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Penny A Packet was in fine fettle in taking out the M & M Office National Tamworth Pace on Thursday afternoon at the Tamworth harness racing meeting. And for hobby trainer Russell Murray he was both happy and relieved to see the seven-year-old mare back to her best form in having a half neck win over Cronin (Maddison Simon) and Just Tommy (Sam Ison), who was 1.4 metres away third. "It is over two years since she had a win, that's a long time" Murray, who trains for his wife Rachael, stated with a confident grin. "She strained a tendon so she had twelve months off," he added. Penny A Packet picked up her last win back in June 2017 at the Tamworth Paceway and with only the one horse in his stables Murray has nursed his pride and joy back to the winner's circle. "It is something to get me out of bed of a morning - I will be 74 in November and I started in harness racing back in 1964," he reflected. "Sometimes it is a long time between wins but you just have to keep battling on." Since her third placing at Tamworth back on May 17, Penny A Packet has been displaying some good track work on her home track at the Tamworth Paceway. "She had every chance last start - they were just too good on the day but she has improved out of sight, she showed me that in her track work through the week," added Murray. "I wasn't that confident today because of the draw but everything turned out really good so I am really pleased." "She is starting to get back into gear but twelve months off is a long time. She is very consistent and she will keep that up if she can just have a little bit of luck in her races." From the seven barrier Penny A Packet was placed back on the inside running line while Commanche (Scotty-Jon Welsh) and Just Tommy (Sam Ison) headed the field into the final lap of the 1980 metre race. "I thought she would be stuck on the fence but Blake (reinsman Blake Hughes) managed to get her out at the 400 and she sprinted really well," Murray said.  All smiles: A very happy trainer Russell Murray with reinsman Blake Hughes. Photo: Julie Maughan   The inform reinsman was happy with the mares' racing performance. "She was pretty good and had a good run through and finished the race off well," said Hughes, who had to switch Penny A Packet five wide around the final turn for a sprint home to grab the race on the line. "I was three back on the pegs and got out on the turn. She is a pretty good horse to drive and she is going good." "She let down pretty good so I felt confident on the line - she did it easy." After commencing his winning streak at the meeting with Penny A Packet, Hughes went on to produce three winners for the meeting with I'm So Better for the Tony Missen stables taking out the Multiquip Transport Pace and Max Power the Furney's Stock Feeds Tamworth Pace for trainer Clayton Harmey. Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Harness Racing Group one glory has commenced, with the running of the $100,000 TAB-sponsored regional championship finals. Tamworth has a shot on Saturday night in both the Hunter Region Championships Final at Newcastle and the Menangle Metropolitan Championships Final. Moonbi trainer and reinsman Dean Chapple will be carrying the Tamworth flag in the $100,000 Hunter Region Final, with Emm Aye Dee starting from the three barrier after qualifying for the race on May 9 at Newcastle in taking out the opening heat. The Sportswriter mare is raced by James Sills, and won the heat by a short half head and in a mile rate of 1min 57.1sec. For Chapple it will be another race on his "bucket list" to be ticked off in his lifelong journey in harness racing . He will have a warm-up for the feature when he contests the Hunter Regional Championships' $9,690 B consolation race with Right On With It - who he also trains and drives. The horse finished third to Elsie Gem in the eighth heat. "At the end of the day, win, lose or draw, we're there [in the final]. So, it's off my bucket list. It's great." Chapple told the Leader earlier this week. "Obviously being in a race like this it's the next level. So, I've gotta tick all the boxes going into this race." Fellow Tamworth trainer Graham Moon will see his stable runner Corsini contest the Menangle Metropolitan Championships' $14,970 A consolation race. The horse has drawn the four barrier and will be driven by Maitland reinsman Brad Elder. The Newcastle final will also be a big showcase for former Tamworth reinsman Tom Ison, who is relishing a purple patch in his career. He will take the reins behind the Adam Ruggari-trained Hazelnuts - a $3.30 favourite and the winner of the fourth heat.   And let's not forget Caitlin McElhinney - who recently moved from Nowra to Tamworth - and will take the reins behind the Neil Thompson-trained Ultra Bliss in the Newcastle final. Ultra Bliss will start from the 10 barrier after winning the ninth heat. Meanwhile, the Tamworth-owned Star Major will commence from the four barrier in the $100,000 TAB Metropolitan Regional Championships Final. The Art Major gelding is trained and driven by James Rattray and raced by Tamworth's Dean York. The championships are showcasing the best of the best in the regions, with Bathurst hosting their final on Wednesday night. The race was a dream come true for the Parkes father and son combination of Malcolm Hutching (the trainer) and his son Brett (the reinsman). Their win in the TAB Western Region Championships Final, with Terryrama, was a boil-over. Terryrama had a 2.3-metre win over the Josh Turnbull-trained and Nathan Turnbull-driven Bettor Jiggle and paid $81 for the win. Wagga will host the Riverina Regional Championships Final on Friday afternoon. +++ MAITLAND reinsman Blake Hughes was the star of last Sunday's Tamworth harness meeting, in driving five winners on the eight-race program. It is the second time the young reinsman has achieved this feat, with the other five-win day also coming at Tamworth. Hughes achieved three winners for his boss and mentor Clayton Huarmey behind Azure Express, Gold Reactor and Choisir Damour, before giving Tamworth trainer Tony Missen a training double with Are You With Me and I'm So Better. "It's pretty good to equal the record," said Hughes, with I'm So Better being his fifth winner on the night. "I took off with her at the 400[m] mark and she went pretty good. "I forgot about it (the record) and didn't know how many wins I was up to for the night but it was a good feeling once I realised I had the five." Missen has only had I'm So Better for two race starts. "You can't do more than win but she is a beautiful mare to do anything with," he said. "She came to me from Canberra." Hughes almost made it six winners but had to settle for a third placing with the Russell Murray-trained Penny A Packet in the last race. By Julie Maughan https://www.northerndailyleader.com.au/story/6764428/tamworth-in-thick-of-it-at-regional-championship-finals/Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Mitrhys Magic is back! After spending 15 months on the sidelines the nine-year-old gelding resumed racing at the Tamworth harness meeting last Thursday and achieved a winner straight up. "It's good to have him back to the track," reinsman Anthony Varga said after the win. Mitrhys Magic - or Barry as he is affectionately known around the stables - had his last race start at Maitland back in January 2019. "He bowed his tendon, and being an older horse it took a while longer with training but we got him back to the track," he said. Raced by John and Noelene Varga, Mitrhys Magic won the Johns Auto Service Pace by 11.8 metres over Apollon (Dean Chapple) with Lettucefireharvey (Michael Formosa) a further 6.5 metres away third. Mitrhys Magic commenced from the eight barrier and had to avoid race interference on the first turn when Louth Park Watch broke stride. "We were pretty lucky to see the horse gallop in front of us but everything worked out well and we missed the interference," Varga said. Mitrhys Magic settled into his racing rhythm four back on the outside running line in heavy rain while Lettucefireharvey headed up the field. "I was happy to be racing there though it would have been nice to be in the one by one," added Varga, who elected to make his race move 600 metres from home. "He (Mitrhys Magic) cruised up to them pretty easy and then at the 400 he put his foot down and did his best work." Mitrhys Magic will now have a start at Newcastle on Monday in the Trots TV Pace. "We will back him up at Newcastle. The field is the same class as was at Tamworth," Varga said. "Dad (John) is over the moon with the win and getting back to the track. Barry is his favourite horse and everything has been going good so far." He acknowledged trainer Ernie Mabbott for his help and expertise with Mitrhys Magic. "Big thanks have to go to Ernie Mabbott - he was happy to have Barry back at the track as well," he said. Mitrhys Magic - cleverly named after two of the Varga family grandchildren - Mitchell and Rhys - has shown good race form over the years with 93 race starts for 15 wins and 43 placings and will be looking to add to the winning tally at Newcastle on Monday afternoon. Varga has four drives at the Newcastle meeting - Mitrhys Magic and White Wash for the Ernie Mabbott stables, Rolamax for Tamworth trainer Neil Kliendienst and Cams A Million for Hunter Valley trainer Cameron Davies. Julie Maughan Reprinted wiuth permission of The Northern Daily Leader  

Conquer The Day will be making a return to the Tamworth Paceway this Thursday in the hope of making it déjà vu for her owner Debbie Finlay and her trainer husband Mick. A welcome addition to the Gunnedah stables, the five-year-old Roll With Joe mare produced a first up win for the couple at last week's Tamworth harness meeting. To watch the race click here. "We brought her (Conquer The Day) out of Wagga. It was Deb who picked her as she always wanted a Roll With Joe horse," Mick said. Conquer The Day also shot him back into the winner's circle with his last win as a trainer listed back in January 2011, with the win of Frostbitten at Muswellbrook. The couple have enjoyed success in the interim as owners, with other trainers handling their pacers. Unfortunately with the COVID 19 protocols Debbie was not permitted to be at the meeting to witness her horse taking line honours. "It was a good win," Mick said after Conquer The Day had won the ANZAC Day Pace. "The young grandson and Deb had to watch the race at home as they can't be here. [But] She is ecstatic." "I worked the mare with Tony (Missen) the other day in Tamworth and he said she worked good enough and when you look at Tommy Ison as a reinsman - from when he has come from driving the mini trotters to now, he has just matured that much." Mick had engaged the inform reinsman to handle Conquer The Day and thought he may have been picking up a place cheque in the last 600 metres of the race, but was full of praise for Ison's drive. "Over on the corner I thought we might run a hole here. But then "Magical Tommy" (referring to Ison) - he reminds me a bit of another reinsman in Peter Wellington - he can read a race and when to get a horse out," he said. "We are lucky to have young drivers like Tom, especially me." It was the first of three winning drives for Ison at the meeting, just short of his own personal record set at the Easter Monday meeting when he drove five winners on the program. Commencing from the one barrier, Conquer The Day went straight to the lead before Ison elected to hand up and take a run in behind the new race leader in Bailees Girl (Sam Ison) "We came out of the gate quick early and did a bit of work - the lead time was pretty quick 26.6 (seconds). I thought to hand up was my best chance to stay in the race at the end," Ison said. Making his race move as the field entered the final turn, he extricated Conquer The Day from the inside running before racing three wide. "She was three wide at the bottom turn and we went to the line good," he said. "She just started kicking away down the home straight." Conquer The Day went on for a 3.7 metre win over Nice One John (Brendan James) with Bailees Girl 3.8 metres away third. "I am happy to just get one win this week - I do drive a few horses for Mick and he was pretty rapt with that win," Ison added. For Finlay, who as the trainer has had to overcome restrictions with the COVID 19 pandemic, the win was something to treasure. "I can't work the horses at Gunnedah - I can only jog the horse at home and then I have to come over here to Tamworth as the showground is locked at home," he said. "I have been coming over from Gunnedah to work with Tony and Joy Missen and thanks to them otherwise we probably wouldn't have been here." Conquer The Day has drawn the four barrier in the Multiquip Hatchery Pace on Thursday, while Ison is listed for seven drives on an eight-race card. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of the Mamoi Valley Independent

Conquer The Day will be making a return to the Tamworth Paceway this Thursday in the hope of making it déjà vu for her owner Debbie Finlay and her trainer husband Mick. A welcome addition to the Gunnedah stables, the five-year-old Roll With Joe mare produced a first up win for the couple at last week's Tamworth harness meeting. "We brought her (Conquer The Day) out of Wagga. It was Deb who picked her as she always wanted a Roll With Joe horse," Mick said. Conquer The Day also shot him back into the winner's circle with his last win as a trainer listed back in January 2011, with the win of Frostbitten at Muswellbrook. The couple have enjoyed success in the interim as owners, with other trainers handling their pacers. Unfortunately with the COVID 19 protocols Debbie was not permitted to be at the meeting to witness her horse taking line honours. "It was a good win," Mick said after Conquer The Day had won the ANZAC Day Pace. "The young grandson and Deb had to watch the race at home as they can't be here. [But] She is ecstatic." "I worked the mare with Tony (Missen) the other day in Tamworth and he said she worked good enough and when you look at Tommy Ison as a reinsman - from when he has come from driving the mini trotters to now, he has just matured that much." Mick had engaged the inform reinsman to handle Conquer The Day and thought he may have been picking up a place cheque in the last 600 metres of the race, but was full of praise for Ison's drive. "Over on the corner I thought we might run a hole here. But then "Magical Tommy" (referring to Ison) - he reminds me a bit of another reinsman in Peter Wellington - he can read a race and when to get a horse out," he said. "We are lucky to have young drivers like Tom, especially me." It was the first of three winning drives for Ison at the meeting, just short of his own personal record set at the Easter Monday meeting when he drove five winners on the program. Commencing from the one barrier, Conquer The Day went straight to the lead before Ison elected to hand up and take a run in behind the new race leader in Bailees Girl (Sam Ison) "We came out of the gate quick early and did a bit of work - the lead time was pretty quick 26.6 (seconds). I thought to hand up was my best chance to stay in the race at the end," Ison said. Making his race move as the field entered the final turn, he extricated Conquer The Day from the inside running before racing three wide. "She was three wide at the bottom turn and we went to the line good," he said. "She just started kicking away down the home straight." Conquer The Day went on for a 3.7 metre win over Nice One John (Brendan James) with Bailees Girl 3.8 metres away third. "I am happy to just get one win this week - I do drive a few horses for Mick and he was pretty rapt with that win," Ison added. For Finlay, who as the trainer has had to overcome restrictions with the COVID 19 pandemic, the win was something to treasure. "I can't work the horses at Gunnedah - I can only jog the horse at home and then I have to come over here to Tamworth as the showground is locked at home," he said. "I have been coming over from Gunnedah to work with Tony and Joy Missen and thanks to them otherwise we probably wouldn't have been here." Conquer The Day has drawn the four barrier in the Multiquip Hatchery Pace on Thursday, while Ison is listed for seven drives on an eight-race card.   by Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

MONDAY'S Tamworth harness meeting proved to be successful for reinsman Tom Ison who went into the eight-race meeting listed for eight drives and picked up a personal best winning tally in driving five winners. "I really wanted the five winners - it didn't matter where it was - I just wanted the five winners," Ison said. "I have driven four winners three times before, but that is the first time driving five winners, it's a special achievement." The Tamworth native, who is now located at Central Mangrove working for the Roy Roots Junior stables said the result left him eager to tick off other career bucket list achievements. "I want to drive three winners at a Menangle meeting," he said. "I have driven a double at Menangle which was special but three is what I really want now." Ison began the Tamworth meeting by steering Mickey Ramone to a win for Tamworth trainer Tony Missen. "He (Mickey Ramone) got a bit keen but when we got that 31 (seconds) second quarter I felt pretty confident from there," Ison said. "He only has the one pace, but he just kept going and got home." The next four winning drives for Ison came courtesy of his boss Roy Roots Junior, starting with Black Eight, who commenced as a $2.30 favourite launching the wins. "We were pretty confident with that bloke as he showed in the race - he went too good," Ison said. "We went quick in the middle half with a couple of 29's - busted them (the field) up a bit and they were chasing." Racing out in the breeze whilst The Hounddog (Mark Callaghan) led the field, Black Eight went on for a 3.7 metre win over Milwaukee Volo (Guy Chapple) and The Hounddog a further 7.2 metres away third. "When the leader had had enough, he (Black Eight) was left out in the front and he wanted to pull up - I had to get busy on him," Ison said. Watching You Dream continued the winning sequence by taking out the Kevin and Kay Seymour/Tapscott Service Station Ladyship Pace. "She came out of the gate like she was tied to the mobile," Ison said. "My intention was to poke out and cruise into the chair and see where we ended up, but she absolutely bolted into that first turn." Watching You Dream (the $1.30 race favourite) also had an all-the- way win, just holding off a fast-finishing Always A Lexus (Jemma Coney) by a short half head and She's Worth It (Madi Young) a metre away third. Glengarry Rose then produced yet another win on the Golden Guitar Paceway, lifting Ison to four wins. "That was a good race and we went pretty quick with a solid tempo - she (Glengarry Rose) hit the line nice," Ison said. "Royal Gamble (Jack Callaghan) kept coming at us, but she (Glengarry Rose) never gives up which is the best bit." Bohannan's win in the Narrabri Cup gave Tom Ison his fifth winning drive for the day. "It is unbelievable - I have had five winners, two seconds (Harbour Town and Hes The Warrior) and a third (Regretable)," Ison said.   By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader  

Rising star reinsman Tom Ison had a day to remember at his hometown harness racing track of Tamworth yesterday with a haul of five winners. Four of the winners were for his boss Roy Roots Jnr with the remaining one for local trainer Anthony Missen. Ison has been in career-best form in recent weeks, posting a quartet at Newcastle-the third time he had achieved the feat. He has previously landed four winners on two occasions at Tamworth. But he went one better at Tamworth, with a fabulous five. "It certainly was a big day-I'm pretty excited," he said late yesterday while loading up the horses for home. The first winner for Missen was a blowout for punters starting at 30/1. Ison led all the way with Mickey Ramone (Armbro Operative-Key Attraction (Troublemaker). To watch the video replay click here. The next four were all in the market, but Ison showed he's a "class act" to get them over the line. The Ison/Roots combination was successful with Black Eight (Rocknroll Hanover-Bed Socks (Knight Rainbow); Watching Your Dream (He's Watching-MajorDreams (Major In Art); Glengarry Rose (Real Desire-Glengarry Lass (Live Or Die) and Bohannan (Santana Blue Chip-Ariana Angel (Elsu). To watch the video replay of Black Eight click here To watch the video replay of Watching Your Dreams click here To watch the video replay of Glengarry Rose click here To watch the video replay of Bohannan click here "It was unbelievable. I really wanted that last one to make it five and we just got there by a short half head, which makes it even more special," Ison said. "The race was a nice one to win. The owner of the horse rang during the week and asked about our chances. We thought he would go okay because he's a big strong horse," he said. "He was keen early so I decided to let him zip. I thought with 400 metres to go we may have been gone. But he just kept powering on." Ison has now driven over 50 winners for the season--with an enviable strike rate of finishing top three at least half the time. His tally last season was 39 wins and 62 placings. "It was nice to get the five at my old track. But it didn't really matter where it was, I just wanted to get them. My next ambition is to land a treble at Menangle. That would be sweet because I've had a double there." But there were no big festivities planned for the young man in a hurry. "My celebration on landing five winners will be McDonalds on the way home," he laughed. Another young gun in Jack Callaghan, who just recently was the toast of Newcastle with a bag of five winners, was again prominent at Tamworth with a winning double. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura               P 0498 490 672   E hello@newsalertpr.com.au   W www.newsalertpr.com.au      

Harness racing driver Travis Bullock will make his driving debut at his "home" track on Thursday afternoon as part of the eight-race Tamworth Paceway meeting. "We can call it [Tamworth] my home track - it will be good to be back," said Travis, formally from Tamworth but now based at Bathurst. After heading to Bathurst a couple of years back to join his father, Travis' drives at Tamworth will include the Joan Bullock Memorial - a race named in honour of his late mother. Travis won't be the only Bullock in action on Thursday. Peter will train his three runners. While Travis' older brother Cameron, manger of Bearing Accessories Tamworth, will be trackside to present the trophy to the winner of the $8,000 Bearing Accessories Local Pace - the support feature on the program. "Cam enjoys the day and all the [Bearing Accessories] workers come across as well. He owns Jackeroo Shannon, who is racing [on the day] and [he] is always looking for another horse," Travis said. Growing up in Tamworth, Travis had no interest in getting involved in the harness racing industry. "I had nothing to do with the handling of the horses, just followed them on the track," he said. "And Dad was living in Bathurst, and I thought a couple of years ago I would have a change of scenery and move [there]. "Dad was looking for workers and I thought I would give the horses a go." Travis received his driver's licence in 2019 and has already driven two winners in his short career. "I have had a winner at Dubbo and Parkes, and hopefully we can win Mum's race," he said. The 33-year-old continued: "I really enjoy it. There is no better excitement than being behind the barriers - it's an adrenaline rush. Even if I do run last, it is a buzz. "I'm pretty excited about driving in the race for the first time named in honour of Mum. Dad always has a runner in it each year and has won it a couple of times. "Time is getting away on us as it is 11 years since Mum passed away." Peter, formally a well-established trainer and reinsman in the North West, made the move to Bathurst to handle the training of the Rayngold horses, who all carry the Shannon name, with success. The father and son combination will kick off their day's racing at Tamworth with Lorenzo Shannon in the M&M Office National Tamworth Pace - starting from two barrier, and coming into the race off a last-start sixth at Dubbo. Smackdab Shannon will contest the Hygain Tracktorque Pace (1609 metres) from the nine barrier. Last-start winner at Young, Shannonsideal, will commence from the seven barrier in the Joan Bullock Memorial raced (1980m). "It won't be an easy race but we will see what we can do," Travis said. By Julue Maughan Reprinted wth permission of The Northern Daily Leader

After taking out last years running of the Garrard's Horse & Hound Tamworth City Cup seven-year-old harness racing gelding Gottashopearly showed he still had the stamina to take home a winner's cheque in the 2020 running of the feature race. Trained by Jake Mitchell it was a boost for the young Wyee trainer who was producing his second career winner as a trainer after engaging the services of Sydney reinsman Leigh Sutton. "We got rolling early and he is a great horse out in front - to the horse's credit he was too tough for them," Sutton said. "We will be happy that we got this one - the horse has been a grand old horse - he is just a machine." Gottshopearly went to the lead from the three barrier, setting a nice tempo with quarters in 30.7 seconds; 31.7 seconds; 28.9 seconds and 28.2 seconds. "Sometimes his form looks worse than it actually is," Sutton said. "If he can find the top around here it is nearly game set and match -he beat some nice horses then." Gottashopearly had a 6.3 metre victory over this year's The Pub Group Gold Nugget winner in Royal Gamble (Jack Callaghan) and Bathurst pacer Fouroeight from the Mat Rue stables. "I won a race on him (Gottashopearly) at Menangle over the long trip and he was in front then - he just does the job," Sutton said. "He has taken me on a journey this horse. We finished third in an Echuca Cup and it is a nice reward for the owners." Gottashopearly has had 18 career wins and 24 placings and was enjoying his first race start since racing at Bankstown in August last year. After winning last year's Tamworth City Cup with a mile rate of 2.01.1 for the 2360m, the Rocknroll Hanover-Saabette gelding clocked a mile rate of 2.00.5 for the same distance in the 2020 running. He has an with the Tamworth Paceway after being crowned the 2018/19 Horse of the Year at Tamworth. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

The Cameron Davies trained Battle Chimes will commence from the one barrier in the running of the $50,000 Group 2 Multiquip Golden Guitar final on Thursday evening at the Tamworth Paceway. In taking out the fourth heat of the series last Sunday at Tamworth, the Sawyers Gully trained pacer was under the hands of Sydney reinsman Josh Gallagher. "The horse has got plenty of ability and hopefully he can go all the way in the final," Gallagher said after the victory. After enduring a four-wide run around the final bend with Battle Chimes, Gallagher pressed forward with the Tell All gelding after race leader Court On The Edge, from the Kerry McDowell stables at Mulgoa, broke stride. "We got a bit of luck coming around the final bend - it was a bit unfortunate for the McDowell stables," Gallagher said. To watch this race click here. Battle Chimes is raced by Maitland owners Vicki Kirkwood and her daughter Jess. "Hopefully we can get a good draw and be up there at the finish," Gallagher said. In his heat, Battle Chimes commenced from the three barrier and after the four-wide run around the field, went on for an 8.6 metre win over Majordoit (Tim Gillespie) and Court On The Edge (Madi Young) 3.7 metres away in third and a mile rate of 1.58.5. Battle Chimes recently contested the Maitland Inter City Pace, finishing third to Benalong Valley (Cameron Hart). The Hunter Valley also featured in the final heat, with the Maitland brother and sister combination of Brad Elder driving Ashark to a win in the Multiquip Poultry Golden Guitar Heat 5 for his sister Melanie who trains the Four Starzzz Shark gelding. "When the fields came out for the heat, we drew seven and we thought we couldn't have drawn any worse but it turned out a blessing," Brad Elder said after the win. "He trialled pretty good last week, so we thought we were some sort of hope in the heats. "He is a pretty good horse and just getting to where he needs to be now. and will be a good horse in the final." Sydney pacer Letterkenny Boy (Jarrod Alchin) led the field while Ashark was locked three back on the inside running line until 400 metres from home. Elder took a chance on the final turn when a split in running evolved to go on for a 2.3 metre win over, He Bettor Step Aside (Blake Fitzpatrick) and Gotta Moment 1.4 metres away third. Ashark held a mile rate of 1.58.0 for the entire 1980 metre journey. Brad Elder, along with his father Darren, won the 2019 Tamworth Harness Racing Club Golden Guitar Consolation with Dawn Magic, with Brad Elder now looking for the top prize. "I won the consolation last year and it's good to be in the big one this time," Elder said. Ashark has drawn barrier seven in the Multiquip Golden Guitar Final. Thursday's nine-race card begins with the first race from 5.33pm. The Golden Guitar final will be the sixth race of the evening and will begin at 8.06pm. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Elly Chapple has achieved something she has quietly been working towards - her first harness racing career winning drive. At last week's Tamworth harness meeting, Chapple piloted Right On With It to establish that first winning drive. "I had no words to describe the feeling of winning the race after the finish - I couldn't stop shaking, it was crazy," stated the near 17-year-old who also picked up The Pub Group Drive of the Day. Coming up through the Mini Trot ranks via the Tamworth Club, Chapple progressed on to make her debut into the senior driving ranks back in April at the Narrabri Carnival of Cups meeting.  WINNING FEELING: Right On With It bests Onahi Delight (Leigh Sutton) and Ghost Gum (Stacey Weidemann).   It was only fitting that Elly should have her first winning drive in the Tamworth Regional Mini Trot Association Pace over 1609 metres last Thursday on her home track. "It was good being in the mini trots before as it helped a lot in getting a bit more confidence," stated the vibrant young lady who had been part of the mini trot scene for many years before graduating to the registered races. Chapple, a Year 11 student at Oxley High School, recounted her driving efforts and how she came to gain the success with Right On With It. "I drew the five barrier and landed up one-by-one behind Layby Lenny (Anthony Varga), which was a perfect spot," she said. "We were aiming to go forward to lead but the one-by-one presented itself and it was perfect." With the grey pacer Ghost Gum, piloted by Stacey Weidemann, leading the field, Chapple was playing the race out in her mind and holding back her run, before placing an impressive three-wide run around the field from the 400-metre mark. "He felt super the whole way. I nursed him up around the bend and just waited for as long as I could and the horse couldn't have done a better job," added Chapple. "I probably had to go a little bit earlier than what I wanted to because Leigh Sutton came around with Onahi Delight. I had to go in the back straight a bit before I had planned to. But other than that it was perfect "I was so excited I just waited up for as long as I could and I just knew I had to go for it. "Dad said from the start that Right On With It would be my first winner. He was my first fast-work drive." Right On With It held on for a neck win over Onahi Delight, with Ghost Gum three metres away in third place. For Moonbi trainer-reinsman Dean Chapple, he enjoyed sitting on the sidelines along with his wife Julie, watching as his daughter succeed. "Elly's win was just out of this world - it was a 10 out of 10 effort," said Dean. "We have been working towards this win for a while. "That would be up there with any of my wins. I was sitting there going not now not now. I was driving the race for her from the sidelines." Dean, who is leading the drivers premiership at Tamworth, had success himself at the meeting - training a double with Right On With it and new stable acquisition Aucklander. Aucklander won the opening event of the day, the TAB.Com.Au Three-Year-Old Pace, which also placed Chapple into the winner's circle with the reins. "It was a good run by Aucklander - I got into the one-by-one and then I took off," Dean said. "He ended up getting cover for the last lap and I pulled out at the 400m and he was just too good." Aucklander had a four-metre win over Shez Got Bling (Madi Young) with A Paradigm Shift (Peter Hedges) another two metres away in third place. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Tamworth's Ison family have once again placed their names into the chronicles of harness racing history in the north west. For siblings Sam, Tom and Emma it was an Armidale harness meeting back in 2018 when the trio first came to prominence after driving a winner each on the program. Thursday's Tamworth harness meeting saw the Ison name being registered in yet another significant flair when Tom and Emma Ison had a dead heat for the win in the Tamworthharnessracing.com.au Ladyship Pace. Tom Ison accepted the drive behind the Dwayne Brown trained What A Flight and from the one barrier it appeared as if the 10-year-old mare was going to have an all the way win. That was until younger sister Emma placed in her bid for supremacy for the race title with a three wide run and a dash down the home straight with Bailee's Girl. "The win was brilliant and it is so good to share it with Tommy too" stated Emma. Emma Ison was engaged by her father Andy Ison to take the reins behind Bailee's Girl - a five-year-old mare that he both owns and trains - which certainly made the race a family affair. What A Flight was setting the race tempo while Miss Catalina (Lola Weidemann) raced out in the breeze. "We copped a bit of pressure in the race but she got home" added Ison of What A Flight who is raced by Tanya Welsh with the mares last win recorded at Newcastle back in October last year. Older brother Sam Ison elected to sit his pacer Roll With Tricky in on the leaders back in the running of the 1980 metre race while Emma Ison was in turn posted three back on the inside running line with Bailees Girl. The final turn into the home straight saw Emma Ison masterly bring Bailees Girl out of the inside running line to race three wide and sprint down the home straight. "She (Bailees Girl) sprints really well - she is a good sit and sprint horse but I didn't think I would catch him (Tom) by the time we hit the line" added Emma "I was sitting on the back of Sam (Roll With Tricky) and travelling really well. I knew if we got a crack we would get somewhere" "I thought he (Tom) had beat us" added Emma who welcomed the win with her last winning drive being at Tamworth back in January behind Tepary. For Tom Ison who governed the field from the outset with What A Flight there was a second glance when he noticed his younger sister Emma had joined him at the finish line. "At that last second I was surprised that it was Emma on the outside but I thought she had beat me by a neck or so as she was finishing that quick" added Tom Ison. "It was a special moment - absolutely" added Tom "there is no one better to have a dead heat with than your little sister" Elder brother Sam Ison finished fourth with Roll With Tricky in the race - just missing out on making it a family trifecta before he himself presented in the winner's circle later in the meeting. Sam Ison drove the Greg Coney trained Lettucefirestar to an all the way win in the Garrard's Horse and Hound Pace. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Tamworth's Sarah Rushbrook ticked all the boxes with the win of Gotta Rush at last week's Tamworth harness meeting when listed as owner, breeder, trainer and driver. Gotta Rush won the Psarakis Accounting Pace after overcoming some inference on the first turn of the 1980 metre event before Rushbrook elected to travel three wide around the field to take the lead. "I got checked on the first turn and ended up three wide. I decided to push forward and the lead was there so I took it," said Rushbrook after the win. "I drove her like she was a good horse" added Rushbrook who is more than proud of the efforts of the four-year-old mare, especially after a short period of health issues with Gotta Rush." Gotta Rush gained her first win back in April 2018 at Narrabri followed by three minor placings before spending 10 months in the paddock with an unknown alignment. "We took her away from the track as we could not pin point the illness- even sent her to Randwick Equine with no result - but she is back on track now - and I'm glad," added Rushbrook. Gotta Rush resumed her racing back in April this year and with four runs back produced the impressive win. "She switched off turning for home - she only does what she needs to until something comes at her - then she is like a cattle dog and fights," relayed Rushbrook. Newcastle on Saturday night will be the next start for Gotta Rush who will commence from the three barrier in the Firestorm Fire Protection Brisbane Stakes. "I have to give her an opportunity," added Rushbrook with Gotta Rush having only 26 career starts for two wins and four placings. Young guns Jack Callaghan and Jake Hughes have been selected to represent the Hunter/North West Regions at this week's 2019 New South Wales Rising Star competition. The event pits some of the best and brightest young drivers from around the state against each other and sees them battle it out for the top prize. Callaghan at just 17, has had 35 career wins and states his father Mark Callaghan along with John and Todd McCarthy as his biggest career influences and is looking to make harness racing his career and to drive Group 1 winners. Hughes (Hunter/North) also aged 17 has had 27 career winning drives including his last winning drive being last Monday at the Maitland meeting behind Royal Lefty from the John Radley stables. The first round of heats will take place at Tacborp Park, Menangle on Tuesday. Tamworth will host its next harness racing meeting on June 27. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Roll With Tricky deserved her win in the Hazell's Farm & Fertilizer Ladyship Pace at Tamworth. Harness racing punters were in agreement - when they sent Roll With Tricky out as the $2.70 favourite. "It was a nice draw and I wasn't too convinced about the 1980 metres but she went good," was how trainer and reinsman Sam Ison summed up the win of the five-year-old Roll With Joe mare. The two barrier was certainly to Roll With Tricky's liking, with her heading straight to the lead. She was joined by Always A Lexus (Madi Young) from the five barrier, who took up running outside of Roll With Tricky. "Always A Lexus was eyeballing us all the way but my mare kept going and didn't care," Ison said. With Always A Lexus kicking just ahead of Roll With Tricky by half a length as the pair raced out of the back straight on the final occasion, Roll With Tricky was prepared to take the challenge to Always A Lexus. "I tried to stay there and she didn't give up - she kicked again," said Ison of Roll With Tricky, who dominated down the home straight to come away for a metre win over last-start winner Whoseashadylady (Stacey Weidemann). Maghera Maggie (Anthony Varga) was another two metres away in third place. Roll With Tricky has shown some steadfastness over the past month, with a second in a heat of the Club Dubbo Golden Gig series at Tamworth. She then headed to Dubbo for that final on May 24 - where she finished second, beaten by six metres by Rocknroll Dude. "If we could have got out earlier in that Dubbo race, it would have been good. But we got stuck in a pocket and had to chase to the line, but we were happy with her run," Ison said. Roll With Tricky is raced by Ison's partner Naomi Newman. "As an owner I think Naomi is pleased - she does a lot of work with the horse as well," Ison said. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

Too Good For You was exactly that in the running of the Perc Verning Memorial at the Tamworth harness racing meeting on Thursday afternoon - too good! With the enviable barrier draw of the one barrier reinswoman Stacey Weidemann rated the four-year-old gelding well out in the lead whilst undertaking race pressure from Jackeroo Shannon from the Sarah Rushbrook stables racing out in the breeze. "He doesn't get a good barrier draw too often and when he does you have to make the most of it," stated Stacey Weidemann of the one barrier for Too Good For You. "Jackeroo Shannon was probably the one at the start that we thought if we hold him out, we lead. I knew I had to hold him out to stand a good chance." After commencing from the two barrier Jackeroo Shannon kept the race pressure on Too Good For You until the final 150 metres where Weidemann motivated her charge around the final turn to come away for a 10.8m win over Tap It In (Tom Ison), with Jackeroo Shannon a further 3.5m away third. Too Good For You "He is a bit of fun this little horse - he is a pleasure to have. We have had a good run with him since the owners gave him to us," added Weidemann, who was notching her second win in the feature race after guiding Fours Enuf Tas to the win in 2016. Raced over the 2360m Too Good For You recorded a mile rate of 2.03.6 minutes for the race distance in achieving his eight race win from 48 starts. "He finished the race off on his ear and you couldn't have asked him (Too Good For You) to finish it any better," Weidemann said. Named in honour of the late Perc Verning, who was a founding member of harness racing at Tamworth, this year was the fifth running of the memorial race.  The presentation with Jack, Bev and Spud Verning - children of Perc Verning. Photo: PeterMac Photography.   The inaugural winner back in 2015 was Alyeska Dream, which was fittingly trained by Perc's son Spud Verning. "Dad loved his harness racing and he would be up there looking down on us today," Verning said. The Weidemann name is now listed on three occasions with Stacey Weidemann taking the 2016 running followed by Lola Weidemann in 2017 with Rocknroll Annie. The Puritan from the Richard Williams stables won the 2018 running. With Lola Weidemann training Too Good For You she went on to pick up a winning double at the meeting as a trainer when Miss Catalina won the Pitt Express Ladyship Pace with Moonbi reinsman Dean Chapple taking the catch drive. "I have been fortunate to get a few drives off Lola - it's a nice stable - the horses are tough and easy to drive," Chapple said. "We had to drive for luck and there wasn't much going our way for a while but we got luck in the home straight. She (Miss Catalina) is a mare with 215 race starts - she is just a marvel - she saw the gap and she went for it." After sitting three back on the inside running line Chapple saw a gap on the home turn guiding Miss Catalina clear to come away for a half neck win over a fast finishing Roll With Tricky (Sam Ison) and Myanga Sportsgirl (Stacey Weidemann) 2.5m away third. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

More than 100 of the best drivers and horses from Queensland, Victoria and NSW have starred at the harness racing NSW Mini-Trots Championships in Tamworth. The weekend-long competition saw competitors battle it out for trophies, rugs and the opportunity to qualify for inter-dominion races in the future. Tamworth was well represented during the championships with Secret Mission taking out the top honour in the Shetland category. Meanwhile, Bella Donna secured victory in the midget category while Velvet's Little Star was the best in the pony category. NSW Mini-trots Association president Jeff James told the Leader this year's championships were of top quality. "All up we had 122 drivers and 154 horses taking part in this year's championships," James said. "Those numbers are down a little bit from last year but I think it is still pretty good considering how much the drought is taking a toll on all of us. "We had people coming from as far as 12 hours away to take part, which I think shows how good this competition is." With NSW dominating the recent national mini-trots championships, many of the weekend's competitors were looking to stake their claim to compete at the highest level in the future. "It is a growing sport and I think the results at a national level reflect that," James said. "A lot of the accolades should go to Harness Racing NSW, who have thrown so much behind the sport to help get it going. "We saw a very high quality competition here in Tamworth this weekend and I think that will continue into the future." James said there were now pathways in place to help encourage new competitors to get involved in the sport. "At the moment there are weekend camps being run by Harness Racing NSW to help develop young horses and drivers," he said. "I think a lot of the kids we have had competing this weekend will go towards that now. "It's just another way Harness Racing NSW is trying to grow the sport and hopefully that will prompt the same sort of growth in the other states." James said he hoped the championships would return to Tamworth in 2020. "We do have to have our annual general meeting and we will decide then as to where it will be held next year," he said. "Hopefully we can come back to Tamworth, it's a great facility, attracts good numbers in terms of quality competitors and always proves to be a great place to hold the championships."   State's best drivers, horses prove hot to trot in Tamworth   All Photos by Gareth Gardner                 By Billy Jupp   Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

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