Day At The Track
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There was no kidding around for Kid Montana in the Select Autoglass North West Three-Year-Old Classic at the Tamworth harness racing meeting on Friday night. “He showed he is going to be alright,” reinsman Chris Shepherdson said after the win. “Having a good temperament is the main thing and he got the right run on the night – he is the perfect horse to drive.” Kid Montana commenced off the second line, from the eight barrier, to settle three back on the outside running line while Mary Todd Shannon (Anthony Varga) led the field. “I was three back on the outside running line but after Groovy Miss Annie (Julie Weidemann) made a move I got pushed to four back,” Shepherdson said. “Mitch (Faulkner) was on my back with Cronin and I knew he would want to make a move at the bell so we got going a little bit earlier than we wanted.” Shepherdson pulled Kid Montana three wide just before the bell sounded to place in a solid run against his opposition. “I locked wheels up the back which held him (Kid Montana) up a little bit but once I pulled the ear plugs he put a little bit of a break on the (field),” he said. “He needed the break on the field as he started to stop and wait for them towards the end” Kid Montana went on for a 5.1m win over race favourite Shezlikaterror (Brad Elder). Faulkner, who was looking for three wins on the trot with Cronin, had to be content with third beaten a short half head after being held up in running. Kid Montana was notching up his second career win in taking out the feature and is trained at Narrabri by Peter Shepherdson. “He (Kid Montana) is a relaxed horse in a race but I knew that after the run he had had in the race that he would have a nice finish,” he said. Kid Montana won in his first start for the Narrabri stables at Armidale back in March which was also the Rock N Roll Heaven colts racing debut. “We didn’t get him long before his first start and we weren’t sure what he would be like but he went beyond what we thought he would do at Armidale,” Shepherdson said, with Kid Montana on that occasion having a 32.3m win over the field. “Hopefully we will win a few more races with him,” added Chris Shepherdson. “We don’t normally win feature races but it definitely feels nice to win a feature race”. “He is the horse with the best characteristics of not doing much wrong but we thought he would have gone well if he got a bit of luck and that happened.” “It is a family effort with the horses and Tadd helps us out a lot as well and it was good for Gran to be here tonight to see us win a feature race.” By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

The Select Auto Glass North West Three-Year-Old Pace is proving to be one of the toughest races to pick a winner from on the nine-race card at the Tamworth  harness racing meeting on Friday night. Newly established Tamworth trainer Mitch Faulkner is pitching his young pacer, Cronin, as being able to make it three wins on the trot in the feature event. “I’m hoping he can be a winner – he has got his back up and racing well although it is a tougher field than his last race,” he said. Cronin comes into the race off a last start win at Tamworth on April 13 after notching his first career winner at Narrabri the start prior back on April 2. Named after Parramatta legend Mick Cronin and racing in the blue and yellow silks, the Art Major-Bronski Flyer gelding has drawn barrier nine. “Hopefully he gets a bit of a run into the race and can finish it off,” Faulkner said.  He has only got the one eye so he has taken a little bit longer learning how to race than others with the one eye but he is getting use to it now Mitch Faulkner Cronin is certainly showing he has got some “true grit” as he races with vision in only one eye. “He has only got the one eye so he has taken a little bit longer learning how to race than others with the one eye but he is getting use to it now,” he said. As the former Uralla trainer flicked his way through the form guide to source his main dangers in the race he summed the result up well. “The whole field has been racing consistently,” he said. “Nathan Hurst from Bathurst always gets a winner when he comes to Tamworth and I think his horse (Tulhurst Terror) will be tough. The Elders (Shezlikeaterror) have drawn the five and the Weidemann’s always seem to find one (Groovy Miss Annie) that could win as well” Faulkner has two other pacers engaged at the Tamworth meeting in last start winner Gottashopearly in the Perc Verning Memorial and Somebeach N Clovelly in the TAB Pace. Onedin Highlander has already had his “hit out” for the week when he contested the Menangle meeting on Tuesday afternoon.  Mitch Faulkner was happy with Onedin Highlander's run at Menangle on Tuesday.  “That was a massive run by Onedin Highlander – even though he finished last the winner (The Golden Cross) went 1.51 for 1609 metres. My horse raced three wide for the whole trip and was beaten 40 metres,” Faulkner said. By Julia Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader First race at Tamworth on Friday night is set for 4.42pm with the Tamworth HRC Old Boys Day Pace.

The late Billy Grima was a well-known harness racing identity who sadly passed away in 2016, but his name and legacy are continuing on in the sport he loved. On Friday night, a 10-race program at Tamworth includes the Billy Grima Memorial.  Billy’s sons, Michael and Paul, have Quincy Storm engaged in the Memorial race. Eldest son Michael is listed as the trainer while Paul will take the reins. Michael will have three runners at the meeting, with Blissful Quincy and Freddies Delight also set to run. “We have the whole stable competing at the meeting,” he said. “Dad was always involved in harness racing. It wasn’t his livelihood – it was his hobby.” Billy and his pacer Tangaratta Thor were certainly a combination that was known in the early days of harness racing, having success both in the North West and at Harold Park. Last year was the inaugural running of the Billy Grima Memorial, with the Andy Ison-trained Franco Seville taking the feature.  But this year is the first time that the Grima name will appear in the race. “It was through Dad’s involvement that got us all involved in the sport,” said Michael. He was referring to himself and his three siblings. The two boys handle the horses. Their sister Joyce is a director of the Tamworth Harness Racing Club while another sister, Jenny, also has a strong involvement in the sport. “Jenny is still keen – she is always following us,” Michael said. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without the involvement of the family.  “Our niece Rachel comes out and works with the horses every day.” Billy’s grandson Nicholas calls trials at Tamworth while Billy’s wide Carmen will also be trackside on Friday night.   “There are many chances in the race – it is a very good field. Actually, it’s a big meeting,” Michael said. “The mare [Quincy Storm] is very honest and has got good gate speed but she will have to make her own luck from the five barrier.” Quincy Storm comes into the race off a last-start win at Narrabri, where she had a short half head win over Mini Masterpeice from the David Munsie stables.  “It would be nice to win the race as Paul is doing the driving but we are not expecting it,” Michael said. “You get a kick out of someone else winning it as well.” Paul Grima was happy with the efforts of Quincy Storm in the Narrabri win. “She is a real good race horse,” he said. “She hasn’t got much guts but she does everything right and she has got good manners.” By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

The 2018 NSW Mini Trotting Championships at Tamworth Paceway on the weekend has been hailed as one the best instalments of the annual harness racing event after 130 young divers and 175 horses competed in it. Barry McColl, Harness Racing NSW youth development officer, said Tamworth had “done itself proud” in hosting the roving event for a second consecutive year. He said a decision on where the 2019 championships would be held was yet to be decided but he applauded the “family orientated” nature of the Tamworth event, with the Paceway turned into a tent city for the two-day happening and competitors also coming from Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand.      +17      Photos: Peter Hardin The championships started in 1982 with 10 horses, he added.  Joanne Shepherd, promotions and facilities manager at Tamworth Paceway, said it was one of the biggest events visitor wise at the Paceway since Harness Racing NSW purchased the venue in April last year. She said: “We had quite a lot of spectators, which was good. Hopefully that will encourage the young kids. All the kids represented themselves so well as far as sportsmanship and helping each other went … It was a really good kids event.” The winner of the midget final was Mason Beresford, driving Pay The Aces, with Isabella Cassar (Chase Em Ace) second and Sam Haslem (Fire Storm) third. The winner of the Shetland final was  Kyle Wahlstram (The Dark Horse), with Jayla Beresford (Nidya) second and Keeley Cunningham (This Is Larry) third.  The pony final was won by Harry McNamara (Cariadus Material Girl), followed by Phoebe Betts (Golden Studleigh) and Michaela Locke (Eddie Allstar). Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

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