Day At The Track
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North West harness racing history was made at Armidale’s Carnival of Cups meeting on Sunday with Tamworth siblings Emma, Sam and Tom Ison all driving winners. It was also a good day – and possibly a nervous one – for father of the trio Andy Ison, celebrating a training double with Fear No Evil and Gargzadi Girl, while his son Sam trained Bassey. The youngest of the Ison’s to gain her reins licence, 16-year-old Emma made her debut at Inverell the week prior with no luck and with only one drive at Armidale it turned out to be a winner. “It feels amazing,” Ison said after taking out the Railway Hotel Pace. Her first career win, understandably there were plenty of cheers and congratulations when Emma returned to scale. “I was nervous as always going into the race but it panned out alright,” she said. Ison found herself racing back on the inside running line before weaving a passage on the final turn to make her way clear in the home straight. “It was a lot different to how I thought the race would pan out but it all worked out well,” she said. “I was excited when the split came as this little horse can sprint.” Fear No Evil had a half head win over Esspe Supreme (Dean Chapple) with Mini Masterpiece (David Munsie) 5.4m away third and paid $33.10 for the win. It was also Ison’s first appearance in her teal racing pants after being presented with them just prior to the meeting. “I think they were a good luck charm,” Emma, who was proud to drive a winner in the teal on the last day of the Ovarian Cancer fundraiser, said. “It was pretty good to get my teal trousers just before the race - it’s good for the cause.” Older brother Sam then presented to the winner’s circle with Bassey after the mare took out the Kevin and Kay Seymour Celebrating 50 Years Mares Pace. Ison made a three-wide run around the final turn in the 1980m event to make use of the home straight and pounced on the line for a half neck win over Clancy Pants (Brad Elder) and Mac Sweet (Lola Weidemann), who was another neck away third. “She went really well – she just kept giving down the home straight,” Sam said.  He was also proud of his little sister who he gave a helping hand to. “It was really good – I think she loved my gig – she borrowed it for the race,” he said. Tom completed the treble with Gargzdai Girl, who was a 3m winner over Midnight Montana (Richard Williams) in the St Kilda Hotel Pace. “The win has added to the day,” he said. “She (Gargzdai Girl) has got a pretty good sprint.” And what did he think of his sister having her first winning drive? “It’s a pretty good day – especially for Em – it was only her third drive and she won on her own horse so that’s good,” he said.  By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

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

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

So much change can take place in the space of twelve months, especially when you're sixteen years old. During the Golden Guitar carnival last season harness racing junior driver Tom Ison failed to get a drive at the meeting when the heats were conducted nor did he get a drive on final night. Fast forward to 2016 and now seventeen Tom is right amongst the action, he had six drives on Golden Nugget night, three drives at the meeting when the heats of the Golden Guitar were held and will drive in races at the feature meeting on Friday night. Ison believes the arrival of Graham and Jenny Moon to Tamworth has been the biggest reason he has received more opportunities. "Yeah I think so, Graham and Jenny have been great to me since they arrived, they were using my older brother Sam a bit but now I tend to get most of the drives for them which is good," Ison said. "I'm driving Franco Seville for them in the Tamworth Cup, his run in the Golden Nugget was very good and he has got a better draw this time but there is a little bit more depth in the race this time as well." Ison was given the opportunity to compete in the 2015 HRNSW Rising Star Series which enabled him to learn a lot from other junior drivers across the state. Prior to last year's Golden Guitar meeting Ison had only driven eight winners in his career and since then has added another nineteen to his tally. "My best chance on Friday night would be another one for Graham - Hayabusa Flyer - it ran fifth in a heat of the Golden Guitar and moves to the front row this time but I think most of my drives are each way chances with a bit of luck. "I'm driving Tepary for Dad and we got her off the Moon's a couple of starts ago, she did a pretty good at her first run for us then won last time out. "I think she can win another couple of races around here, especially being a mare with the drop back and then my junior claim." While Ison will not be driving in the feature event he has nominated the McCarthy family as the people to beat in the Golden Guitar. "I think one of the McCarthys will win it, John's horse went really well in the heats and ran a good time but it has drawn out wider than the horse Luke will be driving, it is a pretty strong race." Greg Hayes

New South Wales Rising Stars representative Tom Ison drove the first treble of his career at the harness racing meeting at Tamworth on Thursday afternoon. Ison celebrated his seventeenth birthday on Monday and made it a week to remember with his performance however admitted he was surprised with the result. "I thought if everything went right for me I could drive two winners and I'd never driven a double before so I thought that would be a good result but to get three was great," Ison said. "Graham Moon trained two of the winners (Tepary and Hannahs Freedom) and he has been a great supporter of mine so it was nice to get a couple of winners for him." Ison has only had two drives on Hannahs Freedom and has won on both occasions. "It was a top run on Thursday, I had won on her last start so I thought she would be hard to beat but she was very impressive and I think she is going to win a few more in this region." Ison enjoyed his experience in the Rising Stars series and believes he learned a lot during the week travelling around the state with nine other junior drivers. "I picked up some ideas from the stable visits we had during the week, to get into some of the bigger stables and see how they worked really impressed me and made me realise what I want to achieve in the sport." "In the future I'd like to have a big team of my own, I'm helping out with my Dad (Andy) at the moment, we've got a few in work and there are a couple more coming soon." It has been an exciting twelve months for Ison having driven eighteen winners and more than twenty placings in his first year of driving. "I had my first drive in a race on July 24 last year and I drove a winner at my first meeting which was good but what made it even more special was the fact that Dad trained the horse Pipers Challenge." "Pipers Challenge has been a good horse to me but Alyeska Dream is my favourite because I've won a few races on her." Greg Hayes

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