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Ben Aubron is an integral part of the powerful Yabby Dam Racing operation in Cardigan, where the Frenchman plays a key role in the education of the yard's "babies" at the state-of-the-art stable and stud complex. And the 27-year-old was able to celebrate an extra special success on Saturday night when the one horse trained under his name saluted in the Club Menangle NSW Trotters Derby (2400m), when Xebec captured Group 2 glory at just his seventh run for Aubron. "To win a race like that ... we worked so hard to do this. We wake up in the morning dreaming about this, to win some big race like this," he said. "I think I've got a really nice horse." Picture: Ben Aubron salutes as Xebec claims Group 2 glory. Picture: Ashlea Brennan Photography. A far-reaching combination of nationalities helped achieve the triumph, with New Zealander Jack MacKinnon at the controls for the French trainer. MacKinnon settled Xebec back in the field for much of the trip and then capitalised on the early speed to run down front-runner and Yabby Dam rival All Cashed Up. In the end, Xebec raced clear to score by more than seven metres, with the Orlando Vici gelding rocketing home to pip All Cashed Up for second.  The win - at the bolter's price of $31 - came on the back of his maiden victory at Maryborough just a fortnight earlier. Xebec has now won two and placed in another two of his 10 career outings, the first three of which were for Yabby Dam's head trainer Anton Golino. Aubron said the plan was to now send the horse back to Menangle on May 25 for another Group 2, the Trots NSW 3YO Final. It's a further sign of doors opening for Aubron, who arrived in Australia close to five years ago primarily as a monte rider and joined Yabby Dam Racing after an initial stint with Craig Demmler. "It's really different from back home, the racing, but it's a really good country and good people," he said.   Tim O'Connor for Trots Media

Electrifying two-year-old harness racing filly Pelosi, who has set tongues wagging with some astonishing performances in recent weeks, has pulled up as bright as a button from her first Group One success. Owner-breeder Wayne Honan said the horse would now be aimed at the New South Wales Breeders' Challenge series, which culminates with a $125,000 final at Menangle on June 30. "There's heats at Newcastle and then semi-finals leading into the big one. So, all going well, there's exciting times ahead. After that she will head for a spell," Honan said. "We always thought she would be something special because she looked the goods from day one, being well-gaited and unlike a few others in that breeding, didn't brush her knee. "Anna (Woodmansey) has done an exceptional job in training Pelosi. She only has two in work (the other being Photozen), but she is so thorough and spends every spare minute with them. And I have to say that both horses can be a bit 'different' at times." Owner-breeder of Pelosi Wayne Honan with trainer Anna Woodmansey --Dan Costello photo The impeccably bred Pelosi (American Ideal USA-For Dear Life (Life Sign USA) is now the fastest filly Queensland has ever produced. She scored the biggest win of her short career when successful in last Saturday night's $150,000 APG 2YO final at Albion Park. Prepared at Chambers Flat by hobby trainer Anna Woodmansey, who works in a high school administration office, Pelosi has now won four of her five lifetime starts. While the win provided Woodmansey and popular reinsman John Cremin with their first ever Group One victories, Honan has been one of Australia's most successful trainer-drivers over the years. In the heady days of the 1970s and 80s, Honan and his late legendary father Jack, of Killarney Stud, Canowindra, were a formidable team, preparing big teams of up to 35 horses. "One of our first decent horses I can recall was a mare named Fine Jade. She won the Queensland Oaks and then went onto be the dam of Prince Jade ($114,921), Genesee ($58,211), Glens Fine Jade ($25,110) as well as some others," Honan said. "As well as the Canowindra stables, we also had a property near the late and great Ron Peace at Donnybrook, near Melbourne. "The recent Brisbane wins brought back some fond memories because we made many trips north with our horses to the annual Winter Carnival over the years. We'd be based at Albion Park, but would also compete at Redcliffe and even down to Tweed Heads on the Queensland/New South Wales border. "We made a lot of friends and won some nice races during those campaigns." Pelosi comes from a successful family line boasting outstanding Group race victories, but gets her name from American congresswoman, the energetic and determined Nancy Pelosi. The 79-year-old was first elected in 2007 and is now in her third term as the speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Honan said the name seemed a fitting one for the feisty daughter of American Ideal. "From what I can see, Nancy gives President Trump heaps - she goes hard and wants to be the best. So there's a bit of meaning there," he said. For Dear Life, dam of Pelosi, was a brilliant racehorse, winning 14 races from 28 starts for over $322,000. And grand dam, the Stature mare Express Post, was exceptionally fast. "When I won the Pink Bonnet with her at Harold Park, she lowered the previous race record by three seconds. She was awesome and ended up with 11 wins from 18 starts," Honan said. In the breeding barn, Express Post was a sensation. Petousa (by Western Hanover) won $180,000 in stakes, stallion Flightpath (Artsplace) won nearly $290,000 before retiring to stand at stud and For Dear Life (Life Sign) won $322,000. Honan retains Petousa, while Moama horseman Tony Peacock has For Dear Life at his St Fort property. For Dear Life has an Always B Miki weanling colt and will be served by American Ideal this coming season. Pelosi, driver John Cremin, Anna Woodmansey and Wayne Honan --Dan Costello photo  For John Cremin, recognized as one of the Sunshine State's favorite sons, the APG Group One win was much deserved. "Cremmo", as he's known, who turns 56 next Sunday (coincidentally the same day wife Tanya celebrates her birthday) got an early present he won't forget for a long time. "I've probably been driving for nearly 40 years, so I was overdue for a win in a Group One. I guess Pelosi is proof that you're never too old as far as a driver goes!" he said. "Perhaps some might say that my years of experience are now paying off. But as a young fella I wouldn't have handled horses with little idiosyncrasies like her. With a little bit of age and experience it's finally come to me!" Cremin was quick to label Pelosi as the best of her age that's he's ever driven. "She's definitely by far the best - the complete package. She relaxes beautifully and is so versatile. My only worry is to keep her out of trouble," he said. Cremin, who trains a team of six as well as being a respected farrier, is looking forward to the coming NSW campaign for Pelosi with the memory of a Newcastle win under his belt with Home of Jack in the Cup in December 2005. Watch the Pelosi win video replay here!   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Pacing great Lazarus is going to stand at stud in New South Wales in one of the most radical deals in the history of harness racing. But while he will be based in Australia for his Southern Hemisphere breeding career, New Zealand breeders will still have the cheapest access in the world to the recently-retired pacing hero. Lazarus was the dominant pacer in Australasia until sold to United States thoroughbred breeding giant Taylor Made Stallions last year and he went on to become the second best free-for-all pacer in North America during a short campaign there. He is serving a full book (140 mares) in the United States at US$10,000 and after negotiations with several leading Down Under stud farms he will stand at Yerribee Stud in Wagga, New South Wales. But that isn't the radical part of the Lazarus deal as his Southern Hemisphere breeding rights haven't been purchased by a stud or individual but by Club Menangle, who run the Menangle harness racing track. The deal sees Club Menangle buy Lazarus's Australasian breeding rights for life which would see them keep profits until their initial investment is paid back and then any service fees after that will be split with Taylor Made. The move will stun harness racing insiders, who often shy away from thinking outside the square, but looks smart business on two fronts. Not only should Lazarus be popular at stud and looks certain to end up making Club Menangle money but his presence in NSW will give them a glamour stallion prospect at a time when state bosses there are trying to reinvigorate the local breeding industry. That will also boost the depth of all NSW racing series and Club Menangle are certain to give the champion Lazarus huge exposure. He will stand there at an initial fee of A$10,000 plus GST but be available to New Zealand breeders at the slightly cheaper fee of $10,000 plus GST. Just as importantly, Lazarus will be paid up for the New Zealand Sires' Stakes stallion eligibility scheme so his New Zealand foals will have the same local opportunities as foals sired by stallions based in New Zealand. Club Menangle chief executive Bruce Christison says he was thrilled to get the deal signed. "The Club sees this as both an investment for ourselves but also in the breeding industry in NSW," said Christison. "And we believe the breeding incentives already put in place by HRNSW combined with the Lazarus name will ensure this is an outstanding success." Lazarus is expected to arrive in Australia in August.   Michael Guerin

IT WAS ‘crunch time’ in more ways than one at Tabcorp Park Menangle yesterday. With heats of the rich Australian Pacing Gold series being conducted, only the winners are guaranteed a berth in the Group One Final. The $350,000 decider is scheduled to be conducted at Albion Park on May 11. To trainer Rickie Alchin’s delight his representative - Crunch Time – was triumphant in his qualifier. “He went well…I’m very happy with him,” Alchin said. “I’ve always had a bit of an opinion of him, but he just hasn’t been performing as he should. “He’s been working like nice horse, but at Bathurst he didn’t race to his work. “I gave him a couple weeks off and changed work a bit and he put the right foot forward yesterday.” Driven by Alchin, Crunch Tim began quickly to lead from barrier four before being eased to take a trail behind the previously unbeaten Star Hunter during the middle stages. Gaining an opening along the pegs at the top of the home straight, the son of Somebeachsomewhere reclaimed the front in the shadows of the post to score by a neck from Star Hunter. Smooth Bath was two-and-a-half metres away third. Causing a major upset at $51 to register his second win from six starts, Crunch Time covered the mile in 1:53.3 with his time almost five seconds quicker than Spy Major in the following qualifier. Trained by John McCarthy and driven by his son Todd, Spy Major also registered a narrow victory over Ilikemebettor and Fifteen Aces.   APG Media

EXCEPTIONALLY-BRED filly Keep Rockin is well placed to join her famous mum on a Group One honour roll next month. Thanks to her victory at Tabcorp Park Menangle this afternoon Keep Rockin has earned a berth in the Australian Pacing Gold Final. The $350,000 decider is scheduled to be conducted at Albion Park on May 11. By Rock N Roll Heaven, Keep Rockin is from former outstanding filly Kept For Pleasure, which was retired with 19 wins and 10 seconds from 37 starts for earnings of $542,343. Kept For Pleasure, which has become a prolific producing broodmare, captured four Group Ones, including the 2007 APG Final at Albion Park. Keep Rockin is prepared by Michael Doltoff who trained Kept For Pleasure to secure the Final. “Her mum won the APG in Queensland so hopefully this filly can do it too,” Doltoff said. “She’s got her share of ability, but has a long way to go before she can be compared to her mother. “A win in the Final will certainly move her closer.” Driven by Michael Towers, Keep Rockin was eased away from barrier five to settle mid field as Michelle Lee Mac led and the five runners travelled in ‘Indian file’. Gaining the one-one trip along the back straight as Gee Gee Blinxs was taken to the ‘death seat’, Keep Rockin was angled three-wide at the top of the home straight before sprinting to a five-and-a-half metre win from the pacemaker. Gee Gee Blinxs fought on to be 18 metres away third. “She’s run second at her last three starts so has been building up to that,” Doltoff said. “After getting the kind of run she did she was always going to be hard to hold out.” Breaking her maiden at her sixth start, the two-year-old covered the mile in 1:56.4, with her time six-tenths of a second slower than Roscommon Rose in the following heat. Trained and driven by David Hewitt, the daughter of Art Major was two-back along the pegs from barrier four before gaining an opening halfway along the home straight. Unleashing a strong sprint Roscommon Rose grabbed the lead in the last stride to score by a head from Smooth Style, with Sheza Mamacita a half-neck away third. Unplaced upon debut, Roscommon Rose caused an upset as an $18 shot.   APG Media

Master harness racing trainer Noel Daley, who stamped himself as one of the all-time greats in North America over nearly three decades, has kicked off his Australian career in the best possible way.   Daley, private trainer for leviathan owners Emilio and Mary Rosati, of Sydney, landed a Menangle winner yesterday in three-year-old gelding Typhoon Stride (Bettors Delight-Beach Parade (Beach Towel).   “It was so good to get the monkey off my back,” an elated Daley said.   “The horse won a trial recently and his work since has been first class, so I guess we were hopeful of a good showing,” he said.   After being shot to an early lead, Typhoon Stride was well rated by stable reinsman, former Queenslander Leonard Cain.   Posting a slick first split of 26.1, Cain eased his foot off the accelerator for comfortable 30.6 and 29.7 sections, before cranking it up again with a final quarter of 27.4. He got home by a neck in a mile rate of a 1.53.8.     Daley said he was thrilled by the performance of the youngster who would improve greatly from the first-up race start.   “Typhoon Stride hadn’t started for over 12 months after kicking his career off with two runs in Victoria, and Leonard (driver) told me that he dragged a punctured wheel for the final 600 metres,” he said.   “So, taking all of that into consideration, the pacer went very well.”   While Typhoon Stride did his best, Daley was disappointed with his other starter Paramount Stride, who finished near the tailenders for James Rattray.   “When we worked the two the other day, not much separated them. Probably all I can say is one went very well on race day…and the other not so well,” Daley said.   “It was bad luck for James. I wanted Paramount Stride to go okay for him because we have been good mates for quite some time.   “He spent maybe two years with us in America and drove winners for our stable.”   Daley is renting stables at the Menangle Training Centre, while a state-of-the-art training establishment is being organised by Rosati.   “Emilio has planned every aspect of it, but sometimes these projects take longer to complete than expected,” Daley said.   “But I can say that I can’t wait for it to be finally up and ready to go – it’s going to be a great setup.”   Daley said his numbers at the training centre had increased to 17 horses when he was permitted to have more stables.   “There’s a big bunch of maiden class horses in the team and at least three or four others will be racing soon,” he said.   “A lightly raced four-year-old in Arctic Stride will compete at Penrith this Thursday and then we may have another runner at Menangle next week.   “Arctic Stride has one win and a placing from four starts, but he went nicely in a recent trial.”   Daley said that he had settled into the Sydney environment without a problem. “I’m loving it, and more importantly, so is my six-year-old son Max,” he said.   Daley prepared a remarkable 2570 USA winners, which ranks 20 th among all trainers in harness racing history and his total purse of more than $61 million ranks sixth.   Others to have won more money are Ron Burke, Jimmy Takter, Robert McIntosh, Erv Miller and Mark Ford.   Being based mainly in Bordentown, New Jersey, a little over an hour from New York, Daley prepared such greats as Mr Muscleman (his favorite and his springboard to success), along with Broad Bahn, Cedar Dove, Caviart Alley, My Little Dragon, Explosive Matter and others.     Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura  

The "go" button has been pressed on a harness racing $10 million project to completely transform a once popular Macarthur watering hole. A lengthy process to obtain all necessary development approvals has been finalised and tomorrow morning, weather permitting, builders and a bevy of construction workers will descend on the Horse and Jockey Inn site at Menangle Park. If all goes to plan, former patrons, other locals and Sydney day-trippers alike will be able to enjoy a beer at the new-look venue by the end of September. The makeover is stage one of Club Menangle's ambitious plan to build a large entertainment precinct from the Inn all the way back to Tabcorp Park.    The wait is almost over: The site of the old Horse and Jockey Inn which was bought by Club Menangle. Picture: Chris Lane   Eventually, the precinct will contain a second club, hotel, movie theatre, bowling alleys and an indoor sporting complex. The pub has not traded since 2015 when NSW Harness Racing bought the site. Club Menangle chief executive Bruce Christison said much effort had gone into ensuring the revamped venue would have broad appeal, with multiple dining and bar facilities able to cater for casual and formal gatherings. The kitchen will be set up to cater for 500 sit-down diners across a 200-seat function room, a formal restaurant and casual dining areas on the upper and lower terraces. "We've been focused on creating a destination venue without losing the country pub feel," he said. "In the past, the inn was weather challenged and if the weather was wet or cold people didn't come." Mr Christison said inclement weather wouldn't be a problem in the future with louvred roofs covering the outside terraced areas. Menangle Park is home now to just 257 people but planned housing development will bring thousands of people to the area within a few years, a detail not lost on Mr Christison who expects the new complex will be popular with new residents. "We will be there when the first houses in the new estates are built," he said. " Usually something like this comes a long time after residents move in." Mr Christison said historic Menangle House, located at the front of the site, would remain untouched and protected during construction works. He said possible future uses for Menangle House were being considered but no decision was likely for some time. "We will be guided by what our patrons and local residents want us to do," he said. "There are lots of ideas being thrown about, it could be a wine or whiskey bar, a day spa even a wonderful entrance to our function centre. Watch the videos below to experience a virtual walk though showing what the revamped venue will look like once complete. The Horse and Jockey Inn - new-look exterior   Horse and Jockey Inn - new-look interiors   By Roma Dickins   Reprinted with permission of The Camden Advertiser

THE New South Wales harness racing scene has attracted yet another top driver. With an influx of interstate and international trainers and drivers now calling the state home, young reinsman Leonard Cain is the latest to be added to this list. Born and raised in Queensland, the 19-year-old driver has established his driving career in the Sunshine State. In only three seasons of driving, Cain has thrust himself amongst the top 10 drivers in Queensland and is now looking for a new challenge. “I’ve had good success in Queensland but it’s now time to make the next move,” said Cain. Having already driven more than 150 winners in his succinct career, Cain is eager to make his name in NSW. “I will be in Sydney now and willing to drive for any and everyone and I’m more than happy to travel for race meetings,” he said. So much so, Cain had his first drive since relocating south at the new Riverina Paceway at Wagga Wagga yesterday. And today, Cain is traveling many kilometres to make his driving commitments at Newcastle this afternoon. Cain will drive the Melanie Elder-trained Days End in race eight and earned a couple of other catch drives as well. He has also locked in a drive with the Tim Butt-trained Denstown at Menangle tomorrow afternoon. Cain drove for the Miracle Mile-winning trainer at Wagga on Sunday when partnering with Italian Delight to finish third. Ironically, Cain’s main motive to make the move to Sydney was for Italian-born owner Emilio Rosati. Cain will drive for the big-spending owner and will also work on the farm Rosati is establishing in Sydney’s South West. Joining Cain for that mission is North American trainer Noel Daley, who will be a private trainer for Rosati. Daley has just returned from a 29-year stint training horses in the United States.  Also born in Queensland, Daley had success with 2570 winners while training in North America. Others that have relocated to NSW recently on a permanent basis include New Zealand brothers Tim and Anthony Butt as well as Queenslanders Lachie Manzelmann and Isobel Ross.   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Singleton's Aaron Goadsby says The Bus will now target the NSW Breeders Challenge series and Brisbane harness racing winter carnival after claiming the opening race of Saturday night's Miracle Mile meeting at Menangle.  The four-year-old horse won the $25,000 listed Lady Drivers Invitational (1609 metres) in a career-best, mile-rate of one minute and 51 seconds.  Goadsby, who prepares runners for New Zealand-based trainer Mark Jones, was again impressed with the Golden Guitar runner-up. "He has been going good and that was a good result," he said. Since arriving in Australia around four months ago The Bus has started nine times - six wins, two seconds and a third. The group 1 Miracle Mile was won by four-year-old gelding Spankem. By Josh Callinan Repprinted with permission of The Newcastle Herald

IF EVER a horse had earned a Group One victory this season, it had to be Bathurst pacer Our Uncle Sam. After chasing home Tiger Tara in the Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup finals, Our Uncle Sam and Anthony Frisby had no such hurdle tonight as the pair wore down the leader Majordan in the straight before going on to score a half-neck win over the fast-finishing Ellmers Image (Amanda Turnbull) with Majordan (Todd McCarthy) clinging on for third in the Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All. Settling in third and fourth place in the run, Frisby knew he had Majordan covered as they turned for home while Turnbull was angling through along the pegs to make a late dash at the winner. It was Western Districts reinsman Anthony Frisby's first Group One win and he gave their Perthville team full credit for the win. "Dad (Chris) has been down here all week with this horse and he settled in really well but I have to give full credit to the team back at home," said Anthony. "Without them success like this just wouldn't be possible. "Certainly this horse deserves a win like this." With fast time the order of the night, Our Uncle Sam rated 1:52.3 in his win with an overall time of 2:47.5. If there was a disappointment in the race it was the horse many thought should have been invited into the Miracle Mile, New Zealand's Ashley Locaz. Driven the perfect race by Mark Purdon, Ashley Locaz settled in the one-out and one-back trail but couldn't catch the leaders in the straight, finishing a disappointing fourth, just ahead of Buster Brady.   Sean Vella SVella@clubmenangle.com.au

CHAMPION trainer Mark Purdon suggested he would have his ace mare Our Dream About Me fitter and ready to run the race of her life in tonight's Group One Ladyship Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. And Purdon wasn't kidding. Despite finishing second to Tell Me Tales at this track last week, Our Dream About Me looked a lot sharper and ready to roll at the south-western Sydney track tonight as she quickly took the lead from barrier two then defied all efforts to run her down. With Purdon himself in the sulky, Our Dream About Me dominated the best mares in Australasia to score a four-metre win in slashing 1:50.1, defeating the plucky Major Occasion (Anthony Frisby) with outsider Bridget Blue Chip (Lachie Manzelmann) a surprise third a half-head behind the runner-up. Our Dream About Me has now earned almost $1.4m in career earnings and gave Purdon his first win in what has become one of the highlight races on the Miracle Mile program each year. "She a special mare and it was a last minute decision to bring her here," explained Purdon after the race. "She had to find some of her best form to warrant the trip and she did that so we're glad we decided to proceed with talking this race. "She's done us proud and it was really an honour to win a race like this." Nothing could be taken away from the six-year-old mare and although her rivals chased hard they were in a different trace to this outstanding daughter of super-sire Bettors Delight. Sean Vella SVella@clubmenangle.com.au

THEY DOMINATE New Zealand harness racing like no-one ever has before them.   And the powerful All Stars stable struck gold in the first of the pacing group ones at Menangle tonight when outstanding filly Our Princess Tiffany scored a stunning all-the-way in in the $200,000 John Gibson Memorial NSW Oaks. Taken straight to the front from the six gate, Our Princess Tiffany scored her 11th win from just 13 starts and she did it in world record time for a pacing filly, rating a mile rate of 1:53.4 to score by an amazing 16.5m from Victorian Tangoingwithsierra (Todd McCarthy) with Arabella Star (Zac Phillips) another four and three-quarter metres back in third place. The danger to Our Princess Tiffany was expected to come from Emma Stewart's top three-year-old filly Kualoa, who was such a convincing winner in her heat of the Oaks last week. But the barrier worked against Kualoa, even though her reinsman Chris Alford wasted no time getting her into the action, jumping onto the back of Tangoingwithsierra with a lap to go and grabbing a three-wide cart in the race. She found the spot outside the leader but didn't have enough left to stay with the New Zealand filly as her reinsman Natalie Rasmussen put her foot on the gas pedal before the home turn. Our Princess Tiffany had them all off the bit and chasing in no time and increased the margin even further turning into the home stretch, rating her last half in 54.7s for the easiest of wins. Her rivals chased hard but were no match for this outstanding daughter of Art Major, who won as she liked, giving Rasmussen an early double and sounding a warning to rivals that the All Stars stable had come to town and they weren't here for the scenery. Co-trainer Mark Purdon doesn't usually go overboard about his horses but was more effervescent than ever about Our Princess Tiffany, suggesting she might turn out to be the best filly he has had in his care. A massive statement from New Zealand's biggest and most successful stable. Sean Vella SVella@clubmenangle.com.au    

CHAMPION trainer David Aiken might not have had a runner in this year's Miracle Mile, but that didn't stop the former premier NSW trainer from making an impact. Aiken took out the first of the big Group Ones at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight with promising trotter Big Jack Hammer. Now based in Victoria, but operating a satellite stable from Menangle, Big Jack Hammer came with a withering burst to score a neck win over second favourite Tough Monarch ($3.70) with War Dan Destroyer ($3.40 favourite) a further one metre back in third place in the Aquagait Trotters Mile. Ace reinsman Anthony Butt, filling in for Kima Frenning, had Big Jack Hammer perfectly poised one-out and one-back during the run before making his move well into the straight. While Tough Monarch's trainer-driver Rickie Alchin was nervously looking left and right for dangers from back in the field as he moved up to challenge turning for home, Alchin just knew there would be something coming from behind and no sooner had he found the front than Big Jack Hammer gathered him in and went on to score a comfortable victory in a 1:54.7 mile rate. Butt later explained: "We were off the bit and chasing at about the 800m mark but once I got the chance to get him in behind Rickie [Alchin, Tough Monarch] he picked up the bit again and I knew I had them covered." Earlier in the evening All Stars team co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen set the ball rolling for a big night for the stable when she scored an all-the-way win on four-year-old stallion The Bus. Trained by fellow New Zealand trainer Mark Jones, The Bus ($3.60) found the lead quickly from gate four and Rasmussen was able to dictate terms to suit herself with a 56s first half of the mile (splits of 28.7 and 27.3). The champion former Queensland reinswoman was then able to up the ante in the second half with quarters of 28.1s before running home in a slick 26.9s for a 1.7m win over The Wrangler (Kima Frenning) with Redbank Addi (Kate Gath) a further 1.2m back. The winner rated 1.51 and with three wins from his last four, the son of Art Major looks destined for better things. Sean Vella SVella@clubmenangle.com.au

A STUNNING track and class record by the Emma Stewart-trained Demon Delight has set up an enthralling NSW Derby next week after three heats were run at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight. Demon Delight set a world record over 2400m for a pacer, coming from fourth at the bell to beat the highly-rated Muscle Factory with a devastating sprint in the straight. While Victoria Derby winner Muscle Factory (Lauren Tritton) tried to kick away on the turn after racing without cover for most of the race, Amanda Turnbull brought Demon Delight with a mighty finish to score by an incredible eight and a quarter metres. That broke the mighty Smolda's world record over the 2400m journey, which was covered in 2:48.0 and a mile rate of 1:52.6. War Dan Delight (Luke McCarthy) was an eye-catching third and the front-running Hardhitter grabbed the final spot in the Derby by finishing the fastest fourth of the three heats. Earlier promising Victorian visitor Centenario set next week's NSW Derby on its' ear with what was at that stage, a world record run for a three-year-old in winning the first of the three heats. Taken straight to the front by master reinsman Chris Alford, Centenario bowled along in front with slick quarters of 29.3-28.9-28.5 and home in a stunning 25.8 to rate a slashing 1:54.3 mile rate, blitzing the previous record for a three-year-old set by Atomic Red. Centenario's task was made a little easier when second favourite Hurricane Harley (Amanda Turnbull) put in an impromptu gallop at the start before putting in sterling effort, coming from last to finishing third, with Malcolm's Rhythm finishing second after getting a lovely run behind the leader. The second Derby heat saw another Victorian visitor Laura Crossland win a spot in next week's rich final with her current stable star Lochinvar Art. Crossland signed up one of Australia's best reinsmen Luke McCarthy for the drive and the former Bathurst boy didn't let her down with a dashing all-the-way win with the son of Modern Art. McCarthy made his intentions clear right from the beginning and despite a wide draw, took Lochinvar Art straight to the top and dictated terms in a masterly display, rating 29.2 and 29.7 for his first two quarters of the mile, leaving plenty of petrol in the tank for the run home. With a third split of 28.8, Lochinvar Art then put the pedal to the metal and ran a 26s quarter to put his rivals to the sword, beating Max Delight (Todd McCarthy for David Aiken) and Fourbigmen (Chris Alford for Emma Stewart) with a 1:54.5 mile, just two-tenths of a second outside of Centenario's earlier track record run. The final field for the NSW Derby, with barrier draw to come, is Centenario, Malcolms Rhythm, Hurricane Harley, Lochinvar Art, Max Delight, Fourbigmen, Demon Delight, Muscle Factory, War Dan Delight and Hardhitter. FOR MORE INFORMATION TELEPHONE CLUB MENANGLE RACING MANAGER DAVID WONSON ON 0438-398-251.   Mandy Madern

BRING on Round Three! There is a horse that ain't too frightened of the mighty Tiger Tara . . . and his name is Thefixer. The New Zealand Cup winner darted up on the rails to beat Tiger Tara in November's New Zealand Cup and the Kiwi star, with star reinswoman Natalie Rasmussen aboard, was at it again at Menangle tonight winning the Allied Express Sprint, the first of two qualifying races for the Miracle Mile. Thefixer had to earn his stripes, coming from one-out and one-back to register another victory over Australia's best pacer, nabbing Tiger Tara right on the nine to score by a head in a 1:50.7 mile rate. While Tiger Tara will be revved up and ready for next week's return bout in the Ainsworth Miracle Mile, it was the way that Thefixer found the line which will have harness fans assured that next week's $1m Group One is anything but a one-horse race. Taken straight to the front by Todd McCarthy at the start from the inside barrier, it was expected to be a cakewalk for Tiger Tara, chasing his sixth win in succession. After a 28.1s first split of the mile, Todd was able to back off the speed with a 29.5 second split, suggesting the son of Bettors Delight would have too much pace in the run home. The speed went on with a 26.9 third split and as they dashed home in 26.2 Thefixer came with a dash and knuckled down over the last 100m to score by a head from 'The Tiger', with Cash N Flow (Luke McCarthy) one and three-quarter metres back in third place. The winner's stablemate Ashley Locaz was a close fourth. The second Sprint, the Canadian Club Sprint saw an upset right from the start when Kevin Pizzuto's other big hope Majordan bombed the start, losing almost 100m before finishing well out of the placings. The race went to New Zealand's No.1 stable, the All Stars, with Mark Purdon spearing Spankem straight to the front and leading all the way for an impressive victory. With little mid-race pressure, Purdon was able to back off the speed after a 26.1s first split with a 30.4 second quarter and a third split of just 29.4. That enabled the Bettors Delight four-year-old to dash home in 25.6s for a 1:51.5 mile rate in defeating outsider My Alpha Rock (Lauren Tritton) and the winner's stablemate Cruz Bromac (Natalie Rasmussen). That meant six of the eight spots in the Miracle Mile were decided with Club Menangle directors heading into conference to decide the rest of the field. Those already qualified were Newcastle Mile winner Yayas Hot Spot, Chariots Of Fire winner Poster Boy and the first two home in the two sprints, Thefixer and Tiger Tara, Spankem and My Alpha Rock.   FOR MORE INFORMATION TELEPHONE CLUB MENANGLE RACING MANAGER DAVID WONSON ON 0438-398-251.   Mandy Madern

The Miracle Mile’s forgotten Kiwi hero could be carrying a get out of jail free card at Menangle tonight.  Because My Field Marshal may not have to meet the same qualifying criteria as his rivals heading into the two $100,000 preludes for next Saturday’s $1million sprint.  There will be eight starters in the Mile, with two spots already taken so six vacant, all to come from horses who compete at tonight’s meeting.  The first two home in he preludes are automatically invited so the Club Menangle selection committee will have to make the call on the final two invites and chief executive Bruce Christison says prior form will be one factor considered.  “The first two home in the preludes will get in and it could even pan out that the first three home go in but the committee will take into account previous form, especially if a horse is unlucky tonight.  “The two most obvious horses that could affect would be Tiger Tara, because of his form this season, and My Field Marshal because he is the defending champion and race record holder.  “I am not saying they can perform poorly and get it but we have seen in recent years a horse like Lennytheshark finish fourth in his prelude and get a Miracle invite. “But different committee members have different views on that.” Tiger Tara’s spot in the Miracle Mile looks a formality as he should lead and win the first prelude tonight and he is now the $2.80 favourite for next week’s great race.  But My Field Marshal faces a far trickier night at the office, drawn wide in the very strong second prelude and likely to have to make up a lot of ground in a sub 1:50 mile.  Christison says there is even latitude for his club to invite a big-name age group pacer like Chase Auckland, who competes in race two tonight, since he started in an official Mile lead-up in last week’s Chariots of Fire. “But they would have to come out and do something special on Saturday.”  Tonight’s meeting looks set up for short priced favourites, with both the NSW Derby and Oaks heats to be dominated by hot pots and perfect for multi bet punters.   Michael Guerin

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