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The ladies showed the way at the Tamworth harness racing meeting on Sunday. Laura Spencer, Lily Hosking, Madi Young, Sarah Rushbrook and Lola Weidemann all drove winners on the day. Hosking’s came in the second race of the meeting behind Casual River, the Maitland reinswoman leading home a female trifecta with the Caitlin McElhinney-driven Kemira Cause a 2.9m second and Atom Ranger (Weidemann) 22m away third. Her first Tamworth winner, Hosking said the horse is “definitely improving”. “About half way up the back straight I pulled out four wide and let him go and he kept going,” she said. “To finally have a good draw that worked out in his favour – he has done well,” she added with Casual River commencing off the second line from the nine barrier. Hosking drives for her grandfather Robin Hosking who was pleased to see his granddaughter crack the Tamworth win. “I had my first drive here at Tamworth and won it,” chimed Hosking Snr. Fellow Maitland reinswoman Spencer started the day off when she drove the Gerry Osborn trained Always Ivy to the mares first career win in the We Will Remember Them Pace. “She is very green and needs to learn a bit more but she picked up the win today so that is all that matters,” Spencer said. Leading the field and dictating the terms Spencer only had to contend with her opposition over the concluding stages with Always in the Red driven by Young making a last stride challenge. “I thought Maddi had me,” she said. “But my horse saw them coming and gave a little bit more”. “Once she gets a few more race starts under her she will pick it up.” With only the one drive for the meeting Spencer was determined to make it a winner. “If you are only coming for the one drive you have to make the trip worthwhile,” she said. “It is the first winner that I have driven for Gerry in four years so I am really happy with that.” Always Ivy had a neck win over Always In The Red with Monterei Bay (Mitch Faulkner) 3.9m away third.  Maitland's Lily Hosking drove her first Tamworth winner on Sunday. Young then came out in the AON Risk Solutions Pace to take Western Safari to a win for Inverell trainer Col Hobday. With Rayong Princess leading the field, the now Sydney-based reinswoman had Western Safari placed in the one by one. “When they went hard early it made it better for her (Western Safari) - I thought they would slow up down the back which they did and I was lucky enough to get out,” she said. Western Safari had a 9.8m win over Mini Masterpiece (Mitch Faulkner) and Rayong Princess (Sam Ison), who was another 3.4m away third. Local reinswoman Sarah Rushbrook was then back in the winner’s circle when Christian Shannon broke through for a win. Rushbrook – who scored a win from her stables a few weeks back with the 12 year old pacer Aces First – has had Christian Shannon in her stables for six starts before the win. “He hasn’t had much luck at all in his races – he has had some bad draws – but I thought he had to be a chance today,” she said.  “He is one of those horses that you can’t back him off too much – so you have to let him roll a little bit - hopefully it is the start of more to come.” Christian Shannon held on for a metre win over Belubula (Paul Grima) with Dontbefoolish (Weidemann) a half neck away third. Weidemann then rounded off a top day for the ladies when she drove Lehmann to a half head win over Quincy Storm (Paul Grima) in the Wardle Osborn Chartered Accountants Pace. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Midnight Montana and Campbell Best handed young reinsman Tom Ison his first winning double for the season last Friday night at the Tamworth harness racing meeting. Ison drove the double for the Richard Williams stables and kicked the juggernaut off in the Global Bloodstock Pace with Midnight Montana. As the field settled down, Ison made the right race move when he switched Midnight Montana to the inside running line to be placed three back. Springfield Cruise led the field with Mitrhys Magic in on the leader’s back. When Mitrhys Magic pulled out to make his run in the back straight on the final occasion Midnight Montana gave chase and went on to claim his 14th career win with a 22.2 metre-win over Mitrhys Magic and Captain Charge Over another 17.8 metres away third. Campbell Best then notched his first career win at start 10 in the John’s Auto Service Pace. “How good is this,” smirked Ison after the breakthrough win of the Cammibest-Drink For Free gelding. “We just winged it in the race. There was no plan. He was just strong, big and tough. He will turn into a nice little horse and he has had some pretty good form coming into the race.” And for trainer Richard Williams the night also heralded his first training double after turning professional last season and taking his chances with a move from Queensland to make Tamworth his home. “I’ve had a few doubles as a driver but not as a trainer but in saying that, I have now turned full-time so it was bound to happen,” Williams said. Both horses have been nominated for this Friday’s night harness meeting at Tamworth and Williams will be looking for their draws when the fields are released. Midnight Montana is nominated in the $10,000 Club Menangle Country Series heats which could see the eight-year-old have his next start at Menangle in the final. “He has had 170 race starts but he is still winning races and running good times,” Williams said. Campbell Best was also a pleasing result for the stables for the night. “That was a big thrill – he has never done anything wrong in his other starts but the penny has finally dropped as far as racing goes with him now,” WIlliams said. “We were wrapped. That win meant a lot.” Campbell Best will be looking for a favourable barrier draw in the JC Caffyn Indigenous Heats on Friday night. “Our stables are a team effort and Tom just put the icing on the cake for us with his driving,” Williams added. Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

You could have thrown a blanket over seven horses at the winning post of the Millenium Signs Pace at Tamworth Paceway on Friday night. But it was the old harness racing stager Aces First who prevailed. Aces First’s Kootingal-based trainer and reinswoman, Sarah Rushbrook, had wondered if there was a Friday the 13th effect on her preparation for the race after she left her racing silks at home. It was one of the closest finishes seen at Tamworth Paceway. Aces First won the 1980 metre race by half head from Quincy Storm (Paul Grima) and Jimmy Nga (Ricky Gordon) – who dead-heated for second. Artistica Uno (Peter Hedges) and race favourite Lehmann (Lola Weidemann) were a further half a neck away in a dead heat for fourth. Rushbrook had no idea she had won the race, as she was five wide across the track at the finish. WINNING GRIN: Sarah Rushbrook is all smiles after piloting Aces First to victory. Photo: PeterMac Photography “My horse is used to being that wide and I knew he kept going. But in all honesty I didn’t think I had won the race as there was a wall of horses when I looked across,” she said. “I was just excited because of the finish. I was expecting to finish about fourth. When I pulled up, I said to one of the drivers, ‘How good was that finish’. I could not have picked the winner.” She added: “When one of the driver’s said I had won, I started to get a bit excited. I was shaking, I was that excited.” Aces First, 12, was having race start 178, and he notched his first win since December 2014. He has to undergo a veterinarian check before each race because of his age. In human years, he is about 43 years old. “He is a tough old bugger and he doesn’t give up, and he has pulled up brilliant,” Rushbrook said. “Everyone was excited as I was. He is all but famous around here because of his age and his race runs.” From the eight barrier, Rushbrook was shuffled back in the field – a predicament she is used to. “That barrier draw suits him,” she said. “I was stoked when I saw the fields come out as it is a good draw for him. He has zero gate speed, so to land where he did in the race was good. “He is only a one-batter as far as speed goes. He takes a lot of winding up. He will go at the one speed all day, and the race was run to suit him.” With Terry Barry leading the field and reinsman Scotty-Jon Welsh setting a race tempo of even quarters, Rushbrook was happy. She commenced her run on the back straight on the final occasion to come around the final turn four wide, before racing five wide down the home straight and gaining momentum. “He is used to being that wide. I did hear a cheer from the crowd when they posted the eight as the winner,” she said. “I was impressed to be in that finish. I have never seen or been involved in a finish like that at Tamworth before. It was awesome.” Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

When Damien Smith takes to the track at Friday night’s Tamworth Harness Racing Club meeting, it will be like a homecoming for the Maitland reinsman. As a 16-year-old, Smith made an impact at Tamworth when he drove his first winner on debut in April 2004.  The horse, Bush Eagle, was trained by his father Kenneth Smith Jnr. Smith went on to drive plenty more winners including a Glenn Tomlin Memorial and a Newcastle Cup. But then life got in the way and he stepped away from harness racing for seven years. “I brought a house, got married and Ashley and I have a little one due next month,” he said. “I wanted to make my comeback at Tamworth first up but it didn’t work out that way, but hopefully my luck will change tonight.” Smith will take the reins behind Double Dee and Our Midnight Mayhem for the Kristine Jackson stables. Upon making his return to racing in August, he was nearly in the winner’s circle first up with Double Dee at Newcastle. “Some how I got conned back into driving again,” he said. “I finished second on him my first drive back. I have only had the one winner [since then] and that was at the trials. It feels like I never left.” On Friday night, Smith will contest the Peter Jackson Bookmakers Membership Draw Pace behind Double Dee.      “I have had a couple of drives behind the horse but we will have to wait and see how the race pans out for him,” he said. Our Midnight Mayhem will have race start 141 in the Global Bloodstock Pace, with Smith taking the reins for the first time behind the Mach Three gelding. “He has been racing OK – just needs some luck in the race,” Smith said. Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Young Manilla reinswoman Courtney Sutherland is set to have a busy night at Wednesday night’s Tamworth Harness Racing Club meeting. Sutherland has been booked for five drives on the 10-race program, picking up drives for Ricky Gordon, Richard Williams, Tony Missen and her father Chris Sutherland. “I think I have a good chance with all of the drives – if not a winner well a place chance,” Sutherland said. The night at the office will commence in the opening event with a drive behind Risky Buziness for Gordon in the Peter and Diane McNamara sponsored Horse of the Year Pace. Sutherland finished second on Risky Buziness at the last Tamworth meeting. “He is a beautiful horse to drive – he stopped a bit down the back straight last start but he kicked again,” she said. “I will be driving him for a win for sure – he is a tough horse”. Red Rocker is the second from Gordon’s stables for Sutherland in the Global Bloodstock Drivers Premiership Congratulations Lola Weidemann Pace. “I have never driven or seen the horse before – all I know is he is a chestnut horse,” Sutherland said. Sutherland’s favourite Jax Tellar - trained by her father Chris – is one horse she is accustomed to driving winners behind. “I reckon he will go alright,” Sutherland said with the gelding having three wins last season at Tamworth. “He just keeps improving.” A last start fifth to Merry Jasper at Tamworth Jax Tellar will commence from the eight barrier. “I couldn’t get him out last start but he was only a couple of metres off the winner,” Sutherland said. Last start winner Hes Our Boy from the Tony Missen stables is another that Sutherland has accepted to drive. “He is the horse that beat me last week when I drove Risky Buziness,” she said. Hes Our Boy had a near 2 metre win over Risky Buziness the last time the pair clashed at Tamworth. “His draw doesn’t look that favourable but we will see what we can do,” Sutherland said.   Hes Our Boy has drawn barrier six in the Sauer’s Glass Tamworth Owners Premiership Congratulations Julie Weidemann Pace. The Richard Williams trained Itsnewstome in the Global Bloodstock Trainers Premiership is another who may shine in the winner’s circle for Sutherland. “He finished third at Newcastle last start with a good run – his barrier draw is not too bad either,” she said. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Tamworth trainer Tony Missen kicked off the 2017/18 season with training a winning double at last Friday’s Tamworth harness racing meeting. Belubula was on debut for the stables in the Michael Brown Maiden Pace while Hes Our Boy continued on his good form, after taking out the Quirindi Cup at the Quirindi Show the previous week, winning the NSWSOA & Cobbitty Equine Pace.   “I was lucky I had two brilliant drivers today that’s what won the day,” Missen said. Paul Grima was engaged to take the reins behind Belubula and Tom Ison handled Hes Our Boy. A former western districts pacer, Belubula, also notched up her first career win from 10 starts. “I think she will be a nice mare when the penny drops and she learns how to race – she is still very green. “Paul got the best out her - we only wanted to get away safe,” Missen said. Grima - who was wearing the second set of NSW Standardbred Owner Association colours – the major sponsor for the day –  was rapt with Belubula’s efforts. “She did look good on her trial form but she can do things wrong,” he said. On Friday he guided her through the field after commencing from the eight barrier. “Coming off the second line she could settle in and then let her come home,” he said. “The run was very similar to the first trial I drove her in and there was a strong head wind today. I didn’t want to hook out but I had no choice.” With Misty Jane (Lola Weidemann) leading the field Grima found himself four back in the outside running line before making a three wide run in the back straight on the final occasion. “The horse in front was slowing up so while the momentum was going I just kept driving her,” he said. “I knew she would find the line as she did that in the trial.” Belubula pulled away in the home straight for a 4.2m win over Campbell Best (Richard Williams) with Narcissist (Ellen Rixon) another 3.8m away third. “I had them covered I thought down the home straight,” Grima added. Tom Ison then had his second career win behind Hes Our Boy after guiding the Tinted Cloud gelding to a win at Newcastle back in July. “Tom – what can I say but what a beautiful drive by Tom,” chimed Missen. With Tyco (Dean Chapple) leading the field Hes Our Boy raced three back on the inside running line. Ison decided to switch Hes Our Boy to the outside running line as the bell sounded before racing three wide and coming away for a 1.7m win over Risky Business (Courtney Sutherland). Artistica Uno (Peter Hedges) was another 11.9m away third. “Tony said he has got a nice little sprint on him,” Ison added. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader  

It was a case of brother power at the last harness racing meeting at Tamworth when reinsman Anthony Varga combined with trainer and his elder bro, Tim, to steer Bold and Famous to victory in the Thread Effects Tamworth Pace. The seven-year-old mare broke through for her first career win at the previous Tamworth meeting, but Anthony missed the drive due to being away and Michael Grima took the reins. “I was a bit disappointed to miss the drive last win but I knew she would go good and with the favourite scratched … I thought she would go good again,” Anthony said. “She is an easy going horse but when she is in the front it is a lot different – she is hard to get around.” Bold And Famous took the lead from the three barrier and overcame pressure from Pay Me Way (Angela Hedges) to win by a half-neck from Commanche (Dean Chapple). “It feels good to drive a winner for Tim – it is a credit to him,” Anthony said. “He was keen when I started out and we had a couple of horses together but he wanted to give the training a go.” Driver Courtney Sutherland was in the winner's circle again after Jax Tellar claimed the Johns Auto Service Pace at Tamworth last week.  MANILLA’S Courtney Sutherland was back in the winners’ circle again with Jax Tellar taking out the Johns Auto Service Pace at the Tamworth meeting. Sutherland collected her fourth winning drive. “This is a good way to finish the season,” said Sutherland, who received the drive of the day award for the win.  “He loved the race tempo. He travelled well on the bit.” Jax Tellar has had a good season, with 33 race starts and three wins and 12 placings. THERE were some new kids on the block having success in the industry.  At the Dubbo meeting on Sunday, Hayden Lew drove his first winner at his debut meeting.  The son of Peter and Heidi Lew, Hayden is the seventh member of the Lew family to hold a licence with Harness Racing NSW as either a trainer or a driver. “It’s just like a rush. It’s hard to explain,” Lew said of the win of Nekite River, who is trained by his father, in the NSWSOA & Cobitty Equine Pace.  “It was unbelievable, especially to drive my first winner in Dad’s race colours. I was happy to get a winner for him on Father’s Day.” The Newcastle meeting on Saturday saw Joshua Gallagher win behind Our Quinn in his first race drive.  Gallagher then drove another winner at Menangle on Tuesday, with both horses trained by KerryAnn Turner.  Both lads are only 16 and are in Year 11. Harness racing will return to the Tamworth Paceway next Friday afternoon. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader  

Anna Bay harness racing trainer Denis Maricic has taken up the challenge in Thursday afternoon’s running of the Psarakis Accounting Marathon Pace at Tamworth Paceway with his runner Dusty Delight. The race, to be contested over the longer distance of 2730 metres, will see a soccer pedigree and harness racing combined. Sounds like an unlikely combination but Maricic – a newly registered harness trainer – is a former soccer player who played in Europe. Maricic is hoping the skills he gained as a young and confident player will be transferred to Dusty Delight. “I think he will run a big race,” said Maricic of the Bettors Delight gelding who will commence off the second line from barrier eight. “I think Onedin Highlander is our biggest danger. “Dusty is a sit and sprint horse and I thought the Marathon would be right up his alley.” If Maricic does train Dusty Delight to a win – and there is no reason why the former athlete can’t do so – it will be his biggest win, with him only obtaining his trainers licence three months ago. “I was a stablehand with Michael Begini and then I got my trainers licence,” he said. With plenty of well-respected trainers around Anna Bay to help out with training information – which Maricic soaks up – he came into the sport courtesy of Les Kosklin, who purchased Maricic’s first pacer for him to race. Maricic liked owning the horse so much, he was hooked. “I’m delighted I got Dusty to be my project. I had my eye on him for a while. I have had him for three starts now,” he said. Before his venture into the pacers, Maricic owned and raced gallopers. But harness racing is where his passion is now. Maricic has had one win with Dusty Delight, at Newcastle last month over 2030m. Nathan Xuereb drove Dusty Delight to the win at Newcastle but Maitland reinsman Peter Hedges will handle him in Tamworth. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

There was some noteworthy winners at last week’s Tamworth harness racing meeting, with the first being for Tim Varga who trained his first winner. Bold and Famous took out the Global Bloodstock Pace. It was also the first career win for the seven-year-old Famous Forever mare at race start 29. Tim Varga has taken a little while to follow his father John and younger brother Anthony into the harness racing industry but he has wasted no time in training his first winner. Varga who works in the family business – Johns Auto Service in Tamworth – engaged his “neighbour” Michael Grima for the drive. “He’s a local and lives in our neighbourhood,” said Grima. “Tim is very keen and obviously has some ability as his horse has been running well each time he puts it up (starts) – and she looks well. “Having the advantage of the two barrier in the draw helps so we just rolled along at a nice steady pace.” Bold and Famous took the lead from the two barrier in the 2360 metre event to come away for a 8.5 metre win over Limousine Livia (Brad Elder) and Magic Ivy (Jess Dart) another 2 metres away third. “One horse is enough for me,” Tim Varga said trackside after the win. “Everyone has been good – I take on board all their advice and instructions.” It won’t be long before Tim Varga can take the reins himself. He is in the process of undergoing his trial drives so he can become a fully-fledged reinsman. MOONBI trainer and reinsman Dean Chapple may have been on the sidelines for a couple of years but is slowly making his way back into the winners’ circle with Esspe Supreme taking line honours at the Tamworth meeting in the Wardle Osborne Chartered Accountants Pace. Raced by Tamworth locals Mick McIlroy, Mick Smithers and David Walters, Esspe Supreme also picked up his first career win at race start eight. “It has been a bit of a struggle but these boys have stuck with me through thick and thin,” Chapple said. The horse is a bit of a handful but I’m just happy to get the cash. “We had a couple of plans but the horse wanted to lead so we took the lead. “I have labelled him the best horse I have had in the stables for a while  - next season he will be bigger and better and I am aiming for the Breeders Bonus races in a couple of weeks with him. “This win is great as the horse has been a challenge - he finished second last start at Newcastle and finally started to show a bit of promise.” YOUNG Hazells Farm & Fertilizer worker Scotty-Jon Welsh has finally returned to the winners’ circle after an enforced absence of nearly two years after he broke his arm in a fall at Tamworth which placed him on the sidelines. After a few operations and plenty of hard work, Welsh had his first winning drive since his return behind Commanche in the Stockman’s Supplies Tamworth Pace. ‘It’s been almost two years now,” said Welsh after the win. “The horses’ run last start wasn’t real good and we worked out he can’t lead – has to get in behind a horse.” That’s what Welsh did – after coming out of the one barrier he let Hunter Valley pacer Stevie Dee take the lead with Commanche finding a split on the final turn to come away down the home straight for the win. “He has got a little 200 metre sprint which we also found out about the horse,” Welsh said. Commanche was having his first race start for the Dwayne Brown stables and came into the race as a first emergency courtesy of a scratching. PLENTY of local trainers are heading to the Newcastle meeting tomorrow night so we wish them well with harness racing returning to the Tamworth Paceway next Thursday – August 31 - which will wrap up the 2016-17 racing season. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

When Maitland harness racing reinsman Brad Elder hits Paceway Tamworth this afternoon, he will already be a winner. “I have had five winners in eight days,” said Elder. “One at Tamworth and four at Newcastle over two meetings.” Elder is looking for his “Midas touch” to continue at Tamworth Harness Racing Club’s Thursday afternoon meeting when he takes four drives for the Stacie Elliott stables. He will take the reins behind Cody Shannon in the Thread Effects Pace, Sporty Shannon in the AIMMC Business Consulting Pace. That will be followed by him piloting The Last Cullect in the TAB.COM.AU Pace and Take A Number in the 88.9 Tamworth Pace. “Cody Shannon is a nice horse – I nearly won on him last week at Tamworth,” said Elder.  Cody Shannon finished second to Mondooley Mondo in the Hats Off To Country@The Pub Pace on July 7 at Tamworth. “I hope my winning streak continues. I have had a winner at every Tamworth meeting that I have been to this season,” said Elder. The 19-year-old Maitland reinsman is coming to Thursday’s meeting in peak fitness, as he undertakes “hard yakka” at the Gym to keep himself in form. Last Saturday night, Elder drove Justarumour to an all-the-way win in the $8,000 Glenn Tomlin Memorial at Newcastle. He also secured a RIO gig for his uncle Michael Elder, who trains Justarumour, a Tell All-Justlika gelding. Driving in the final was the sixth time Elder had taken the reins behind Justarumour. He has driven him to two wins. “My second quarter was 31 seconds. So I pinched that and at the 400 metre mark I put a gap in them,” said Elder in reference to the Newcastle win. “When he put the foot down he was off.” Earlier in the program at Newcastle, he drove the Greg Brown-trained Jumbo Asakei to a win in the HV Harness Racing Association Pace. Recently competing in the Harness Racing NSW Rising Star Series, Elder won at Penrith behind Flowers for trainer Jarrod Alchin. “The series was pretty good,” he said.  “I drove a winner at Penrith and that was my first winner at that Paceway, even though I had competed there plenty of times,” he said. At his third season competing on the paceways, Elder is leading the Open Drivers Premiership by one point over Mark Callaghan. He is committed to more drives at Newcastle on Saturday night. The first race at Paceway Tamworth is set to go at 1pm. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Oh, so close. Tamworth pacer Merry Jasper just missed out on a win at Newcastle on Tuesday night when beaten by a half head by harness racing favourite Party Rage. Merry Jasper had the services of Tom Ison in the cart and raced four back on the inside running line before giving chase down the home straight. Trainer Brendan Hunt – who made the move from Broken Hill a couple of seasons ago – has certainly found the trick to Merry Jasper, who had his last win at Tamworth back on May 14 with Anthony Varga in the cart. Merry Jasper had his 84th race start on Tuesday night for his 21st placing. He has six wins. Merry Jasper and Tom Ison will pair up again on Sunday evening at the Tamworth harness meeting in the TAB.com.au pace from the three barrier.                    ++++ Minister for Racing Paul O’Toole recently made the announcement that Ken Brown would take up the vacant position on the Board of Harness Racing NSW. Brown has an intimate knowledge of the racing industry, having been involved in all three codes through various capacities. He was director of the NSW Department of Gaming and Racing from 1995 to 2006.  Recently he was a board member of Racing NSW and a member of the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.                  ++++ The much discussed whip rule has seen Harness Racing Australia confirm that the date for the abolition of whips from racing will be extended.  HRA chairman Geoff Want has conceded the original implementation date of September 1 is not achievable.  Stay tuned for more in this ongoing saga.                  ++++ Tamworth is racing on Sunday evening with another eight-race program. The first race, the Wardle Osborne Chartered Accountants Pace, is schedules to go at 4.53pm.  The club is pleased to announced that their racing dates have increased to 26 meetings for the 2017/2018 season. There are also a few Friday night meetings to be run. So this is an exciting time for harness racing in Tamworth. It’s easy to become a member of the THRC so make contact with the club. If you would like to place something in Keeping Pace, phone 0439 818 261. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Tamworth Showground, which earlier this year was purchased by Harness Racing New South Wales, will now be officially known as the Tamworth Paceway but little will change with the facility to focus on existing uses but grow in time. Whilst the Tamworth Show will be held at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC), the harness racing will continue with strength next season and HRNSW is encouraging all current operators to continue activities at the site and will be welcoming others to use the property. These current uses include reigning, team penning, quarter horse, welsh ponies, stock horses, cattle and poultry and they are all welcome to continue their events at the Paceway. HRNSW has also committed to continuing the wider community initiatives of the Tamworth Pastoral & Agricultural Association with the on-going monthly markets, which the P & A Association will coordinate. The gymnasium and boxing academy, Westside Boxing Club operated by Mike Abra which has assisted with the youth of the Tamworth region and the local area police command, will continue to operate at the Paceway. The police force members train at the gym whilst local youth are encouraged to improve their focus on life’s opportunities under the guidance of those around them. HRNSW Board Member Chris Edwards was extremely enthusiastic in relation to the future of the former Showground. “This property offers so much to so many,” Mr Edwards said “To the harness racing participants and followers in the region they have a permanent home, Tamworth Paceway. “To the agricultural community of Tamworth and surrounds, instead of an industrial estate they will be able to utilise a purpose-built facility for horses, cattle, poultry and all other livestock where they are able to be accommodated. “The many buildings on the Paceway also offer so many opportunities for other activities. “We (HRNSW) are only too pleased to be involved and able to contribute to the wider community in that respect but as far as harness racing is concerned the future is assured and there is a very bright future here in the North West Region,” Mr Edwards concluded. NSW Minister for Racing Paul Toole said the measures are a strong vote of confidence in the future of harness racing in Tamworth. “It’s extremely pleasing to see these positive developments that lock in harness racing as an important social and community sport in the Tamworth region,” Mr Toole said.  “I congratulate HRNSW for making sure the other existing users are included in the future of the venue. “It’s a great example of people working together for the benefit of the entire community.”  Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said country racing is part of our social fabric, which is why investment in local facilities is so important. “It’s great to see that the old showground site will continue to be put to good use. Investment into the facilities at the Tamworth Paceway is an investment into our racing fraternity which should be supported and encouraged,” Mr Anderson said. Mayor of the Tamworth Regional Council Col Murray said his Council was pleased with the future outlook for the former Showground. “Tamworth Regional Council is pleased with the current direction adopted by HRNSW in not only securing the future of harness racing in the city but a range of other activities on the property.” President of the Tamworth P & A Association Brett Nies welcomed the continued agricultural use of the former Showground. “Our Association will retain a close connection to the old Showground as our headquarters remain virtually on the property on the adjoining block,” he said. “Our office will be located in Showground Road but we will be conducting the Show in 2018 and beyond out at AELEC. “It is satisfying however to know that the harness racing organisation will have an agricultural focus on future activities and they are more than mindful of the needs of the local community. “I’m glad it was harness racing who secured the property to continue the traditional uses.”    Naturally the focus will be on harness racing and in the 2017/18 season a record 26 meetings are scheduled for the Paceway under the auspices of the Tamworth Harness Racing Club. Tamworth Harness Racing Club Chair Julie Maughan was pleased that the determination of the location of the harness racing track was finalised after a 10-year wait. "The Board of the Tamworth HRC and I are thrilled to know that we have a great location and facility to now permanently call home. I know our Members are pleased with the announcement as well,” Ms Maughan said. "Harness racing in Tamworth has always been here on these grounds and to continue our association is a positive move not only for the members but for the harness racing fraternity in general - they have a permanent home. "Moving forward harness racing will jump out of the ground in Tamworth and the North West because of the backing from the Board of HRNSW." The NSW Mini Trotting Championships is the first major event held at the Paceway since HRNSW ‘officially’ took over the running of the property. It is planned to conduct the Mini Trotting Championships annually at Tamworth Paceway.  The Championship attracted 180 ponies this year and can only grow with a permanent home which has all the amenities required for this four-day event. HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny endorsed the decision of the Board to allocate the Mini Trotting Championships to Tamworth Paceway. “This property is ideal for the Mini Trot Championships as it has ample stables and most importantly established camping facilities. The other amenities assist with the operational aspects of the Championship and what’s more Tamworth is the horse capital of Australia!” Mr Dumesny said. “The Championships are a fantastic experience for our young competitors and a holiday with the family and friends during the four-day Easter break makes for a really great time.” The Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association will also hold the State Championships at Tamworth Paceway in 2018. HRNSW has already engaged GHD Tamworth to master plan the Paceway with commitments already given and underway with a new harness racing officials tower, race stalls roof, permanent training stables upgrade and grandstand extension all of which is budgeted to $2million from the Harness Racing Racecourse Development Fund. “The Board gave a commitment to the harness racing fraternity firstly to the continuation of racing in the North West Region and now confirms that commitment through the $4.6million purchase and the improvements to the Paceway,” Mr Dumesny said. “In time the strategy is to have more than 100 horses permanently stabled and trained from the Tamworth Paceway.” HRNSW will be appointing an Operations Officer and Grounds person however in the interim the Tamworth P & A Secretary Suz Rodd will be coordinating activities at the Paceway. “HRNSW is extremely grateful to the P & A for their genuine and professional dealings with us during the past few months,” Mr Dumesny said. “Brett (Nies), Greg (Townsend), Geoff (Hoy) and Suz (Rodd) have been magnificent to work with during the purchase negotiations and the changeover of ownership. “To now offer to continue to assist with the ongoing operations whilst the Association vacates the Showground proves their dedication to all concerned in the Tamworth. “This group’s advocacy in relation to supporting the current users and tenants of the property and securing tenure through discussions with the HRNSW Board Members and myself has been extremely admirable.” For all further enquiries contact HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny (02) 9722 6600. AMANDA RANDO

Harness Racing New South Wales (HRNSW) Stewards conducted an Inquiry yesterday into the conduct of licensed trainer-driver Mr Dean Germon towards Mr Laurie James at the Tamworth Showground on Saturday 28 January 2017. Stewards also inquired into Mr Germon’s training establishment and horses located within his stable during a stable inspection conducted by HRNSW Stewards on Monday 6 February 2017. Mr Germon appeared and presented evidence at the Inquiry.  Evidence was also heard from HRNSW Steward Mr Daniel Westwood, and Mr Laurie James as well as two independent witnesses. After considering the evidence HRNSW Stewards issued the following charge against Mr Germon pursuant to the Australian Harness Racing Rule 231(1) which states; AHRR 231(1) A person shall not                 (a) threaten                 (c) intimidate                 (d) abuse                 (e) assault anyone employed, engaged or participating in the harness racing industry or otherwise having a connection with it. Mr Germon pleaded guilty to the charge and was disqualified for a period of 12 months to commence immediately.  As Mr Germon had accommodation on the Tamworth Showgrounds he was provided with seven (7) days to put his affairs in order. Mr Germon was advised of his right of appeal. HRNSW Stewards adjourned the Inquiry to examine other evidence relevant to Mr Germon’s training and training establishment.  Stewards anticipate further charges to eventuate.    MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY OFFICER (02) 9722 6600 •  mprentice@hrnsw.com.au GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600 •  gloch@hrnsw.com.au

Nathan Dawson is hitting the road. The hard working harness racing Queensland based junior driver heads to Tamworth tomorrow (Friday) in a bid to win his biggest race to date, the Listed $25,000 Pryde's Easifeed Golden Guitar Final. But Dawson is hoping the six hour road trip to the nation’s capital of country music will be a lot easier coming home with the trophy riding along in the passenger seat when he combines with the Steve Bunz trained Real Social. "It's a big day when you head to Tamworth, it's a long drive but when you’re a live chance in a race like this, it makes it worthwhile and I'm hopeful of another bold showing from the favourable draw." Dawson said. Real Social sports saddlecloth number three but is likely to start from gate two if the emergency Hero Bromac doesn't secure a start. Last week, Real Social broke the track record when rating 1:57.1 for the 1980m distance. His time was significantly quicker than former New Zealand pacer Rakarazor who returned a mile rate of 1:57.5 in her Australian debut. And this is the horse that Dawson fears most. "As good as my horse was winning last week, I thought Rakarazor was just as impressive and given it was having its first start over here and being from a great stable, it's going to be very hard to beat in the final. "I thought my horse was very good last week, he went to the line with the plugs still in and actually ran through the line really well. My intention is to lead again and I'm very happy that we drew better than Rakarazor. "The track was in great shape last week and it will be the same again this week, my horse handled it very well and cornered great. I think he has a really strong chance and I'm looking forward to being part of the action, a big crowd is tipped to attend." While Dawson has competed at Tamworth previously, this is maiden Golden Guitar series. If successful, the celebrations will be on hold with Dawson making the trek straight back to his Glamorganvale base, near Ipswich, in readiness for his commitments at Albion Park the following night. Dawson is booked for four runners at Albion Park including former Queensland Pacing Championship winner Ideal Scott for trainer Ian Gurney in the open pace while he has five drives at the non-TAB Marburg program earlier in the day. Last night (Wednesday) at Redcliffe he landed a winning treble with victories behind Win Or Die, Ima Sea Storm and Make A Point. Dawson is currently 6th in the Queensland State Drivers Premiership. Chris Barsby  

Tamworth horseman Anthony ‘Tony’ Missen is in “good spirits” despite sustaining major injuries in a race fall at his local harness racing track on Sunday. Recently appointed Tamworth Harness Racing Club Chairperson Julie Maughan said the 54-year-old trainer-driver was transferred to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle today. “The report is that he has a shattered pelvis, broken shoulder and broken collarbone,” Maughan said.  “From all accounts Tony is his usual bright and bubbly self.” Missen was dislodged from the sulky when driving his pacer Tirunesh. Subsequently he was on the track unconscious and Harness Racing New South Wales Stewards stopped the race, later declaring it a “No Race”. Missen was then taken to Tamworth Hospital. He started the meeting on a better note when his pacer Fivestar Wally won the opening event causing an upset at odds of $40.80 with NSW TAB.  “The Club is thinking of him as he is a very popular trainer and reinsman in the north-west,” Maughan said. “Tony had a lot of success in recent seasons in taking out the North and North-West Trainers Premiership for the past two seasons. “Tony is one of those likeable and relaxed people who is always there to congratulate someone else on a win. “We hope that the doctors can give a better diagnosis than what we are hearing as we want to see Tony back at the track as soon as possible.” AMANDA RANDO 

In a dramatic but strategic change in direction Harness Racing New South Wales has successfully secured the Tamworth Showground property thus ensuring uninterrupted racing for the local Club. Following an extended period on the open market the Showground property which is owned by the Tamworth Pastoral and Agricultural Association was open to final offers which closed last Thursday. HRNSW were successful in its bid which was formally accepted by the Tamworth P & A Association executive this week. For harness racing in Tamworth securing the property removed the possibility of a break in racing in the city, had the site been purchased by another owner developer with the planned new facility on the outskirts of the city still not progressed to the development application stage. The purchase is a positive for harness racing in Tamworth, the North West Region and the Industry at large according to HRNSW Chief Executive John Dumesny. "The purchase of the established track site has considerable positives not least that the racing schedule at Tamworth will proceed uninterrupted." Dumesny said. "In securing this site the opportunities are endless especially in the harness racing activities." "I must stipulate the 2017 Tamworth Show will be held on its traditional site . . . the Tamworth Showground on March 24 and 25." "The HRNSW Board has made an immediate commitment to a substantive infrastructure spend on the Showground inclusive of members and public facilities as well as an all weather cover to the existing race stalls." "The ultimate aim is to convert the 200 permanent stables already in place at the track into an accessible training centre for the current and new participants which HRNSW will aim to attract to Tamworth." "Other works and strategies which enhance the productive capabilities for the property will be investigated in due course in consultation with the Board of the Tamworth Club however the priority commitments will be commenced even before settlement on February 1." "Working with both the Tamworth club directors and the Pastoral and Agricultural Association executive in this exercise has been a fulfilling experience and HRNSW looks forward to a cohesive transition in the ownership of the Showground." Dumesny conclude. Tamworth Pastoral and Agricultural Association President Brett Nies predicted the future direction of the Association and the Tamworth Show was encouraging and exciting. "For us, as a group of volunteers the sale is a great outcome as it preserves the recreational use of the Showground and it secures the Associations viability in the long term future for the community of Tamworth." President Brett Nies explained. "We are always looking for new members and volunteers that like to bring new ideas for the Show each year." "This sale opens the door to a new era for the Association and the community, with the show dates moving to September in 2018 to the modern AELEC centre." "We very much look forward to working with AELEC Management and the support offered by the Tamworth Regional Council to reinvigorate the Show which has been conducted for over 145 years on a number of Showground sites in the City." "In accordance with our Constitution the P & A will retain a portion of the property as our base and administration office." Mr Nies concluded. Tamworth Deputy Chairman Robert Betts expressed the positive views of his fellow Board members in relation to the acquisition. "This is an exciting opportunity taken at the right time which will ensure continuity of harness racing in Tamworth, with ownership of a North West facility renewing enthusiasm amongst THRC members." Deputy Chairman Robert Betts stated. "For all of the harness racing community these new and upgraded facilities will ensure the sustainability of harness racing in this region." Mr Betts concluded. Tamworth Regional Council Mayor Col Murray in discussions with HRNSW was fully supportive of the decision made for the continuation of harness racing on the Showground which preserved the proud tradition of the sport in the City on the iconic site and looked forward to further growth in this activity. The immediacy of the offer was due to the closure of the offer period however HRNSW management had been undertaking costs analysis comparisons of the Showground and the green field site and other related industry impacts for some time. Investigations in relation to a valuation on the Showground property as well as heritage and contamination implications have been a prerequisite of the HRNSW discoveries. John Dumesny - Harness Racing NSW Chief Executive p: (02) 9722 6600 or Brett Nies - Tamworth P & A Association President p: (02) 6764 4338        

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