put Another Masterpiece in a maiden race, but oddly, he ends up against former talented stablemate Gentle Giant, who was an Ashburton feature raceday winner for the All Stars last October and could have been expected to go further in life than he has. So while he might have to pace 1m 55s for his mobile mile, Another Masterpiece has gone two seconds faster than that and should also jog home. The programme kicks off with Show Gait, who has been travelling with the Purdon-Rasmussen team, making her Australian debut in a lower grade standing start 2300m trot. The Sales Series winner has shown high speed for a three-year-old trotting filly but trainer Regan Todd says she is still peaking. "My aim is to have her spot on for the Breeders Final so she has to be a little bit underdone but she has definitely improved since she got here," Todd said. "It is a lot warmer here than at home [Canterbury] and it has really brought her on. And her race being 2300m and a stand suits better than some of the mad miles over here." To add to the strong Kiwi flavour at the meeting, former northern pacer Bettor Step Aside makes his Australian debut in race five after being sold out of the Derek Balle stable and looks ideally placed. Michael Guerin

The All Stars barn unleashes a couple of its key Breeders Crown players when Harness Jewels winners Our Princess Tiffany and Im Anothermasterpiece step-out at Menangle on Tuesday. Under the quirk of the different racing seasons, Our Princess Tiffany is of course still a juvenile in Australia and will tackle boys and girls of her own age in the third race. Although sure to be a hot favourite, it’s not a “gimme” race with talented Christian Cullen gelding Regulus, a winner of five of his 10 starts, drawn to lead from gate six. Our Princess Tiffany has gate seven. In a differing quick, although still a two-year-old in Australia, Im Anothermasterpiece, tackles open-aged rivals in the fourth race. The Aussie TAB has Our Princess Tiffany $1.80 favourite in the Breeders Crown final prepost market from Kualoa at $3.20. Im Anothermasterpiece is $4.50 third favourite in the two-year-old colts and geldings final behind Emma Stewart’s star pair Hurricane Harley ($2.40) and Centenario ($3.40). Still on the All Stars’ barn and their emerging open-class pacer Cash N Flow turned heads even in defeat at his first Menangle run last Saturday night. Team Tritton’s speedy My Alpha Rock controlled the tempo from outside the lead and zipped away with a huge lead before Cash N Flow stormed home from near out and out very wide to finish just a head away in second spot. Cash N Flow was clocked to run 54.7sec last half. _______________________________________________________________________ THE countdown to the Breeders Crown continues with Victoria’s two heats for juvenile fillies at Ballarat Tuesday night and two colts and geldings heats at Kilmore on Wednesday night. At Ballarat, most focus will be on Emma Stewart’s powerhouse Vicbred final winner Kualoa, who is considered the main threat to the All Stars’ brilliant filly Princess Tiffany. Kualoa will have a fascinating battle in her heat with gifted stablemate Two Times Bettor, who ran second to Kualoa in the Vicbred final, drawn the pole. Kualoa has gate four. At Kilmore, numbers are surprisingly thin, but the quality is great with Stewart having six of the 15 runners across the two heats. The first heat has Australian Gold and Vicbred winner Centenario drawn the pole and the one to beat, but Tim Butt’s buzz new stable addition Whereyabinboppin (gate five), Nostra Ideal (two), Fourbigmen (six) and College Chapel (eight) also command respect. Stewart certainly holds the key to the second heat with the brilliant Hurricane Harley (seven) and her NSW Breeders Challenge winner Hardhitter (six). _______________________________________________________________________ THE hype just keeps growing around Ignatius and its easy to see why. The former Tasmanian three-year-old, now in Jimmy Rattray’s care, made it 16 wins from 17 starts when he toyed with older rivals at Menangle on Saturday night. The son of Roll With Joe led, dictated through a 58.5sec first half then Rattray allowed him a little rein for a 54.8sec closing half to win with plenty in reserve in a 1min53.3sec mile. It will be fantastic to see him step-up against the best of his age in the upcoming Breeders Crown semi and final. Also at Menangle, Amanda Turnbull’s emerging four-year-old Ellmers Image caused a big upset when stalked hot favourite Gotta Go Ya Hu and simply beat him for zip in the Group 3 Mount Eden 4YO Stakes in a 1min51.4sec mile. Gotta Go Ya Hu led easily with Ellmers Image on his back and they dawdled through a 58sec first half before ripping home in splits of 26.5 and 26.9sec. _______________________________________________________________________ TEAM Tritton looks to have another feature race at their mercy with exciting juvenile Muscle Factory. The Roll With Joe colt won his Brisbane Australian Gold Graduates heat at Albion Park by half the straight last Friday night and should be far too classy in next Saturday night’s final at the same track. Muscle Factory worked forward to lead for Lauren Tritton and cleared out to win by 36.4m in a flying 1min54.1sec mile rate for 1660m. By comparison, talented Art Major filly For All We Know dominated the first heat to win by 8.6m, but went a much slower 1min58.5sec mile rate. _______________________________________________________________________ IT has taken The Storm Inside almost three seasons to build his unbeaten streak of 11 wins, but he looks primed to make up for lost time. Emma Stewart’s rising five-year-old scored with ease again at Melton on Saturday night – in a sharp 1min56.4sec mile rate for 2240m – as he prepares to step into much better races.   Adam Hamilton

The next All Stars stable’s Aussie raid kicks-off at Menangle on Saturday night. Exciting open-class prospect Cash N Flow looks a graded certainty in the opening race where he takes on some handy rivals, but not the best fast-class horses at the meeting. It’s remarkable given Cash N Flow has won 10 of his 20 starts and both starts at Addington this campaign. Throw in the fact it’s over the suitable 2300m trip and not even the outside draw (gate 11) should pose too many issues. Team Tritton’s classy speedster My Alpha Rock (gate nine) and the talented Spare Me Days (10) look the major rivals. At the same meeting, Team Tritton’s emerging stable star Gotta Go Ya Hu will be a dominant favourite from gate one in the Group 3 Mount Eden 4YO Stakes (1609m). Gotta Go Ya Hu has stormed home from well back to win his past two open-class runs at Menangle, but has loads of gate speed and should lead and be hard to beat this week. _____________________________________________________________ TODAY will see one of the most remarkable trials Melton has hosted. With the Breeders Crown just around the corner, four of the best three-year-olds in Australia – Poster Boy, Ride High, Lumineer and Konan - will clash in the 12th trial at Melton. Poster Boy is the best performed via his NSW Derby and Vicbred wins this season, but much interested will centre around last season’s Australian Gold winner Lumineer, who is returning from a long injury layoff. Then, in trial 13, Miracle Mile runner-up Jilliby Kung Fu will lock horns with budding Grand Circuit star Shadow Sax and the classy My Kiwi Mate. Other stars in action include: Australia’s best juvenile Centenario, star 2YO filly Kualoa, NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO winner Hardhitter and top shelf 4YO mare Speak No Evil.   Adam Hamiton

STAR Tasmania pacer Ignatius has set another track record and this time it was at least an Australasian best for a three-year-old. Ignatius led throughout to win a heat of the Australasian Breeders Crown series at Menangle on Tuesday with his mile rate of 1.53.5 over the 2300-metre trip shattering the previous best set by Sushi Sushi and The Black Prince (1.54.1) by six-tenths of a second. The James Rattray-trained gelding led and set scintillating sections coming home his last 800 metres in 56 seconds. According to Rattray there was a helicopter parked in the centre of the arena and he was frightened it might break his stable star’s concentration so he placed a racing hood over the horse’s head but that only led to the three-year-old becoming “fired up”. “Putting the hood on sort of back-fired but he did a great job all the same.” Ignatius had scored by 15 metres at his previous outing in the final of the Group 1 Breeders Challenge series which he won by 15 metres and hard-held but on Tuesday the winning margin was only 2-1/2 metres ahead of Royal Gamble. “The margin might not have been as big as in previous wins but he still did it comfortably and there was a bit in reserve.” Rattray said he would wait and see how the horse pulls up before deciding whether he needs another run before tackling the Breeders Crown semi-final at Bendigo in Victoria on August 18 with the final to be run at Tabcorp Park, Melton, the following week. Peter Staples

GEORGES Plains mentor Bernie Hewitt stamped himself as the ‘King’ of the Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Finals after winning three of the Group Two features at Menangle tonight. Heading into the meeting, Hewitt already had five Breeders Challenge Blue Finals on his winning record. “We counted five Blue Finals and now that makes it six,” Hewitt said after winning the two-year-old fillies edition with Write About Lexy, not knowing he was going to add to that record again. The 56-year-old trainer-driver tasted his first ‘Blue’ success in 2014 with Read About Lexy – a full-sister to Write About Lexy. Both horses are bred and owned by Lex Crosby. “This is the sixth generation of this family that we have been breading with,” Crosby said. “It was 63 years ago that my Dad started breeding from this family line.” It was a similar scenario with the two-year-old boys Alabar Breeders Challenge Blue Final that was taken out by Lets Go To Brazil. The Sloys Company have been breeding from this family for almost three decades and Lets Go To Brazil is the third generation of this breed. Driven by Todd McCarthy tonight, Lets Go To Brazil set a new personal best time of 1:53.9 to win the Group Two. In the three-year-old fillies feature the Hewitt-trained-and-driven Cobbity Chic also set a career best mile rate when clocking 1:56.5 to narrowly hold off Brazilian Rocker, a full-sister to Lets Go To Brazil. To top the night off, Hewitt trained the quinella in the three-year-old boys final with Lifes A Jungle causing an upset at odds of $30 and Brads Luck finishing close behind in second. Leading junior driver Chris Geary took the reins on Lifes A Jungle while Hewitt steered the runner up. Lifes A Jungle set a new benchmark when clocking 1:54.6. Thanks to these results, Hewitt has driven 68 winners this season equalling his best season to date in the sulky. Meanwhile, he is on track having his best season on record as a trainer having trained 89 winners for the term and is just one win away from equalling his best result. Bernie Hewitt’s Breeders Challenge Blue Final winners – 2014      Read About Lexy 2015      Pass The Magic 2016      Ima Black Beauty 2017      Our Little Digger 2017      Taylors Reason 2018      Lifes A Jungle 2018      Write About Lexy 2018      Cobbity Chic   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

FATHER and son Steve and Mitch Turnbull had to settle for the minor placings in Let It Ride’s barnstorming 1:49.4 victory in a Breeders Challenge Final the previous Sunday at Menangle but they bounced back in fine style by sharing a winning treble at their home track on Wednesday. Steve trained three successive winners, driving the first two - Shandance NZ and Karloo Bentwofifty -  and Mitchell “dive-bombing “ his fast-class rivals in Let It Ride fashion with the long-priced outsider Smithstars Lexus. Shandance NZ made it two-from-two on Aussie soil with another impressive effort in the C0  Guaranteed. Ladyship Pace, settling behind leader Fastestgirlintown and proving just a touch too strong for that mare, scoring by almost two metres in a 1:56.5 rate. Stu Valentine, the well-known bloodstock agent, might now be feeling quite satisfied that he wasn’t able to find owners for his latest import and consequently decided to race her himself. Plan B has produced a perfect result so far, and plenty of valuable publicity. Karloo Bentwofifty completed the driving double for the leading NSW trainer when it led throughout in a 3C0-3C1 sprint, home in 58.2s for a 1:57.4 trip, his maiden win at start thirteen. As in the previous race, Turnbull got the win at the expense of KerryAnn Turner, this time in a very tight photo, with the barest half-head margin back to Hannah Mae which had enjoyed a good run in the one-one before sprinting home strongly. “I usually go on the position of the wheels in these close finishes. My bloke’s pretty big compared to KerryAnn’s filly, and when I checked that the wheels were level, I was pretty confident that we would get the result,” was his reply when asked about the finish." The American Ideal gelding arrived at The Lagoon in different circumstances from his earlier winner, sent down to Bathurst by Dubbo trainer Barry Lew when a serious shoulder injury, and subsequent operation, forced him to clear his stables for a lengthy recuperation. He’d shown promise in a couple of earlier runs at Bathurst, but then turned in an inglorious performance when he failed to handle the track at Young, and he clearly needed the wide open spaces of his home track to produce his best. It was another half-head result in the fast-class fifth event, when Mitch Turnbull turned in a slick performance with $23.70 chance Smithstars Lexus to get up right on the line in a most exciting finish. Odds-on favourite Parramatta NZ led until halfway down the running, when Im Cool Harry loomed up wide, while Sabrage came hard along the sprint lane. But Smithstars Lexus, which had tracked into the race on the back of Im Cool Harry, came very late and very fast to get there just in time in a driving finish, stopping the clock in 1:55.9, the night’s best. His young driver didn’t appear to be lining up the wheels, instead leaning back in the bike to lift the shafts, but he did indicate afterwards that his horse “travelled really well in the run, and when I was able to follow Im Cool Harry into the race, I was feeling quite confident he would run on,” Other winners: Crossfirehall in C1 grade for Bernie Hewitt, making use of the sprint lane to bring up the win for a very happy group of local league players and officials, which include former NRL star George Rose and Group 10 president Lenore Zamparini Bettor To Be Tricky NZ, in a C2-C3 sprint, courtesy of a great drive from Kerryann Turner, setting the four-year-old alight up the back in a race-winning move, to the evident delight of long-time owner Craig Rusten and his mate Mick Horan, who got to enjoy that special first win as an owner Blaster Ranger, leading throughout for Junee Reefs visitor Matty Harris ( recipient of racecaller Mitch Manners’ Drive of the Night award ), a second successive win for the good-looking son of Caribbean Blaster, whose owner Rob Nalder would be pleased despite finishing third in the race with We Salute You Ominous Warning ( John O’Shea for Peter Trevor-Jones) in a Reward Series heat, the half-brother to Beetson leading throughout and roaring away over the closing stages by more than 20 metres, for his seventh career win but just the first in his last two injury-interrupted seasons Uncle Peter, all-the-way in the 2260 metres C1-C2 heat of the Penrith Mayors Cup, for Chris Frisby and reinsman son Anthony, who’s currently racking up lots of frequent flyer points winning multiple races at Albion Park, where most of the horses, and family, are dodging the Bathurst winter Gabbys Sportstar, for Nathan Hurst in the HRNSW Guaranteed Two-Year-Old Pace, the Sportswriter first foal of classy racemare Gabrielle Solis  - winner of 13 of her 28 race starts for the Hurst stable - making a perfect start to his career, and also providing a neat sprint-laning book-end to the meeting. Terry Neil

EVERY now and then harness racing throws up a Cinderella story which makes people love the sport and even more than they already do and want to become more involved. It took all day for that to occur in today's NSW Breeders Challenge finals and there was no more popular winner than Elle Yeah, who gave Bigga (near Crookwell) trainer-driver Dennis Picker his first Group One success when he took out the four-year-old mares' final at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. While everyone expected odds-on favourite Cherry Stride to make a one-act affair of the $100,000 Group One, Picker certainly didn't see it that way and came with a well-timed run in the straight to run down Cherry Stride to score by a neck on a 1:52.2 mile rate. While Cherry Stride fought back strongly in the straight, Elle Yeah had done a lot less work and prevailed narrowly with unwanted outsider Rocknroll Emma running a plucky third. "I've had a few horses with these owners over the past five or six years but I have to admit I never expected anything like this to eventuate," grinned Picker. "Yes, this is my first Group One and it is something I'll remember for a long, long time to come." Owner-breeder Matt Nagle was just as overcome as Picker with the victory. "I'm just stunned," he said. "This is incredible, unexpected and much appreciated . . . this has been a wonderful experience and I hope there are more times like these to come."   Mandy Madern     8 4:39pm HES WATCHING NSW BREEDERS CHALLENGE FOUR-YEAR-OLD MARES FINAL (GROUP 1) 1609M $100,000 4YO Mares. PBD/M/PBD/C. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 ELLE YEAH      Fr1 1 Dennis Picker Dennis Picker   $ 12.50   PRBT SWAB   BROWN MARE 4 by ALWAYS A VIRGIN USA out of RUN AWAY ELLE (VILLAGE JASPER USA)  Owner(s): M T (Matthew) Nagle  Breeder(s): M T (Matthew) Nagle 2 CHERRY STRIDE      Fr4 4 KerryAnn Turner Robert Morris HD $ 1.70 fav  PRBT GS L SWAB 3 ROCKNROLL EMMA      Fr7 7 Michael Formosa Cameron Hart 7.40 $ 115.70   RAS SWAB 4 DONT THINK TWICE      Fr10 11 Jason Grimson Jason Grimson 8.10 $ 6.00   PRBT RAS 5 MAKE MINE HEAVEN      Fr6 6 James Rattray James Rattray 8.40 $ 43.20   RES 6 SHEZ SUGARSWEET      Fr9 9 Blake Fitzpatrick Blake Fitzpatrick 9.10 $ 64.70   PRBT RAS 7 MILLION DOLLAR GEM      Fr3 3 Brett Woodhouse Gavin Fitzpatrick 10.20 $ 22.50   PRBT 8 ROYAL STORY      Fr5 5 Bernie Hewitt Bernie Hewitt 26.30 $ 13.90   3WE WF 9 RUBIES FOR TASH      Fr8 8 Bruce Harpley Bruce Harpley 41.50 $ 32.40   PRBT GS 10 SHEZALLAPPLES      Fr2 2 David Thorn Jim Douglass 42.80 $ 6.40   VXAR QUER Scratchings   HIGH ROLLING 10 IM ALL COURAGE 12 Track Rating: GOOD   Gross Time: 1:52:2 Mile Rate: 1:52:2 First Quarter: 26.9 Second Quarter: 29.4 Third Quarter: 27.9 Fourth Quarter: 28 Margins: HD x 6.9m  

JAMES Rattray can only smile at the thought . . . could he be as good as Beautide. Rattray's superstar three-year-old pacer Ignatius had just blown away his rivals in the NSW Breeders Challenge three-year-old colts and geldings final. Taking his record to 14 wins from 15 starts, the James Rattray trained-and-driven youngster thrashed his rivals with a 1:51.3 mile to score a 12.4m win over Picard with Mackeral one and a quarter metres away third. The first challenge for Ignatius occurred when the starter said go. As predicted, Todd McCarthy and Picard had a dip for the lead and for a fleeting moment looked as if they might actually cross before Rattray got serious and Ignatius held him out before they reached the first corner. Realistically the race was as good as over there and then as Rattray was able to dictate terms to suit himself, after the 27.1 opening split he backed off the speed with a 29.8 sectional leaving plenty of petrol in the tank for the dash home. Ignatius turned for home in front before Rattray lowered the handlebars and Ignatius virtually left them standing as he zoomed home to win as he liked with a 54.4s last half. Picard did it tough and did well to hang on for second while the other eye-catching run of the race was The Bus (Chris Geary) who came from near last to run fourth although nothing could be taken away from the winner . . . who just might turn out to be as good as the Rattray family's champion predecessor Beautide, a winner of two Inter Dominions and a Miracle Mile. That might be a big pair of shoes to fill - but at least Ignatius is trying them on for size. Earlier in the afternoon sensational three-year-old filly Goodtime Heaven earned her stripes with a stunning win in her $100,000 Breeders Challenge three-year-old fillies final. Unbeaten this preparation, Goodtime Heaven did what many thought might be too great a task, she sat outside the plucky Molly Kelly (Chris Alford) for the entire journey and still had enough energy to grab her in the shadows of the post and score a one-and-a-half metre victory. Up and coming Victorian reinsman Glen Craven pointed out that he had been making something of an annual pilgrimage to Menangle to drive in the Breeders Challenge series. Yet this was the first time he would be able to go home with the lion's share of the prizemoney after snaring an elusive Group One for rookie trainer Courtney Slater. And Slater herself, delighted at annexing her first Group One, pointed out that she was starting to miss her husband after being away for three weeks with their stable star. "I can't wait to get back home now but I have to admit Goodtime Heaven is a magnificent filly and hopefully there are plenty of good times ahead for us with her."   Mandy Madern     5 2:47pm VINCENT NSW BREEDERS CHALLENGE THREE-YEAR-OLD COLTS & GELDINGS FINAL (GROUP 1) 1609M $150,000 3YO Colts and Geldings. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 IGNATIUS      Fr3 3 James Rattray James Rattray   $ 1.04 fav  PRBT GS L SWAB   BAY GELDING 3 by ROLL WITH JOE USA out of ASHKALINI (ART MAJOR USA)  Owner(s): L J (Lyrae) Graham  Breeder(s): Rattray Family Trust 2 PICARD      Fr8 10 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy 12.30 $ 11.60   PRBT GS SWAB 3 MACKERAL      Fr2 2 Bernie Hewitt Bernie Hewitt 13.60 $ 35.60   PRBT SWAB 4 THE BUS      Fr9 11 Mark Jones Chris Geary 14.40 $ 43.60   RAS 5 WAR DAN      Fr6 8 Amanda Turnbull Nathan Jack 15.00 $ 21.50   GS 6 EVERYBODYLOVEDRAY      Fr1 1 David Thorn Jim Douglass 17.40 $ 35.80   PRBT 7 BELLA BALL TERROR      Fr10 12 Dennis Picker Dennis Picker 17.60 $ 62.20   PRBT RAS 8 LEXUS WITH A VIEW      Fr7 9 Paul Fitzpatrick Sean Grayling 19.00 $ 199.60   PRBT RAS 9 BRACKEN SKY      Fr5 7 Blake Fitzpatrick Blake Fitzpatrick 22.20 $ 117.60     10 AINTNOBETTOR      Fr4 4 Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 31.70 $ 97.30     Scratchings   ROCKNLACHLAN 5 ASHARK 6  

Strap yourself in for a magical Len Smith Mile at Menangle next Sunday. Sure the Group 1 Len Smith Mile itself will take centre stage with the likes of My Field Marshal, Soho Tribeca, Majordan, Match In Heaven and others doing battle. But there will be so many delicious side dishes through the NSW Breeders Challenge finals. The biggest names in action include Australia’s most exciting three-year-old Ignatius and gun former Kiwi four-year-old Let it Ride. Ignatius, who upstaged Sicario to win the Breeders Challenge 2YO final last season, has been sparingly raced since, but extended his record to 13 wins and a third from just 14 starts. His Penrith win two starts had many seasoned experts saying he was the sport’s next big thing. And there is a lovely symmetry with former dual Inter Dominion winner Beautide, having started his in career for Rattray clan in Tasmania before moving to Jimmy Rattray’s Menangle stable. Rattray had an armchair drive on Ignatius in their Breeders Challenge semi last night (Saturday), working to the front, dictating terms then ripping home in 55.1 and 27.0sec to win under a hold by 6.2m in a 1min53.1sec mile. Importantly, the other semi was won in a quicker 1min52.6sec by Kevin Pizzuto’s Picard, but Ignatius sat parked outside him and crushed him in that heat of the series at Penrith. Everything points to Ignatius easily winning the final and then focus turning to whether Rattray heads to the Queensland Derby or waits to focus on the Breeders Crown. Let It Ride stamped himself as the one to beat in a strong four-year-old Breeders Challenge division with a narrow, but impressive semi-final win. Anthony Butt snagged him to last from a wide draw and had to sustain a long three-wide run to beat a gallant and underrated leader San Domino in a 1min51.4sec mile. Let It Ride was clocked to run a staggering 54.1sec last half, out three-wide for much of it. But this will be a strong final with the tough Atomic Red doing a power of work and still proving too strong for stablemate Joes Star Of Mia in a 1min51.6sec mile. The other key Breeders Challenge final will see Victorian raiders Hardhitter and Lochinvar Art head the betting in the two-year-old colts and geldings division.   Adam Hamilton

THE barrier draws for the Alabar Breeders Challenge Three-Year-Old Finals were conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight.   Semi-Finals for this age group were held earlier in the evening and were taken out by Redbank Addi (pictured), Goodtime Heaven, Picard and Ignatius.   The $150,000 Group 1 Alabar Breeders Challenge Finals will be held at Menangle on Sunday July 1.   ALABAR BREEDERS CHALLENGE BARRIER DRAWS JUNE 23, 2018   MEDIA RELEASE   ALABAR BREEDERS CHALLENGE 3YO COLTS & GELDINGS FINAL 1 Everybodylovedray 2 Mackeral 3 Ignatius 4 Aintnobetter 5 Rocknlachlan (EM2) 6 Ashark (EM1) 7 Bracken Sky 8 War Dan 9 Lexus With A View 10 Picard 11 The Bus 12 Bella Ball Terror   ALABAR BREEDERS CHALLENGE 3YO FILLIES FINAL   1 Molly Kelly 2 Rocknroll Pearl 3 Island Banner 4 Redbank Addi 5 Art Series (EM2) 6 Love My Sister 7 Callmequeenbee 8 Red Charmer 9 War Dan Bad Girl 10 Black Silhouette 11 Goodtime Heaven 12 Cobbity Chic (EM1)   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER  

HARNESS Racing New South Wales, along with Club Menangle, will introduce a schedule of races for all mares at metropolitan meetings.   This compliments the state-wide strategy for additional fillies and mares events as previously announced.   Prizemoney for these Tabcorp Park Menangle races will start at $20,000 for Division 1, $14,000 for Division 2 and $9,000 for Division 3.   The $14,000 Division 2 purse is additional to the prizemoney offered by Club Menangle and is funded by HRNSW, with these races also being additional to the set race program.   The top 10 mares on prizemoney won last five starts will race for $20,000, the next 10 mares (11 to 20) for $14,000 on Saturday nights and the next 12 (21 to 32) for $9,000 on Tuesdays.   This initiative is based on stakeholder feedback and the desire to provide opportunities for mares to race their own sex for higher levels of prizemoney according to HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny.   “When you consider the bare facts that near 40 per cent of the racing pool are mares, additional opportunities must be created,” Dumesny said.   “In conjunction to what Club Menangle already offers, there will be an additional $28,000 on offer each month for these mares’ races from HRNSW funding.   “With the support of trainers through nominations, that could equate to $336,000 for the year and extra races for mares to the normal program.   “A benefit which owners of interstate based mares should seize is that from July 1 all mares despite their assess- ment, will be eligible to enter these Menangle races.”   Like the current metropolitan handicapping system, the field selection and barrier positions in these mares-only races will be based on prizemoney won in the last five starts.   A trial period of three months will begin from July where mares-only races will be programmed at Tabcorp Park Menangle fortnightly.   This initiative compliments the recently announced $288,000 state-wide program of additional races for fillies and mares on standard eight-race programs at tracks other than Tabcorp Park Menangle.   These fillies and mares races are guaranteed with six original nominations and will be programmed every week throughout the season from region to region.   For further information please click here.     AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER  

MENANGLE Park to Bathurst is amore than a three hour float trip but it’s been a worthwhile excursion on many occasions lately for KerryAnn Turner and Robbie Morris, when bringing well-graded horses over the mountains to Gold Crown Paceway. Last week’s trip produced a three-from-three result for driver Robbie Morris, in successive races. He scored with Milwaukee Stryder for Londonderry trainer Richard Camilleri, before adding a double for his and Turner’s stable with Stormont Star and Kleened Out NZ. With the driving duties completed after race four, and back on the road for the downhill run home  before seven o’clock, he would have been doubly pleased, by the perfect result and the prospect of being tucked up in bed well before midnight. Milwaukee Stryder cleared maiden ranks at start 17. After leading early, Morris handed up to Karloo Bentwofifty, and he came out of that trail rounding the home turn to draw level with the leader, grabbing him right on the line in a slogging finish, with a 58.2s last half and a  1:56.7 mile rate. Stormont Star began well from the middle of the second line in a C1 sprint and was well positioned in the leading division, launching his claim with a 28.1s third quarter before holding off the closing Lucky Lyla in 29.7s for a sharp 1:55.7 victory. The winner, a half-brother to the top-class Stormont Czar which races out of the stable,  is owned by Robbie’s mother Margaret, making this second Bathurst win even more enjoyable for the driver, who believes the horse has a nice future. “And I’m a fan of his sire For A Reason, which is doing a good job, with a number of nice horses,” he added. Although clocking in fractionally slower, in a C2-C3 sprint, Kleened Out NZ was the most impressive winner of the meeting, sitting outside the well-performed Callmequeenbee and upping the ante over a gruelling 56.2s final half before forging clear in the straight from Snoop Stride, which worked home well. Despite the strong support for the local filly, which was looking for a hat-trick, Morris was expecting a strong performance from his horse, and drove him accordingly. “I thought as a five-year-old he had the edge in race experience and toughness over Mat Rue’s nice filly, and he’d put in some very good runs recently down at Menangle. I considered this race suited him really well, and I’m certainly not surprised by the win,” he indicated on returning to scale. And that long drive he makes most weeks? “ It’s a fair hike, but I’m not complaining. It’s no different for Steve, or Bernie, when they bring their horses to race at Menangle, and they do it every week, some weeks even twice,” he acknowledged. Other winners at a true mid-winter meeting up on the tablelands: Jeradas Delight, strongly supported into favouritism in 3YO fillies class, and bringing up a hat-trick courtesy of Mark Hewitt’s classy drive - gradually working his way inside and outside into the race before bursting clear - that earned him the Drive of the Night award from racecaller Luke Marlow Volaticus (John O’Shea for Ed Collins ), sitting in the death and far too good for his  maiden opponents  at start number 18, his last half in 57.3s suggesting that he’ll be winning more races in coming starts for his very popular owner/trainer Navua Girl, for Steve Turnbull in the first  of two 2YO fillies events, well deserved after being runner-up at her previous three starts, and the Sportswriter daughter likely to have another couple of runs before going for a spell Soundslikeart (Gemma/Mat Rue ) in the second division, scoring her second win in succession by leading throughout, and a blistering 27.1s final quarter enabling the Art Major youngster to romp in for the easiest win of the night Captain Cosmonaut (Chris Frisby/ Amanda Turnbull ),the three-year-old enjoying a change of tactics in this CO sprint, sitting back in the field and set loose over the final 600 metres in one sustained run, remarkably Amanda’s only drive of the night. Some meritorious individual performances, from both horses and drivers, but without question, the honours belonged with Robbie Morris. Over the hill (literally) and far away the best of the night.   Terry Neil

The barrier draws for the Alabar Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Finals were conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. Semi-Finals for this age group were held earlier in the evening with reinsman Luke McCarthy winning three of the deciders. This included both colts and geldings Semi-Finals with Lochinvar Art and Hardhitter while McCarthy also drove Rollin With Holly to victory in one of the fillies Semi-Finals. The Wayne Sullivan trained and driven Cee Cee Armbro won the other fillies Semi-Final. The $125,000 Group 1 Alabar Breeders Challenge Finals will be held at Menangle on Sunday July 1.   Alabar Breeders Challenge 2YO Colts & Geldings Final   1 Leonidas 2 Make Mine Memphis 3 Mach Le More 4 Lochinvar Art 5 Hardhitter 6 Shoobee Doo 7 Tsunami Charlie (EM2) 8 First String (EM1) 9 Animal 10 Hurricane Roy 11 Muscle Factory 12 Rainbow Comet       Alabar Breeders Challenge 2YO Fillies Final   1 Belongtolou 2 Kept In Play 3 Delightful Jackie 4 Miss Halfpenny 5 Taylors Mill 6 Kiamasrosie (EM1) 7 Casuarina Belmer 8 Ally Rogan (EM2) 9 Cee Cee Ambro 10 Lady Swiss 11 Rollin With Holly 12 Sheeza Malteeza     AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

The mantle is up for grabs and Mick Stanley is doing his best to claim it with Soho Tribeca. Lazarus was Australasia’s undisputed top pacing seed and now the door is open. Right now you’d say My Field Marshal just holds the tag, but Soho Tribeca is right there with him and the next few weeks could change everything. Fittingly, both pacers are in action this weekend: Soho Tribeca resumes from a spell as a $1.50 Aussie TAB in the Italian Cup (2240m) at Melton at 8.57pm NZ time on Saturday night. Little more than an hour later, My Field Marshal is a $1.70 favourite despite drawing out in gate 10 in the $30,000 Golden Mile at Menangle. It two weeks they come together in the Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle. The last time they clashed at Menangle, My Field Marshal finished over the top of Soho Tribeca in an Australasian record 1min46.9sec. Soho Tribeca was, however, the run of the race after sitting parked, doing all the work and finishing less than a neck from My Field Marshal. Trainer Mick Stanley says Soho Tribeca is primed for his return this week and can’t wait to get to Sydney, then onto the Queensland Winter Carnival for the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake. “He’s ready to race for sure. He has been working up super. Sure he will better for the hitout, but it will have him spot-on for Sydney,” he said. “He’s so ready, he’ll just need this one lead-up run. “From Sydney, he’ll head to the Sunshine Sprint (July 14) and Blacks A Fake (July 21).” If there is an X-factor in this quest for Australasian’s top pacing seed it is surely Chariots Of Fire winner and Miracle Mile runner-up Jilliby Kung Fu. Sadly he missed the Harness Jewels after a minor setback, but the gun four-year-old resumes in a race he should win for fun at Shepparton tomorrow night. If he wins well, the focus will turn to whether trainer Marg Lee sends him straight to Sydney for the Len Smith Mile second-up from a break. Adam Hamilton

Luke McCarthy knew the time had come.  As he drove Bling It On back off the Menangle track last night (Saturday), he knew it was the last time the superstar pacer would contest a race.  It was Bling It On’s 86th and final race start. A staggering 49 of them were at Group level.  He retires with 45 wins, 20 placings and earnings of $1,656,656.  “He went to this race as a D-day. He needed to go really well to continue on and he didn’t,” McCarthy said. “We made excuses for him first-up and then trialled quite well, but he didn’t do enough last time. It’s the right time to retire him.  “The timing works well actually. The breeding season isn’t far away. He served 130 mares when he was at stud recovering from his injuries last year and hopefully he can get another 100 mares or so this year to give him a chance to make an impact as a stallion.”  McCarthy quickly declared the 2017 Hunter Cup as Bling It On’s greatest moment on the track.  “That was the most special to me, but there were so many others. His Queensland Derby win, that Breeders Crown win as a two-year-old and that Gold Coast Cup where he won and smashed the track record,” he said.  “He was such a great horse from day one and just about all of his runs were against top opposition.”  McCarthy was proudest of how Bling It On recovered from horrific injuries sustained in a fall at Albion Park on June 17, 2017.  “I still look back at the photos of the injuries to his knees and wonder how he made it back to the races,” McCarthy said.  “To think he came back and won his first three starts and went 1min50.8sec in one of them, which was his career-best.  “You can only marvel when a horse can comeback from that and still be so good.  “I’m really looking forward to seeing the impact he make at stud. He’s from such a great family with Baby Bling and now Bletchley Park along as a few others. He’s got everything going for him.”   Adam Hamilton

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