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A DECISION to send Australian Pacing Gold purchase No Win No Feed to New South Wales has certainly paid dividends. Prepared in Victoria last season by part-owner Jaime Madruga, No Win No Feed was transferred to Craig Cross’ stable for her three-year-old campaign. Making her racing return when second in a Bathurst Gold Bracelet heat last week, the handy filly was back at the venue for tonight’s Final. Driven “a treat” by Todd McCarthy, No Win No Feed upstaged her more fancied rivals to capture the Group One. “I sent her up for a few races with John McCarthy last season and was going to send her there again, but he is going away, so he said to send her to Craig,” Madruga explained. “She did well in the heat in her first run for seven months and was always going to be better for the run. “The boys had her primed perfectly for the Final.” Beginning quickly to lead from barrier five, No Win No Feed was allowed to roll along as the favourite, Brooklyns Best, worked at the pacemaker’s wheel. Striding clear around the home turn, the daughter of A Rocknroll Dance was untouched to score by 12-and-a-half metres from Our Ultimate Julie, with Brooklyns Best three-and-a-half metres away third. “Todd drove a treat,” Madruga said. “He knew the better ones had to come from behind so he made it hard on them. “We felt if she got the front without doing much work and could run her own race she would take a lot of running down.” Rating 1:55.5 over 2260 metres, No Win No Feed took her record to three wins and seven placings from 19 starts for earnings of $76,060. “Andy (Sinclair, part-owner) picked her at the APG Sale and we got her for only $10,000,” Madruga said. “This is Leigh’s (Flanagan) first horse and he’ll be over the moon.” Poised to remain in New South Wales, No Win No Feed will be aimed at the Breeders’ Challenge later in the season.   APG Media

TASMANIANS will be keen to claim Max Delight as one of their own, or at the very least acknowledge his local connection, on Sunday night. Although prepared in Victoria, the David Aiken-trained youngster is owned on the Apple Isle by Michael Maxfield, who purchased the son of Bettors Delight at the Australian Pacing Gold Sale. As such, Max Delight is heading across Bass Strait to tackle the state’s Derby in Hobart. The Blue Riband is part of a sensational card which includes the Pacing Cup, Trotters’ Cup and Oaks. “Michael wanted him to come down to try and win the local Derby,” Aiken said. “He will head over on the boat this arvo and get there in the morning. “With Menangle on Friday night this week Todd McCarthy will make the trip down to drive him.” McCarthy combined with Max Delight to capture the New South Wales Derby at Tabcorp Park Menangle a fortnight ago. While he was among the outsiders in the Group One, Max Delight is a short-priced favourite this time around after drawing to lead throughout from barrier two. “He came through his Sydney runs in great shape,” Aiken said. “I gave him a couple of light days after that and he has been working up nicely since. “He’s drawn well and will be pretty hard to beat.” To be given another short break following this weekend’s assignment, the colt is poised to return to the scene of his Group One triumph later in the season. “He will have a little freshen up after the Derby,” Aiken said. “He is New South Wales-bred so the Breeders’ Challenge in June will be his next main target. “I’ll see what I can find in between as a lead-up to that series.”   APG Media

A LIGHTNING mile left several favourites gasping for breath as 50-1 outsider Max Delight scored a shock win in tonight's APG-sponsored NSW Derby at Menangle. Starting at $71, Max Delight came out hard early before settling three back on the pegs as favoured runners Centenario ($2.50 favourite) and Victorian Derby winner Muscle Factory ($3.10) along with surprise early leader Lochinvar Art tussle for the early lead. It was another master stroke by Menangle's leading reinsman Todd McCarthy to sit and wait before springing into action as the field wheeled in the home straight. Surprisingly Centenario (Chris Alford) was among the first beaten and Muscle Factory followed soon afterwards as the record-breaking speed began to take its toll. The David Aiken trained Max Delight surged to the front in the home straight while stablemate Malcolms Rhythm (Luke McCarthy) found a gap up on the pegs and grabbed second place, 1.4m behind the winner, who rated 1:51.5 to take an incredible 1.2s of Smolda and Demon Delight's previous record for the journey. Lochinvar Art (Luke McCarthy) finished third. Aiken was naturally ecstatic after the win, his second group one of the night. "Derbys are the hardest races to win and I have been trying to win this race for a long time, so this is particularly satisfying," said Aiken. Reinsman Todd McCarthy, gunning for the Miracle Mile later in the night with Tiger Tara, was also over the moon with his success. "I have to thank David for the support he has shown me and I am just glad I was able to reward them with this win," he said. While Aiken landed the quinella in the big race, the McCarthy brothers, Todd and Luke also finished first and third in the $200,000 feature. Max Delight was certainly bred to be good, besides being by champion sire Bettors Delight, he is out of a former NSW Oaks winner in Lady Euthenia, who won the fillies' classic in 2010. Sean Vella SVella@clubmenangle.com.au    

If Tiger Tara is going to complete pacing’s Triple Crown at Menangle on Saturday he is going to have to do it the hard way. After capturing both the Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup this summer the NSW pacer will try to add the A$1million Miracle Mile to give him a sweep of Australia’s three most prestigious races. But this time there is likely to be a huge difference as the great stallion could struggle to secure his favoured pacemaking role. In both of his major wins this season and also the Victoria Cup in October, Tiger Tara was able to lead and driver Todd McCarthy able to increase the tempo over the last 1200m, particularly in the section between the 800m and 400m to get his rivals gasping. But his chances of dictating in the Mile on Saturday night look slim after he drew barrier seven with most of his favoured rivals drawn inside him. Poster Boy, winner of the Chariots of Fire nine days ago came up with the ace draw while Thefixer, who surprisingly divebombed Tiger Tara with sheer speed in beating him in a prelude at Menangle on Saturday night, has barrier two. Add in the wild card entry of Chase Auckland at three and Saturday night’s other Mile prelude winner Spankem from barrier six (after likely scratchings) and Tiger Tara not only has a lot of horses who will want to park him out but also some very quick sit-sprinters who could be sitting around him. The end result is the Tiger Tara is only on the third line of betting at $4.60 alongside Chase Auckland while Poster Boy heads the TAB market at $3.60 and Thefixer at $3.80. Thefixer was superb on Saturday as was Spankem while Chase Auckland snuck into the race after winning race two and because the two third placegetters in the Mile preludes were not deemed to be strong candidates. Thefixer will have co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen in the sulky even though she copped an eight-week suspension on Saturday night for her drive on Chase Auckland in the Chariots Of Fire a week earlier. Most importantly her suspension doesn’t start until after this week’s meeting so she is free to drive Thefixer, with Mark Purdon will drive Spankem and Luke McCarthy on Chase Auckland. Other big winners in the draws for Saturday’s star-studded meeting were Centenario in the NSW Derby and returning NZ star filly Our Princess Tiffany in the NSW Oaks. And Dream About Me will start from the ace draw in the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile in which pre-draw favourite Tell Me Tales fared terribly in the copping the outside of the front line. The field for the $1million Ainsworth Miracle Mile is.—- Poster Boy (1), Thefixer (2), Chase Auckland (3), Yayas Hot Spot (4), Our Uncle Sam (5), My Alpha Rock (6), Spankem (7), Tiger Tara (8), My Field Marshal (9), Cruz Bromac (10). Ems: Our Uncle Sam, Cruz Bromac.   Michael Guerin

Harness Racing Australia (HRA) announced today that the current Australian Driving Champion, Todd McCarthy, had been selected to be Australia’s representative in the prestigious 2019 World Driving Championships in Sweden. “Australia is fortunate to have so many skilled and talented drivers at present, with selection not made any easier with the criteria based on a balance of merit, performance, presentation, attitude, adaptability to conditions and promotional opportunities,” HRA Chairman Mr Michael Taranto said. “The HRA Executive considered a number of drivers for selection and all would have been fine representatives of our country.  That said, we can only send one representative and I have no doubt Todd will perform well in the demanding series and be a wonderful ambassador for Australian harness racing, ” he said. The World Driving Championship was established in 1970 and is held every two years, in conjunction with the World Trotting Conference. The last series was conducted in Canada in 2017 and was won by the local host hero, James McDonald. James McDonald will return to defend his title alongside McCarthy and 10 other drivers (12 in total) from Sweden, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway and United States of America. The 2019 Championship runs from 24 May to 31 May and consists of 24 Heats across 6 race meetings at 5 different racetracks.  The Series begins at Solvalla, Stockholm, at meetings on 24 (4 Heats) and 25 May (1 Heat) before moving to Lindesberg on 27 May (5 Heats) and Eskilstuna on 28 May (5 Heats).  The fourth leg is 29 May at Rättvik (4 Heats) before the 31 May finale at Gävle (5 Heats). Todd McCarthy will be attempting to emulate the feats of two Australian drivers who have won the World Driving Championship – Queenslander Keith Addison in 1975 and Ted Demmler of Victoria in 1987. Harness Racing Australia

There was one question on everybody's lips after Tiger Tara destroyed his rivals in the A$500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton. And it is the question we will never be able to answer. Is this version, the enormously-improved version of Tiger Tara, as good as his now-retired nemesis Lazarus? Maybe they shouldn't be the questions people ask after Tiger Tara had completed a Melton triple crown on Saturday night, having already won the Victoria Cup and Inter Dominion there this season. Add to that his bravest of nose seconds to Thefixer in the New Zealand Cup at Addington in November and you have one of the great seasons in modern pacing history. Maybe Tiger and his army of fans should be able to bath in that glory and the promise of a Miracle Mile now a month away. But that is not the way the human brain, particularly the racing brain, usually works. Because Tiger Tara has been so dominant over most of Australasia's best pacers this season that you have to wonder is he just clearly better than he was in the last two seasons when Kiwi champ Lazarus would routinely thrash him. Yes, Tiger Tara scored victories over Lazarus in lead-up races to more serious targets, but the stats are stacked unarguably in Lazarus's favour before he was sold to the States last year and subsequently retired one of the fastest milers ever. A brief stat check: Lazarus beat Tiger Tara in one New Zealand Cup by 10 lengths, by five in another. And last season when Tiger Tara led in both the Inter Dominion and the Hunter Cup, Lazarus sat parked, covering up to 20m more and destroyed him. So there can be no argument that Lazarus was a better horse than Tiger Tara. But if Laz had stuck around and Tiger Tara has improved as much as his times suggest, would their rivalry still be as one-sided? Driver Todd McCarthy, still buzzing from his record spin around Melton, stopped short of saying the tables would be turned in the race we will never see. "I have no doubts Tiger has improved, he has just kept getting better," says McCarthy. "And Kevin [Pizzuto] has learned about the horse too and maybe trains him differently for the lead-up races now than he used to. "So he is definitely better. But beating Lazarus regularly, I am not sure about that. "But I wish Laz was still racing down here because it would be special to watch them go at it now." With times all but irrelevant as a class guide in harness racing these days, it is hard to fathom that Tiger Tara has improved enough to be considered in the same class at Lazarus had the latter held his form this season. And there is a reality racing promoters never like to admit even though they whisper about it in secret: that this open class crop isn't that good. Shorn of an injured Chicago Bull and with New Zealand's best pacer Turn It Up, who isn't ready for the Grand Circuit yet, maybe Tiger Tara is beating up good but not great open class rivals. The possible exception to that is Thefixer, who was poor by his standards after a hard trip on Saturday night. But he did still beat Tiger Tara in the New Zealand Cup, albeit with a far easier trip. So it might be unfair to pit 2019 Tiger Tara against 2017 and 2018 Lazarus. But the gut, the eye and their overall strike rates suggest that as special as Tiger Tara is now, his deeds also serve to remind us how truly great Lazarus was.   Michael Guerin Reprinted with permission of New Zealand Herald

They ran and they ran and they ran, and Tiger Tara was simply better than them. Tonight’s A.G. Hunter Cup in a nutshell, as the Kevin Pizzuto-trained wonder horse from New South Wales added Victoria’s most prestigious Grand Circuit trophy to his cabinet at Tabcorp Park Melton. The eight-year-old stallion already boasts the silverware from last year’s Victoria Cup and December’s Inter Dominion Grand Final. And he didn’t just win those races either, he blitzed his opposition. All up, his accumulated winning margin for the three classics is 41.1m. “He’s an amazing animal and he deserves everything this horse,” Pizzuto said. “They said the horse wasn’t at his best tonight … but I told them he was. And he was.” Tiger Tara started $1.90 favourite and won by a whopping 14.5 metres in a new track record mile rate of 1:53.2, smashing his own previous mark by 0.7sec “He’s an absolute pleasure to be a part of,” winning reinsman 25-year-old Todd McCarthy said. “All credit to the horse and Kevin, who does such a great job with this horse.” Photos: Ashlea Brennan Photography Our Uncle Sam finished second, making it the same quinella as the ID18 final, while San Carlo ran on hard for third ahead of warhorse veteran Flaming Flutter and the fast-finishing Buster Brady. Watch the video here.   Cody Winnell for Trots Media   7 9:32pm DEL-RE NATIONAL A G HUNTER CUP (GROUP 1) 2760M $500,000 M0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 TIGER TARA NZ      Fr3 3 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy   $ 1.90 fav  PRS GS L 1 NTR SWAB ST HT   BAY HORSE 8 by BETTORS DELIGHT USA out of TARA GOLD (NZ) (DREAM AWAY USA)  Owner(s): M Hawli, C L Pizzuto, K J Pizzuto, T N Pizzuto  Breeder(s): R P (Raymond) Anicich 2 OUR UNCLE SAM      Fr1 1 Chris Frisby Anthony Frisby 14.5m $ 6.80   PRS GS 3 SWAB ST HT 3 SAN CARLO      Fr6 6 Stephen O'Donoghue Rebecca Bartley 27.2m $ 39.40   PRS 3WE 8 3WLT SWAB ST HT 4 FLAMING FLUTTER NZ      Fr2 2 Geoff Webster Greg Sugars 28.0m $ 109.00   PRS 7 HI CTS RR VXAR 5 BUSTER BRADY NZ      Fr4 4 Kima Frenning Kima Frenning 28.1m $ 40.20   PRS GS 3WE D/CSG 6 QUER 6 WRAPPERS DELIGHT      Sr1 8 David Aiken Gavin Lang 30.3m $ 34.60   PRS 5 7 THEFIXER NZ      Sr4 11 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Natalie Rasmussen 33.3m $ 3.90   PRS 3WET 3WM 2 SCT QUER VXAR SCOPE 8 CRUZ BROMAC NZ      Sr2 9 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Mark Purdon 62.0m $ 10.50   PRS 3WET INC 4 TIRE VXAR SCOPE QPP 9 STAR GALLERIA NZ      Sr3 10 Steven Reid Tony Herlihy 72.4m $ 16.60   PRS W1 3WLT TIRE QPP VXAR SCOPE 10 RAUKAPUKA RULER NZ      Fr5 5 Tim Butt Anthony Butt 82.2m $ 121.00   PRS 10 Scratchings   CANT REFUSE NZ (LATE) 7 Track Rating: Gross Time: 3:14:2 Mile Rate: 1:53:2 Lead Time: 81.2 First Quarter: 28.9 Second Quarter: 28.9 Third Quarter: 27.2 Fourth Quarter: 28 Margins: 14.5m x 12.7m  

TIGER ROARS TO VICTORY IN TRACK RECORD TIME Sydneysider Tiger Tara was a brilliant victor of the $500,000 (Group 1) 2018 TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final over 2760 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night, winning by a 14.4 metre margin in advance of roughie Our Uncle Sam, Cruz  Bromac and Spankem in a mile rate of 1-53.9 which took .2 seconds off Lazarus’ 1-54.9 established last year. Trained to perfection by Kevin Pizzuto at Rossmore, Tiger Tara with regular reinsman Todd McCarthy aboard, began with a wing on every foot from outside the front line to cross outsider Mach Doro (gate four) which had speared past polemarker Galactic Star as the starter released the field. Galactic Star was to gallop on the first turn causing inconvenience to Im Pats Delight (gate three} which allowed Mattie Craven (gate two) to angle to the back of Mach Doro and San Carlo to shift off the inside to park in the open giving Im Pats Delight one/one cover. The highly fancied “All Stars” stablemates Spankem (gate five) and Cruz Bromac (gate two on the second line) settled three and four back in the moving line, with Cruz Bromac momentarily moving three wide before easing back to trail Spankem. Once the speed slackened, Gavin Lang sent Im Pats Delight forward to park in the open, with Bec Bartley shortly after sending San Carlo forward to face the breeze. The order remained the same until the bell when Mark Purdon and Spankem eased three wide to start a forward move, with Natalie Rasmussen (Cruz Bromac) immediately latching to his back for a sweet ride home and Our Uncle Sam  (one/three) trailing the pair. Given full rein prior to the home turn, Tiger Tara bounded away with Spankem and Cruz Bromac giving chase as San Carlo started to give ground with Im Pats Delight again being hampered. Well clear on straightening, Tiger Tara simply toyed with his rivals, with Our Uncle Sam giving Anthony Frisby the “thrill of a lifetime” by running into second place, Cruz Bromac third, Spanken fourth and Im Pats Delight a game fifth after not enjoying any luck at all after copping more cheques than a bank teller. In quarters of 30.1, 28.7, 26.3 and 27.9 for the last mile, Tiger Tara ran his rivals ragged, prompting Kevin Pizzuto who was lost for words to comment after the race how this horse is “unbelievable”. A 8Y0 entire by Bettors Delight from the Dream Away mare Tara Gold, Tiger Tara must have a wonderful constitution after this season being involved in a horrific car accident which tipped the float over threatening his racing career, before travelling to Victoria to claim the Victoria Cup, then heading across the Tasman to finish a nose second in the New Zealand Cup to Thefixer after racing exposed prior to the ID campaign which saw him win one heat with two placings. For Todd McCarthy who has developed into one of Australia’s top reinsmen, the victory gave him without doubt his biggest moment in harness racing. Raced by the Pizzuto family and M. Hawli, Tiger Tara has fronted the starter 99 times for 31 wins and 37 placings for stake earnings in excess of $1,960,000. THE TROTTERS  Most were of the opinion that the 2760 metre $150,000 (Group 1) ID Trotters Grand Final would be taken out by Andy and Kate Gath’s star Kiwi bred 7Y0 Skyvalley-Begin gelding Tornado Valley (gate six) unbeaten through the heats, or John Dickie’s North Islander Speeding Spur due to the fact that he came up with the coveted pole line draw, but it was Tornado Hanover to continue on his winning way. Raced by long time stable client – Queensland developer Norm Jenkin who has raced among others duel New Zealand Cup winner Flashing Red, Tornado Valley began at 100 miles an hour to lead running into the first turn, with Speeding Spur unable to match him settling in the trail. Big Jack Hammer (gate five) in the open and Save Our Pennys (gate three) one/one being trailed by Tough Monarch quickly away from inside the second line and Kyvalley Blur (gate three on the second line). Monty Python (gate two) possied three back the markers with Rompers Monarchy following him. While Sky Petite after starting outside the front line had no option but to go back to the rear of the field. Always travelling well within himself, Tornado Valley never ever looked in any danger, scoring easily by 10 metres from Sky Petite (three wide solo last lap) from the tail which ran the race of her life for Ryan Duffy and Mick Stanley, with Speeding Spur a disappointing third 8.6 metres away. Monty Python was fourth and Save Our Pennys fifth. In quarters of 30.3, 29.5, 29.1 and 28.4 for the last mile, Tornado Valley returned a mile rate of 1-59.5. It was Tornado Valley’s 24th success in 78 outings which include 23 placings for stakes of $412,887. Harness Racing Australia

Having knocked on the door and been brave so often Tiger Tara bashed it down with a barnstorming victory in the 2018 TAB Pacing Inter Dominion Championship. A take-no-prisoners Todd McCarthy drive shot Kevin Pizzuto’s pacer to the lead in the early stages and with a 26.2-second third quarter and a track record smashing 1:53.9 mile rate he broke their hearts to salute in style. After an enormous campaign that stretches back to October’s Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup win and a brave second in the New Zealand Trotting Cup, McCarthy and Tiger Tara got the one they wanted: the $500,000 Group 1. “I think it’s going to take a while to sink in but at the moment it’s unbelievable,” McCarthy said. “They are sensational these nights. The crowd is amazing, just an unbelievable atmosphere. To be able to win these sorts of races is something you dream about as a kid, to be able to come here and do it tonight is pretty special.” After enormous consternation surrounded race tactics during the week the game plan was thrown out when Mach Doro crossed to the lead in the early stages before handing up to Tiger Tara. Victorian hope San Carlo emerged from the pegs and would punch the breeze for much of the running, but the favoured All Stars pair Spankem and Cruz Bromac wouldn’t emerge to make their challenge until the final lap. With a blistering third quarter of the final mile Tiger Tara found separation and that was all she wrote, saluting by 14.4m from a fantastic Our Uncle Sam with Spankem and Cruz Bromac filling out the first four. But the night belonged to one. “He felt really good,” McCarthy said. “He got a bit of a breather nice and early there and I knew it was going to be on in the last three quarters. He felt good down the back straight and I thought it was time to go and if we were good enough we’d be good enough. It worked out terrific, he’s such a gutsy horse and I’m so lucky to drive him.”   Michael Howard Trots Media 8 9:45pm TAB INTER DOMINION PACING CHAMPIONSHIP GRAND FINAL (GROUP 1) 2760M $500,000 M0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 TIGER TARA NZ      Fr7 7 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy   $ 6.00   PRS GS L 1 SWAB ST HT NTR D/S D/F   BAY HORSE 8 by BETTORS DELIGHT USA out of TARA GOLD (NZ) (DREAM AWAY USA)  Owner(s): M Hawli, C L Pizzuto, K J Pizzuto, T N Pizzuto  Breeder(s): R P (Raymond) Anicich 2 OUR UNCLE SAM      Sr3 10 Chris Frisby Anthony Frisby 14.4m $ 34.50   PRS PRU W3 SWAB ST HT 3 CRUZ BROMAC NZ      Sr2 9 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Natalie Rasmussen 15.8m $ 4.00   PRS T/F W2 3WLT SWAB ST HT 4 SPANKEM NZ      Fr5 5 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Mark Purdon 18.6m $ 3.50 fav  PRS 3WL W1 5 IM PATS DELIGHT NZ      Fr3 3 Cran Dalgety Gavin Lang 23.5m $ 5.80   PRS 4 INC SCT 6 GALACTIC STAR NZ      Fr1 1 G F J Bond, S A Bond Ryan Warwick 24.4m $ 8.00   PRS GS CB RES 6 7 CANT REFUSE NZ      Fr2 2 Matthew Craven Matthew Craven 24.6m $ 98.10   PRS PRU 5 HUE USL 8 CASH N FLOW NZ      Sr5 13 Craig Cross John Caldow 25.4m $ 179.00   PRS PRU 7 HUE 9 WRAPPERS DELIGHT      Sr4 11 David Aiken Kima Frenning 26.3m $ 49.30   PRS SCT 6 10 SAN CARLO      Sr1 8 Stephen O'Donoghue Rebecca Bartley 28.3m $ 9.50   PRS PRU CTS D/F 3WM 2 QUER VXAR SCOPE 11 MACH DORO      Fr4 4 Craig Cross Luke McCarthy 35.8m $ 176.00   PRS GS L SLE 3 CMP 12 MAXIMAN NZ      Fr6 6 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 70.7m $ 124.00   PRS RES CTS PH 10 TIRE QUER VXAR SCOPE Scratchings   AUDI HARE NZ 12 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 3:15:3 Mile Rate: 1:53:9 Lead Time: 82.3 First Quarter: 30.1 Second Quarter: 28.7 Third Quarter: 26.3 Fourth Quarter: 27.9 Margins: 14.4m x 1.4m  

If Rob Gartrell allows himself the luxury of dreaming, he could be in line for a massive 48 hours as he strives for a memorable feature interstate double. Perth’s prolific owner could have up to four runners in Friday’s Group 1 Golden Nugget (2536m) at Gloucester Park, headed by Ana Malak, Bettor Aim and Mighty Conqueror. Once his commitments are done and dusted on home soil his attention and focus will turn to Melton in Victoria where he will be represented by Galactic Star in the 2018 Inter Dominion. Western Australia’s sole representative has stepped up to the plate and proved he could be up to the task after recording one win and two placings from the three round of heats. And in a further morale boost for Gartrell and trainers, Greg and Skye Bond, Galactic Star has drawn the coveted inside draw at a function on Monday. What started as an ambitious and lucrative target for Galactic Star has now turned into a distinct winning reality. The Perth pacer is now rated a $5 chance. “That was very exciting and to get barrier one in an Inter Dominion final is exactly what we were hoping for,” Gartrell said on TABradio. “It certainly gives us a good chance in the race and sets ourselves up to be very competitive. “I think the horse has done a fantastic job in the series and it’s the perfect draw for him. “He has good gate speed as we know and should be able to hold up.” After reinsman Todd McCarthy handled the heats, Gartrell confirmed Ryan Warwick had been booked to drive Galactic Star in the final. “Ryan has had a terrific season and is a very important part of our team,” Gartrell said. “He has driven at Melton before and is looking forward to the trip.” Gartrell said he was hoping to get similar good fortune in the barriers for his runners in the Golden Nugget. Ana Malak has underlined his potential with two wins from as many starts since coming to Perth. The Bettors Delight colt is chasing back-to-back feature wins after posting a determined victory in the Group 1 Yes Loans 4YO Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park on November 30. Bettor Aim also holds an unbeaten record in Perth when he brought up his fifth win at Pinjarra last-start when defeating Marquisard on November 19. Mighty Conqueror posted four wins in a line before coming unstuck behind Ana Malak, running third in the Yes Loans 4YO Classic. “We are going to have good representation in the Nugget,” Gartrell said. “Bettor Aim, Mighty Conqueror and Ana Malak will be very competitive depending on the draws. “It gives us firepower in the race and we should be right in the cut up I would think.”   Julio Santarelli 

Western Australia’s sole representative in the 2018 Inter Dominion Series Galactic Star is well placed to make Saturday week’s final, following his third placing in the second round of heats at Ballarat last night. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained pacer sits third behind Cruz Bromac and Im Pats Delight in the rankings with one round of heats remaining at Cranbourne on Saturday night. Galactic Star won the opening heat at Melton last Saturday and continued his good form in last night’s 1710m second round of heats. The Bettors Delight gelding was posted wide in the early stages of last night’s heat, before he was able to settle in the running line in fourth spot. Reinsman Todd McCarthy then got the gelding into clear room at the top of the straight and he was able to run on strongly into third spot. Greg Bond said he was pleased to get another significant lot of points, which almost guaranteed him a spot in the final on December 15. “We were very happy with the performance, given the bad gate,” he said. “Nothing was coming from behind on the night, so we made the plan to follow Mach Doro out of the gate which we knew we may get posted three wide. “Eventually he was able to get a trail and he found the line really well.” Bond said he expected Galactic Star would only need to finish in the top eight of his heat on Saturday night to secure his spot in the final. Galactic Star has again drawn on the outside of the second line on Saturday night in barrier 10 and Bond said the stable wouldn’t take the race lightly, despite the fact a spot in the final looks assured. “The three main chances in Wrappers Delight, Spankem and Galactic Star are in eight, nine and 10 respectively,” he said. “We go in trying to win every race and Saturday night will be no exception. “He should finish in the top three or four depending on the run we get.” Galactic Star is a $9.75 chance with TABtouch to take out the Inter Dominion. Meanwhile, Bond said all of his four-year-olds were in good order following last Friday night’s Yes Loans 4YO Classic at Gloucester Park. He indicated Bettor Aim, who was scratched from the Group 1 event, was on track to make a full recovery in time for Friday week’s Golden Nugget.   Tim Walker

WA’s sole 2018 Inter Dominion representative Galactic Star has arrived in Melbourne ahead of the Saturday night’s opening round of heats at Melton. The Greg and Skye Bond-trained pacer won a heat of last year’s Inter Dominion series at Bunbury, before he went on to finish fifth in the final. Galactic Star travelled to Melbourne overnight and arrived this morning, with Greg Bond reporting the six-year-old travelled well and was in good order ahead of light work today. Galactic Star has had two starts for two wins this campaign, the Don Randall Memorial at Pinjarra and the Pat Cranley Memorial 11 days later at Gloucester Park. He has drawn barrier four for Saturday night’s heat, which will be the second of three Inter Dominion heats on the night. Todd McCarthy has the drive on Galactic Star in the early part of the series, with regular driver Ryan Warwick remaining in Perth to drive in local feature races. Mach Doro and Franco Nelson have drawn barriers one and two respectively in Galactic Star’s heat, while the in-form pair San Carlo and Shadow Sax are on the back row in barrier 10 and 12 respectively. WATCH: Galactic Star's Last Start Win Here Greg Bond said Galactic Star deserved to have another chance in this year’s Inter Dominion series, following his game performance in last year’s series. “We are taking a more seasoned horse,” he said. “We thought he’d done enough last year in the Inters and he ran fifth in a Victoria Cup last year. “He’s probably still learning his trade. “He won a heat of the Inters last year and horses can sometimes take a while to get used to that level of racing.” Bond said he expected the Melton track would suit Galactic Star’s style of racing. “At that grade, he’s probably a little bit of an opportunist,” he said. “He’s a good gaited horse, he gets around Gloucester Park and obviously they are 1000m tracks over there. “If anything, it suits him a bit more because he can wind up and the runs will come with the sprint lanes at Melton.” Cruz Bromac occupies the top line of TABtouch’s Inter Dominion market at $4.20, with the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained pacer to start from barrier four in the third of Saturday night’s heats. Tiger Tara is the star attraction in the opening heat of the night, where he starts from barrier four. The Kevin Pizzuto-trained pacer was brave in running second in the New Zealand Cup on November 13, before an unplaced run in the New Zealand Free-For-All and he’s now a $6 chance for the Inter Dominion. The second round of Inter Dominion heats take place on December 4 at Ballarat, ahead of the final round of heats on December 8 at Cranbourne and the final to take place back at Melton on December 15.   Tim Walker

Aussie warhorse Tiger Tara could find himself facing the same problem at Addington today that he did three days ago. But if he doesn’t, then he should win the $200,000 New Zealand Free-For-All. The big black stallion wowed fans and even rival trainers with his huge second in the New Zealand Cup after sitting parked before just going down to Thefixer, who used the passing lane to grab him. Tiger Tara has what looks to be the worst possible draw at barrier nine, the outside of the front line, in today’s 1980m mobile pace but has real gate speed and should be across most of his rivals early should driver Todd McCarthy want. But that still leaves him with the same problem as he faced on Tuesday — the likelihood he could be left parked outside a Purdon-Rasmussen horse. The most likely is Cruz Bromac, who will relish the return to the mobile and blasted to the lead to win the Len Smith Mile at Menangle over the winter. If driver Natalie Rasmussen chooses to use that speed he could lead again and then the whole question of the race may be whether she lets Tiger Tara assume the pacemaking role or not. If he leads then it is hard to imagine him beaten unless the passing lane horse, a Cruz Bromac or Jack’s Legend, got him for raw speed. But his $2.70 fixed odds quote does look appealing because if he was drawn better he would be closer to $2 and that may not be the huge factor it looks at first glance.   Michael Guerin

The New Zealand Trotting Cup doesn’t cut in half. And Thefixer and Tiger Tara won’t receive the same prize money for the bravery at Addington yesterday. But while only the former will have his name etched on the most famous trophy in New Zealand racing, the latter shared the glory in a $800,000 thriller. Thefixer at just his 16th start held off the Australian iron horse in a pulsating finish, one that confirmed no matter how many stars are missing the New Zealand Trotting Cup is that rare equine contest that always produces a fairytale. But this fairytale has two heroes. Thefixer overcame soreness just six weeks ago which threatened to derail his Cup campaign and then recorded the second fastest time in the history of the great race, only his former stablemate Lazarus having gone faster two years ago. Lazarus was all muscle and flash, the bully who taunted his Cup rivals with an arrogant 10-length win. But this time trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen had to earn their Cup, cajoling Thefixer back to his best because only his best would do. After a dreaded false start he got the second attempt right then led and trailed Dream About Me. From there it was his race to lose but lose it he almost did. Because while Thefixer was enjoying the perfect run for driver Rasmussen, Tiger Tara came three wide to sit parked and break the seemingly unbreakable Dream About Me in front. At the 200m mark he looked set to produce one of the gutsiest Cup wins in history only for Thefixer to rally, an equine Rocky Balboa defying the bigger, strong Apollo Creed. Every centremetre Rasmussen saved on the marker pegs made the difference but the runner up was so magnificent it almost felt like their were two Cup winners. The magnificence of Tiger Tara in defeat doesn’t detract from what the winner achieved though. This was, after all, just his 16th start and Thefixer hadn’t come through the glamour of age group races and has earned his stripes in the big time the old fashioned way. Being so untapped and new his options are numerous, with Purdon and Rasmussen to sit down today and decide whether he heads to the Inter Dominion in Victoria starting December 1, a decision which will impact on whether he starts in the NZ Free-For-All this Friday. “He is a very brave horse because he was out on his feet at the top of the straight but he just kept coming,” said Rasmussen, who joins Kerryn Manning as only the second female driver to win the Cup. One horse certain to be in both the Free-For-All and at the Inter Dominion is Tiger Tara, who greatness isn’t in his raw ability but in the organ beating under his rib cage. He quite simply covered lengths more than the other placegetters and produced a run that would have won more than 100 of the NZ Cups run since the first in 1904. “He was great. There really isn’t a lot more he could have done,” said driver Todd McCarthy. “I thought I had them once I got past Dream About Me but the other little horse just wouldn’t go away.” On a day where the Purdon-Rasmussen team won a scarcely believable eight out of the nine races they contested they may have unearthed their next champion in Ultimate Sniper in the $170,000 Sires’ Stakes. He came from the second line to sit parked and record a searing time to remain unbeaten after four starts, suggesting if he can hold together he could even be the best horse in the all-conquering stable in 12 or 18 months. On any normal day his supersonic effort would have earned him skiting rights for the meeting. But not yesterday. Yesterday he has to share that with Cup winner. And the Cup runner-up. Michael Guerin

Welcome to the Harness Half Hourpodcast brought to you by HRNZ marketing. Jess Smith brings the latest harness racing news and interviews with colorful and interesting industry participants from New Zealand and around the world. One more show until Cup Day! This weeks guests are Todd McCarthy, driver of Tiger Tara, Airpark Canterbury sponsored driver Matthew Williamson, the voice of Cup week Mark McNamara and Laurie Goodson regarding the traditional Cup Week golf tournament and Bookmaker Richard Wilson.   Jess Smith

YOUNG gun reinsman Todd McCarthy registered a slice of history at Globe Derby last night. By emerging triumphant against a host of the nation’s best drivers, McCarthy became the first person to secure the Australian Drivers’ Championship and Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship outright. Representing New South Wales, McCarthy captured the latter series in Perth during the 2016 Inter Dominion. Queensland’s Grant Dixon features on both honour rolls, but shared his Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship win with Tasmania’s Ricky Duggan in 1993. “I’m extremely thrilled,” McCarthy said. “It’s one of those series where it comes down to draws and luck on the night and on this occasion it went my way. “Just to be competing against such amazing drivers is an honour, but to come home with the win is amazing.” Fourth in the opening heat, McCarthy made his way into the winners’ circle after scoring with Imprincessgemma in the second event. A subsequent second and a pair of fourths saw McCarthy accumulate 72 points to complete a two-point victory from Queensland’s Adam Sanderson. Western Australia’s Chris Lewis – who won the 1977 Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship as a South Australian – was third with 66 points. “I only scraped in, but a win is a win,” McCarthy said. “I cannot compliment Harness Racing SA enough on how well they looked after us and how smoothly it ran. “It was really professional set up and all the drivers involved had a great time.”   HRSA

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